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Why You Should Give Short Stories a Chance

Because sometimes they’re totally, amazingly awesome. I’ll admit it. I’m not really a short story fan. I get too attached to the characters and then get upset when their story is over so quickly. But sometimes, some short stories are just too good NOT to read. That’s true about Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times.

In this collection, Taylor presents three short stories, each of which center around a kiss. But these are not your regular, everyday kisses. These kisses have consequences. Profound consequences. Life changing, soul stealing consequences. And each story is preceded by a fantastic series of black, white, and red illustrations done by Jim Di Bartolo that perfectly convey the otherworldly quality of Taylor’s stories.

“Goblin Fruit,” the first story, is a gem of a paranormal romance. Really, Taylor does paranormal romance better in 15 pages than many authors do it in 400. It’s based off a Victorian poem by Christina Rossetti in which goblins offer delectable fruit to young women to tempt them into selling their souls for a taste. Taylor updates this fairytale-like story and asks what it takes to tempt the modern girl.

In “Spicy Little Curses Such As These,” the second story based on Hindu folklore, a beautiful English girl in India is cursed by a vengeful spirit. Told that her voice will destroy any who hear it, she must spend her life in silence. And she is content to do so, until the day she falls in love and decides to test the truth of the curse.

“Hatchling” is the third and longest of the stories and is based on Zoroastrian folklore. (Yeah, I had to look it up, too.) It’s about a girl named Esme who wakes up days before her 14th birthday to find that her left eye has turned from brown to blue. On seeing this, her mother flips out, and Esme gets her first hint that her life isn’t what she thought it was. The two flee their apartment as the howls of wolves and a strange fanged man hunt them through the streets.

Taylor’s writing throughout this collection is lyrical and haunting, and her symbolism calls up beautiful and surprising images. The stories all feel as ancient and magical as the fairytales and folklore they’re based on. Plus, Laini Taylor has bring pink hair! How awesome is that?

For those who fall in love with Taylor’s writing, like I did, she recently came out with an awesome new series called Daughter of Smoke and Bone. She just released the second book, and the third is set to come out next year.

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