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:
Goblin Fruit: 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.
Hatchling: 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?
Having spent this year catching up on Laini's back catalogue ready for the release of Daughter of Smoke and Bone I put this on one side for short story month but often looked at the amazing illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo that run throughout. The hardback edition is a gorgeous book to look at and it's been staring at me from the shelf for quite some time. I settled down to read Goblin Fruit, a story about Kizzy and all those other girls who are sixteen and filled with longing. This isn't a story about the pretty girls or the popular girls - it's about the ones that skirt in the shadows and stare at the floor. Kizzy lives with an extended family out on the edge of town on a farm with scores of stray cats. Her family keep to their traditions and take them seriously so much so that when Kizzy's grandmother dies she kills a swan so that one wing can be placed in the coffin so her soul can fly.
Kizzy's coasting at school, disinterested in her studies. What she wants, yearns for, is to be desired in the same way that the popular girls are. So when a beautiful boy turns up at school one day her grandmother's stories fly from her mind. She told Kizzy about her sister, how she'd eaten goblin fruit and nearly wasted away until she managed to save her. As the story progresses the signs that Kizzy is in danger become more and more obvious. By the last couple of pages I was almost screaming at her. I won't tell you any more so as not to spoil it but Goblin Fruit is beautiful. Laini's words wrap you up and I fell straight into the dark and dangerous world she'd created.
I laughed at the perfect dialogue between Kizzy and her two friends, Evie and Cactus which was snarky and wonderful. I especially loved the grandmother and her beloved knife. Kizzy coveted this knife with its mother-of-pearl handle so much so that she hoped that it would be left to her. These hopes were dashed as the grandmother's last words were, "Don't you dare steal it out of my coffin." The most heartbreaking aspect of Goblin Fruit is that Kizzy is special, far more so than the girls who she watches. She's smart, fearless and funny. I can't tell you what she decides to do but if you get a chance please read this wonderful book.