Lips Touch: Three Times, Laini Taylor's debut into the young adult market, is simply magical. I picked up this collection of short stories with some trepidation. I do not usually enjoy short stories, even from authors I love, but my curiosity was piqued after seeing that the book was rated highly by most of my friends. Despite my fear of ending up the one dissenter in the sea of positive reviews, I decided to take a chance. And boy am I glad I did.
The strongest aspect of this collection is the writing, an unusual occurrence in the YA genre. Laini Taylor can craft truly beautiful sentences without falling into the trap of purple prose. She is a master of show-not-tell. Her words paint a vivid picture in the readers' mind of both characters and setting. None of the description is superfluous. Even the small details she offers serve a purpose. Taylor's vocabulary is vast and impressive. This collection is one that will challenge readers, particularly younger ones, to expand their own lexicon.
The stories themselves have a fairytale quality to them that is haunting and beautiful. Even while reading the two stories that took place in modern times, I felt as though I were being taken to another world. Taylor has drawn from a variety of mythological, religious, and literary sources to creat her mythologies. She is able to successfully weave together ideas from different cultures into three uniquely brilliant mythologies. It is clear that Taylor has done her research. In the third story, "Hatchling," Taylor even creates her own language by adapting a dead Iranian language.
The reason I rated this 4.5 stars rather than five is simply a consequence of it being a short story collection. I wanted more from each of the stories. "Goblin Fruit" left me wanting more of a plot. While I found the characters to be complex and engaging for the most part, the story ends too abruptly. In both "Spicy Little Curses Such As These" and "Hatchling" I wished that the characters had been more fleshed out.
Overall, a fantastic read. This collection has definitely wet my appetite for Laini Taylor's most recent work, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.