Congratulations, Laini Taylor! It's official: You are now one of my favorite authors, and all of your books in my reading list will now and forever be placed on my favorite-authors shelf. Please email me for my address, so that you can drop by my house and pick up your award, and so that I can follow you home and stalk you mercilessly. (Just kidding! Please don't call the cops on me. I'm just trying to say that I think you're pretty swell.)
This book is beautifully written. Every word appears to have been carefully chosen to breathe beauty, life, and intensity into every moment. The book contains three separate stories, and there are likely few authors who could accomplish what Ms. Taylor accomplished within these stories. As the book progresses, the stories increase in length and complexity. But none of the stories is particularly complex or action-packed. Despite this, I was engaged during every moment.
The first story, Goblin Fruit, consists almost entirely of a girl meeting a boy, going shopping with the boy, having a picnic with the boy, and then kissing the boy. During the story, I heard a voice screaming inside my head at the girl to, "Run away!" It was only at the end of the story, when I was finally released from it, that I realized little had occurred. And then, I became even more amazed by this story that kept me interested despite not much actually happening to the characters.
Spicy Little Curses Such as These was another story in which little actually occurred, and yet my inside-voice continued to scream warnings at the main characters.
While the last of the three, Hatchling, had some action it, it did not have nearly as much action as one might expect, and most of the action occurred in flashbacks. In Hatchling, a mother and her child fight for their lives, while a demon fights for his soul and the soul of his love. Most of the story was filled with flashbacks of how the mother's and the demon's lives progressed before the mother's child was born, and how their lives became intertwined. I know I'm repeating myself, but yes, it was beautiful, and I remained engaged despite the lack of present happenings.
At the end of the book, I am mildly impressed with the stories themselves and overwhelmingly impressed with the author. But since the stories would have been completely different and likely less engaging if written by a different author, it's unfair of me to separate the stories from the author. So let's just say that I am overwhelmingly impressed overall.