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I'm immortally interested in cultural/literary deconstructions, feminism, anti-racism, South Korea, Supernatural, Sherlock Holmes, Hayao Miyazaki, Diana Wynne Jones, food (including but not limited to maple butter, tomatoes, and toast), fairy tales, parentheses, paper airplanes, films and books.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fairy Touch

A girl who’s always been in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably attractive new boy at school, who may or may not be the death of her. Another girl grows up mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive spirit, and later must decide whether to utter her first words to the boy she loves and risk killing everyone who hears her if the curse is real. And a third girl discovers that the real reason for her transient life with her mother has to do with belonging — literally belonging — to another world entirely, full of dreaded creatures who can transform into animals, and whose queen keeps little girls as personal pets until they grow to childbearing age.
From a writer of unparalleled imagination and emotional insight, three stories about the deliciousness of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.*

My first foray into the fantastical writing of Laini Taylor and her husband's incredible illustrations was Dreamdark, another story of fairies - although this one completely limited to fairies and their djinn masters without a human in sight. Taylor's Dreamdark fairies were either roguish or majestic and noble and they are nothing when it comes to the fair folk Taylor dreamed up for her three short stories.

(This is also my first time reviewing or even reading a collection of short stories by the same author.)

Goblin Fruit: I loved this one so much the tips of my feet still tingle when I think about it. This story also has the best, in my opinion, prologue of all stories. There's just something about it that gives you that fairytalesque vibe. It's a cautionary tale and one that leaves the best to your imagination. I've gotten to hate the tweaked fairytales of the late along with their upcoming films (Not talking in context but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Just ... what?). Taylor on the other hand doesn't disappoint and she gleefully never does, talking in her own hands what a true fairytale should emit in regards to chills, thrills and sighs of longing. Everyone has that kind of want inside of them and Taylor shows just how far it can really take you. How envy can waste your life away. I love, love, love it and I don't have much to say about things that I love except wow!

I think she has done so well in her representation of Christina Rosetti's Goblin Market that it comes to par with that in Sarah Rees Brennan's series. And that is a huge accomplishment if I may say so myself. Goblin Fruit is also the shorter of the three unfortunately but - like a lesson Americans could learn from UK television - sometimes less is more.

Spicy Little Curses Such as These: I think I'm in love with Anamique. She's one of the strongest, inspirational, female protagonists I've encountered yet. And she doesn't even speak! But Ana sings and with Taylor's awesomely crazy prose skills, the notes just lift themselves off of the page. What I wouldn't give for this kind of talent! It's a little sad when I think of the fact that where books that rhyme with Crawlin have prequels and sequels by the year coming out and Laini Taylor and her fantastic pink hair and mad writing skills only have a total of four books currently out. Yep, that's right: four.

In any case, this second tale of Taylor can actually be a cautionary tale for all paranormal writers out there: I love you is something that shouldn't be used like a dirty washcloth to sweep all those dirty bits under the table. Meaning those words should be treasured. Nowadays unfortunately it's gone with teenagers as well who pass those words around from girl to boy to boy to girl. Maybe this isn't an intentional moral but I find that be careful of what you say is a strong message which is heralded by even stronger and awesomer carrier. I mean, come on, not only does she leave the guardian of Fire speechless but she becomes a successful ambassador to Hell? Hell yeah!

Hatchling: I think this one threw me for the most loops out of them all. The background story to this however made up for the smaller ones in the others. Taylor does it again weaving a history so rich and painful that it seems almost real. The fairies here are called Druj or demons and I think I felt tears when I read Mihai's tale. There's something so achingly beautiful to the idea of stitching together a soul, of going through pain and wear and tear to gain a few more memories of something you can never really gain back. Out of all three stories, I think this is the one that I feel is the most realized. When I was reading Hatchling, it felt like the story was going on and on - like a full novel and it was only when I was finished that I remembered that this story had been less than a hundred pages. I've had that experience before but with a short story? Never.

My heart was racing when I put the book down. I kind of want to go back, erase my memory and relive reading that all over again it was that wonderful of a time. I should probably also mention that I positively adore Jim di Bartolo's illustrations in Dreamdark they were exquisite and here, they were downright magical. This duo goes better than ranch dressing and cheddar cheese! I've rarely seen illustrations that match the words, the prose itself so well. I'm in awe again. This will take a while to be shaken out of.

All in all=☆☆☆☆☆

(I've been reviewing such awesomely, wicked books lately and all I want is more! Who cares if my rating system is getting abused?)

*Summary taken from Goodreads.

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