August 19, 2010

Book Blurbs of August, Part I: Fire and Lips Touch

For Part I of Book Blurbs, two books that in some way involve the idea of dangerous yet appealing compulsions. (And two books I know we've posted about before, but they're so good I had to do it again.) Both books came from the Stanislaus County Library.

I think that Kristin Cashore's two novels, Graceling and Fire, are two of my favorite fantasy novels that I've read in recent memory. Fire, as a companion novel set in a different region of the same world, was just as gripping, emotionally intense, and action-packed as Graceling. And it, too, is the story of a strong, intelligent talented female hero whose abilities are a burden as well as a gift. Fire is, well, a monster. Human monsters are like a hyper-amazing version of people, impossibly beautiful, charismatic and compelling. And most of them lack a conscience. However, Fire is only half monster, and her human half is the important one...not that people SEE it when they look at her.

Rather than giving you a jacket blurb, let me just say that Fire's story is also beautiful and compelling, and full of the kind of vibrant writing, complex plotting and intense characterization that I am apparently a sucker for. I was cheering for her the entire time, wanting her to prevail. No wonder this was a Cybils winner.

Buy Fire from an independent bookstore near you!

I also finally read Laini Taylor's Lips Touch: Three Times, which I'd heard so many great things about, which was a Cybils finalist in the same category as Fire. And, man, I'm thinking those poor judges must have had the hardest time—but also, oh, those lucky judges!

And reading Lips Touch is like getting three for the price of one—three equally strong stories, each centered on both the prosaic risks and more fantastical dangers of a simple (or not-so-simple) kiss. The storytelling took cues from my favorite aspects of fairy tales and traditional fantasy, while also possessing a lyrical, sensual rhythm of language unique to the author's voice.

Also unusual were the settings—a contemporary American town infested with goblins, wild fey in the stark mountains of the (I think) Caucasus region, the decadence and turmoil of India during the time of the Raj, brought to life with exactly the right amount of detail for us to picture the scene without losing focus on the characters and their quests, their struggles, their torments and, in some cases, their triumphs. Lovely and unusual dark fantasy, with gorgeous accompanying artwork by Jim DiBartolo prefacing each tale and setting the scene.

Buy Lips Touch: Three Times from an independent bookstore near you!

1 comment:

+^+Amber+^+ said...

I have read fire and graceling and they were great books. I loved them ♥