Book Review – Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

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This is the second book I’ve read by Laini Taylor. The first was Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I REALLY liked, way more than I thought I would. So, how did Lips Touch: Three Times fare?

Ugh. I liked it. A lot. I don’t want to say that, but I must be honest. I enjoyed this book.

But, if I may, I’d like to say that it’s entirely Laini Taylor’s fault. She has absolutely no right to be as good an author as she is. And I don’t mean in her characters, plots, and settings, because those belong to your typical teen supernatural novel. No, I mean the way she writes. The way she constructs her sentences. She is a very good writer.

But it doesn’t really help that she writes about things I generally have no interest in. I’m not interested in demon romance. Or any romance that involves supernatural beings, for that matter, unless it puts a new spin on what has become a ridiculously overused premise. Which Laini Taylor doesn’t do, not at all.

I can’t really bring myself to say that Lips Touch: Three Times is a good book, because while the writing is excellent the construction of the plot, the setting, and the characters are not. Now you might say to yourself, isn’t that part of good writing? And you’d be correct.

Which is why I want to punch myself in the face sometimes. I realized recently that I am such a sucker for good writing – and by “writing” I mean basic sentence construction – that I let it affect my judgment of a book as a storytelling device, which is what books are supposed to be. Or at the very least I let it affect my enjoyment of the book.

Why am I saying this? Well, it’s because Lips Touch: Three Times is a book made up of three completely unrelated stories that all end before any real development begins, or if there is development, is greatly rushed, plot devices that are never explained, characters with motivations that are either never revealed or never developed, contrived dialogue, mixed messages, and cliché resolutions.

I was waiting for the three stories to come together somehow, but they never do. They all have nothing to do with one another. I honestly thought they each could have been three separate books. It’s almost as if Laini Taylor started three different books and then was like, “Nah, fuck it, I’m too lazy to give these ideas proper time and thought, let’s just slap ’em together and add some fancy illustrations.” It’s. Lazy.

If you read my Top Ten Worst Songs of 2013 list, you know that I detest laziness almost more than anything else whether it be in writing, music, film, or television. I can’t stand it, because people have become incredibly good at using laziness to hash and rehash the same overused, contrived crap that unfortunately makes money nowadays. People go on and on about how much Twilight sucks, and yet it still makes more money than they ever will. But I digress.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this incredibly jumbled and poorly structured not-even-really-a-review is that Lips Touch: Three Times presented me with a problem I haven’t experienced since reading Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, and even then it wasn’t to this degree:

What on earth am I supposed to do with a well-written bad book?

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