Title: Ink by Amanda Sun
Series: Paper Gods #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Japanese Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 2013
Length: 369 pages (paperback)
» Book blurb
On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must 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. When Katie meets aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team, she is intrigued by him… and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they’re near eachother, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life. Somehow Tomo is connected to the Kami – powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan – and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions… and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.
» First sentence
I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers.
I had to comment on this. It sounds so random but we are introduced to Katie’s new life in one sentence. She brings in learning a new culture from this get go.
The story is narrated by Katie, the main character, in the first person. The book is set in Shizuoka, Japan. There seems to be quite a lot of detail in the setting, from the school, gardens, shops, local transport. Of course, these might be fiction (I’ve never been to Japan) but it’s written really well.
Japanese culture was a main feature in the book as Katie learns new customs and the language, we learn with her. I took Japanese for a couple of years at high-school so I recognised the phrases and it made me appreciate how the author has included some simple words, like:
Go and come back safely.”
The use of Japanese mythology in young adult fiction isn’t something I have read before. It’s really interesting to learn a new culture and it’s stories. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the story progresses in the next instalment, Rain.
I don’t know much about the author. I believe this is her only series. I would compare this to the likes of Percy Jackson, just because it’s YA mythology. That’s probably where comparisons end. I haven’t read anything like this before.
I really loved this book. She makes a couple of friends at her new school & once a boy comes on the scene, she puts all her attention into it. People might tell you that isn’t the case, but really it is. She lies to her Aunt that it’s a different boy, one that she might approve of. The story seems realistic.
I would guess that the locale is pretty correct too. Lots of people, Sakura not lasting long, the transport, even the not so good side of town. Every city has one of those suburbs don’t they?
There is an emotional side of the book too. Katie feels a connection through the loss of parents and she gets the best advice from the least expected place, when she really needs it. This was one of my favourite moments.
“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.”
Secondary characters really play a big part in giving you information. Like her BFF’s brother who works at a monastery, and Jun, the Kendo champ. All the characters have a role to play. No-one is unnecessary, right down to the pregnant girl drawn on the page.
I’m really looking forward to reading the next book. Ink was really easy to read, even with the use of Japanese, it’s simple to understand and the culture shines through. I have a secret Japan crush. I wanna go there one day.
I would encourage people who want to try a different mythology to read this book. Also people who have lived in their own country who have a secret passion for travel, read this. I do think this is best suited for young adults, or early teens. Older readers might not enjoy or appreciate the high-school crush story as much.
» My rating
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