Erinn Batykefer, MLIS

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Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Here’s my review of Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times from Goodreads. For ideas on how to introduce more readers to her wonderful work, check out my post on creating a display showcase for Taylor’s books.
Lips Touch: Three TimesLips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laini Taylor’s elegant and imaginative prose re-imagines fairy tales and myths in three short stories collected in Lips Touch: Three Times. The best (and longest) story is the last, “Hatchling.” In it, we meet Mab, who escaped from a land of demons with her daughter, Esme, fourteen years before.

The demons, known as Druj, gave up their humanity thousands of years ago in exchange for unearthly beauty and powerful magic that allows them to turn into animals, yet without souls, they cannot remember or feel anything. Their Queen breeds and torments generations of young girls as she grasps at dim memories of being a human mother, and Mab and Esme escape this fate only with the help of a rogue Druj who pieced together a soul and unlocked his human memories.

All three stories are rich with detail and languages, and “Hatchling” takes its inspiration from Zoroastrian texts and legends. Taylor’s husband, Jim Di Bartolo illustrates all three stories with beautiful drawings, but I found these somewhat distracting, as they are clumped before each story and show the progression of the narrative before you’ve even read it. I think it would have been more effective to intersperse them throughout.

Adults gave Lips Touch all sorts of awards: it was a National Book Award Finalist , a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults. It’s gorgeously illustrated and each story is marked by strange and beautiful languages (some dead!) that bring the otherworldly quality of the stories into the very rhythm of the narration. The heroines are real and human, sometimes self-destructive, sometimes noble and self-sacrificing, sometimes broken.

A bit of a hard sell for teens simply because most teens I talk to pick up novels because they want to immerse themselves in a captivating story for a long time. For the right reader, though, this collection will haunt and delight.

View all my reviews

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This entry was posted on May 1, 2012 by in Reviews and tagged , .
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