Laini Taylor,
Lips Touch: Three Times
(Arthur A. Levine, 2009)

Sharing three kisses with Laini Taylor wasn't nearly enough.

Taylor's book, Lips Touch: Three Times, is a set of three tales, each centered around the importance of a single smooch. All are fantasy-based -- two contemporary, one set in a bygone time -- and each is, in its own way, haunting. Beautiful. Lush.

There are hints of Charles de Lint in Taylor's writing, particular in the first story, "Goblin Fruit." There are suggestions of Francesca Lia Block in Taylor's lyrical prose, especially in the magical, Far Eastern world of "Spicy Little Curses Such as These." "Hatchling," the final tale, seems to take some inspiration from the dark fantasy of Neil Gaiman.

But, while it's easy to draw comparisons to other authors, I would pay Taylor a disservice if I didn't acknowledge her unique voice and presence, which swept me away in a manner uniquely her own. Her writing is simply gorgeous, her plot and character development rich and stylish.

Laini Taylor is an author to watch, and I intend to ... closely.

Also worthy of mention is the art of Jim Di Bartolo (Taylor's husband). Pages of wordless art precede all three tales, adding depth to each that readers won't fully appreciate until the stories are read. It's a nice bonus that adds significant value to a package I'm already eager to recommend. Be sure to give it a try.

review by
Tom Knapp

28 November 2009

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