Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Title:  Ink
Author:  Amanda Sun
Genre:  YA mythology/fantasy
Series:  Paper Gods #1
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  326
Acquired via:  ARC received at BEA


Synopsis from  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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Favorite quote:  My heart was glass - easy to see through, simple to break.

I literally finished Ink thirty minutes ago, and I couldn't wait to review it.  I love myths and retellings, and I read a lot of them, but they're usually based on Greek mythology, so Ink is a great change.  It's story is based on the Japanese spirits called Kami, from the Shinto religion.  Not knowing anything about Shintoism or Japanese beliefs, I was a little concerned I'd get a lost during the book, but I never had that problem.

My thoughts:
  • I loved the characters in this book.  Katie feels like an outsider after being thrust into a whole new country and culture.  The book opens with her feeling embarrassed because she forgot to change out of her school slippers.  That's definitely a culture shock.  I think Katie's a great character because she seems real, human.  She didn't jump from one culture to another without some embarrassing moments.  Her love interest, Tomo, is also pretty cool.  He's got that bad boy vibe I love without actually being a "bad boy".  He's just this broken, sensitive guy that puts up walls to protect himself and others.
  • While I think the book started a little slow, it picked up the pace soon, until I was caught up and needed to finish the book.  Perhaps not a book worthy of losing sleep to finish, but it was still full of enough romance, tension, excitement, and action to keep me riveted.
  • The concept for the book was interesting and original.  I've read so much Greek mythology that this was a breath of fresh air.  I liked the idea of the Kami, the paper gods, the moving ink, and the Japanese mafia all rivaling each other for power and control.
  • I really enjoyed the inclusion of the drawings and the Japanese words.  The book is all about drawings and sketches that come to life, so it was a great idea that they included them.  They even have a section about the artists who did the drawings because their art is beautiful and brings more depth to the story.  I also liked that the book didn't always translate the Japanese during the story.  It makes Katie's struggle to cope with her new surrounding seem more realistic (there's a glossary in the back if you want to know what everything means).
  • The setting and culture were great.  I've read so few books set in Japan or eastern Asia, so this book was refreshing and fun and eye-opening.  I'd like to read more books that take place in these countries, because their culture is so different from ours.  I could understand how Katie must have felt moving to a foreign country and needing to learn a whole new language and way of life.
Overall, Ink is a great book with just the right amount of romance and action and drama.  It's got beautiful artwork, an interesting concept, and a fun setting.  Definitely a good read.

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