Review: Ink (Paper Gods #1) – Amanda Sun

Release Date: June 25th 2013
Published By: Harlequin Teen Australia
Pages: 326
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Review: Thank you HarlequinTeen Australia for the copy of Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink starts with Katie Greene already living in Japan with her Aunty after the death of her mother, and although she is not well- acquainted to Japanese customs, or the language, she is going to school and doing the best she can.

At school, after an incident which proves she is not accustomed to the Japanese culture, she finds herself hiding in a room listening to the schools Kendo (Japanese martial art) star, Tomohiro, breakup with his girlfriend. During this awkward situation, she sees a drawing of Tomohiro’s – and it starts moving.

Although he warns Katie to stay away, Katie cannot ignore the fact that she knows that Tomohiro is hiding something, and that even though it sounds crazy, she knows his drawings move. Determined to learn the truth, Katie will not give up, and she learns that Tomohiro’s ability is connected to the ancient gods of Japan, Kami, but she cannot understand why his abilities get out of control when he is near her – a fact that puts both of them in danger in more ways than one. All Katie has wanted since moving to Japan is to move to Canada with her grandparents – but will she survive to make it back home?

Whilst Ink does have a typical YA plot of “ordinary girl meets boy who has paranormal/mythical power, and girl turns out to be not-so-ordinary” storyline, the setting is truly original. Set in Japan, and around Japanese Shinto mythology, the author brings something unique to what could have been a cliché storyline. The descriptions of Japan are breath-taking, each description vivid enough that you actually imagine cherry-blossoms floating around you. The vivid descriptions of the customs, food, language, kendo, scenery, illustrations, even the ink, were amazing. My favourite part of this book is definitely Amanda’s incredible ability to capture the essence of Japan, and its culture, on paper.

This book is distinctive in more ways than one – being based Japanese mythology and being set in Japan, but also the book itself. Throughout the story, there are illustrations (based on Tomohiro’s drawings) which are gorgeous. Adding to this is the fact that every chapter has cherry-blossom ink illustrations (similar to the cover) and in certain chapters, there is a little image on the right hand page that you can flick through so it looks like an animation. It is such a pretty book! I also really liked the fact that Japanese language is incorporated throughout the story (not so much the traditional writing), but it is written in a way that people who aren’t fluent in Japanese understand what was being said (and there is also a glossary at the back if needed).

I see great potential for this series – although I also see that it might not live up to my expectations. A lot of mixed reviews already exist for Ink, I am just hoping that the series continues to be one that I enjoy. The characters (and their relationships) do need development – including Katie and Tomohiro, as they both at times come across bland or cliché. I found Katie to be okay at the beginning, I enjoyed the journey of her feeling totally lost and being thrown into an unknown culture, but as soon as Tomohiro really came into it, she was very much like Bella throwing herself at Edward (and she turned a little stalkerish). But, I feel that the characters (mainly Katie) could be redeemed in the next book – I haven’t lost all hope for her yet. And yes, it is somewhat “insta-love” in this book, but if you are willing to overlook that, the storyline is quite interesting, and the setting is amazing.

Also, after reading this book, I recommend reading Shadow (Paper Gods #0.5). You learn a lot more about about Tomohiro in this novella, and you get to see more of the Katie that I liked. And whilst it doesn’t answer any questions (it actually raises some more), it is a really good prequel.

Quotes:

“My heart was glass – easy to see through, simple to break.”

“How do you win when you’re up against yourself?”

“They tell you you’ll forget how it used to be. You’ll get used to it, that it’s better to move on. They don’t realize you can’t. You’re not the same person anymore.”

“It was my life and my choice”

“It’s worth my life, but it isn’t worth yours”

What do you think?

  • Kaitlin says:

    This book is on my TBR list, but it’s pretty low on it. I haven’t heard many great things about Ink, but I’m still curious. I think I’ll like the descriptions a lot because I love a book with vivid ones. Also, I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book set in Japan, so it’ll be a new experience for me.

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