The King in Crimson,
Lord Blackblood, Lord of Mirrors,
You can really see the themes & foundation of ideas that became Daughter of Smoke & Bone in this book. There are three novellas in here, each about first kisses, & of them you've got characters making courteous deals with devils at personal peril, you've got tales of mis-labeled souls & memory loss, you've got girls with "Old World" knowledge of the things that go bump in the night who put it aside in favor of romance-- you know. I'm not saying that the ideas are rehashed, just that you can read the three shorts in Lips Touch-- "Goblin Fruit," "Spicy Little Curses (Such As These)" & "Hatchling"-- & get a rough idea of how Daughter of Smoke & Bone came to be. The first story is a fun little piece of modern fairytale, though I will admit that I was frustrated by the ending-- though perhaps that was the point. It did see a lot of Changeling: The Lost in it, but maybe that is just me? "Spicy Little Curses" was maybe my favorite of the batch; fulfilling on a lot of levels. Also, the Raj is kind of cool, in that "if you ignore the implicit evils of colonialism" way. I will say that "Hatchling" really hit a lot of personal notes with me-- randomly, though. Like, there is a character named Esme, which makes me think of my dear Esme Wang. There is a character named Arkaday, which is the name of my Mouse Guard character. There are the creepy blue eyes of the Others & the wights of A Song of Ice & Fire. Last but not least, there is a lot of Avestan in "Hatchling," which is a language I've wrestled with for Oubliette. Specifically for Radarless' character-- I know about the word "druj" & the word "vohun" & it is pretty fun to come across, you know, words in Avestan that I know.