29 December 2009


Once a Witch, Carolyn MacCullough: Pretty good. About a girl from a family of witches who has no power of her own (or does she?). Family secrets, burgeoning romance, and a fantastic climactic setpiece in Grand Central Station.

Lips Touch: Three Times, Laini Taylor: Far and away the best of the lot, in spite of the aggressively stupid title. It's three novellas, loosely centering on the motif of a life-changing kiss. The language is amazing, and the three entirely separate fantasy worlds she creates are richly detailed. For instance, in the center story, "Spicy Little Curses Such as These," is set in India during the Raj, and begins with the daily meeting, over tea, between an elderly widow and a demon, wherein she pleads with him for the souls of children. And that's just the premise. Plus, each story is preceded by a brief, wordless illustrated narrative, depicting a peripheral scene from the story. Its significance only becomes clear as you read on.

Ash, Malinda Lo: Ehn. It's billed as a YA lesbian retelling of Cinderella, and it is that. I mean, the Cinderella stand-in falls in love with and ends up with a woman. Beyond that, the characterization is flat, and the romance as sterile and take-my-word-for-it as too many heternormative teen reads. Gay girls deserve better.

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