Laini Taylor is extremely awesome. I loved her writing in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books and after one of my friends told me that this collection was awesome I got it from the library. And it was awesome. The writing was the best and the use of mythology was perfect, though the Indian setting gave me a few wince worthy moments of WRONG. Also, there are illustrations that were really cool and pretty.
Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?
Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.
Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?
Story 1: Goblin Fruit
This was probably my least favourite story, to be honest. I didn’t really like Kizzy. I know that short stories aren’t meant to be about character development, really, but she just irritated me. And with her family and history, it could have gone so much more in depth. But I still loved the concept, and I think that the introduction worked really well with the story she told. And of course the writing was beautiful, which made me happy.
Story 2: Spicy Little Curses Such as These.
I think Taylor didn’t quite use the Hindu idea of Hell as I understand it (and I’ve lived in India for nine years)- I see the Indian place of hell as more like where demons hang out (not necessarily Yama though) and if you are bad, you’re reincarnated in a lower body or caste. And when it said that Anamique knew all the names of the Hindu gods- well, that’s impossible. Still, though, the story was awesome. I adore the British Raj (at least the history, if not the policies it enacted) and I loved the sense of place in the tale. The concept was a unique one, and the way she contrasted the two kisses was excellent. There was also the idea of the power of silence, which is really interesting, and added to Anamique’s character. And of course Estelle & her cohort were very fun to read about.
Story/ Novella 3: Hatchling
I can say quite safely that this was the most bizarre story. It was really well written though. The characters developed quite a lot more, and the idea of Queens and wolfs and speaking magic and the trust of transformation were amazing. It was shocking, but beautiful. And the image of patchwork compassion from a patchwork soul stayed with me. It does go into quite a bit of backstory, and that’s awkward, like it was in DoSaB . Still, I thought the characters were really interesting to read about, and I appreciated the way that Esme began to see herself, and Mab’s fierce motherhood, and the delightful creepiness, and the themes of compassion and humility. I also loved the language- that smattering of words added such power to the story.
The kisses are really the uniting feature of this collection, and if you read the introductions on their own they word really well together. The epigraph-souls meet on lovers lips- is a really interesting idea that’s explored, and the emotional as well as spiritual/magical element of kisses is an interesting thing to consider. Of course, the plot of each story hangs on a kiss-but each tale offers more than that too, which I love.
In conclusion: READ LIPS TOUCH IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL.
Do you ever read shorter fiction? Are you in love with Laini Taylors writing? Are you going to read this? Tell me in the comments!