Family & Baby Storytimes,Reviews of Illustrated Folk and Fairytales and Book Suggestions
"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke
"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin
Friday, April 16, 2010
Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor was a National Book Award finalist in the Young People's Literature category in 2009. I had read and enjoyed Taylor's Blackbringer (Dreamdark), so I've been eager to read this latest, especially with the critical acclaim that it has received. It didn't disappoint me.
Taylor's book is actually three separate stories: "Goblin Fruit", "Spicy Little Curses Such as These" and "Hatchling." Each tale is preceded by illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo and each contains an important kiss. "Goblin Fruit" has its roots in Christina Rosetti's poem "Goblin Market," in which two sisters are tempted by the rare offerings of Goblin men, with near disastrous results. Taylor's story centers around the grandaughter of the more prudent of these sisters, who, like her elders, runs smack into some wicked temptation.
In "Spicy Little Curses..." We meet an elderly widow who has spent her life bargaining with a demon from a hell beyond the Judeo-Christian understanding, saving innocents from premature deaths. This insistent fellow jockeys to get his best deal, trading many lives for the demonic pleasure of a curse placed on one baby girl. She will have an incredibly lovely voice, but all those who hear it will die. This child's fate is the crux of this fairy tale and myth infused story.
The longest tale in the collection, "Hatchling," offers multiple points of view in a story of shapeshifting, souless Drujs (demons), their beautiful, blankly cruel queen, and the unfortunate humans whose lives she has roughly shaped. The Druj queen lives in a rocky domain surrounded by hungry, grasping beasts, and keeps a string of human girls for pets. It takes a Druj unlike any other to offer the possibility of a different future for the Druj race and the humans that they use for entertainment. This complex story explores abuse, betrayal, unwise choices and eventual healing.