Exploding Pens and Paper Gods: Ink by Amanda Sun

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun
Ink (Paper Gods #1)
by Amanda Sun 
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Expected publication: June 25th 2013
Source: review copy from publisher
Author's website | GoodReads
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.
Picture this: you're in your incredibly tedious geometry class, drawing random doodles at the back of your notebook. Angles be damned as your imagination takes over, taking your head to every place imaginable. Ink pours out of your pen as you mindlessly create stroke after stroke, and then something happens- the hummingbird you drew starts to peel away from your blue-lined notebook, looks at you, and flies away.

Katie already thought that Shizuoka was an incredibly weird and foreign place, but when Katie picks up Tomohiro's sketch book and sees the drawings move, her life starts to get weirder and weirder. Her usual routine of house-school-cram school-house gets hijacked by mysterious boys, kendo warriors, yakuza mobs, paper gods, and drawings that take on a life of their own. Nothing a blonde girl can't handle, right? But when these things start to threaten Katie and Tomohiro's lives and the safety of the ones they care about, will they be able to the right thing, even if doing so means letting go of each other?

I loved the mythology and fantasy aspects of Ink. It's plot is probably one of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and unique ones I've ever read and the fact that I didn't lose myself in translation is a huge bonus. Yes, there were a lot of factors behind Ink's subplotting and world building, but I didn't feel overwhelmed at all! Speaking of the world building, the book is set in Japan and it made the story even more magical. Reading Ink was like travelling to a whole different country, and Amanda Sun's vivid descriptions of everything Katie saw and experienced made everything feel incredibly real. Definitely cheaper than air fare!

Ink was originally planned as a contemporary YA, but I wasn't much of a fan of the contemporary aspect of the book, or the romance for that matter. It wasn't exactly insta-love because their relationship started out slow at first, but I think that their relationship escalated too quickly after that and basically lacked foundation despite having a lot of sweet moments. I didn't like Katie that much either. I enjoyed reading about her her relationships with her aunt and classmates and the times when she got introduced to japanese traditions, but sometimes I just wanted to punch that girl. She's brave and reckless and acts like a normal teenager, but she assumes things too quickly and rushes in head on without thinking straight and was pretty much useless Bella Swan-like character. There, I said it.

And then there's Tomo. I couldn't quite wrap my head around this incredibly good guy who pretends to be a troublemaker. With the air of mystery and danger surrounding him, I definitely understand why Katie got interested in him. Tomo is strongest character in this book. His soul is so tainted and broken, but he still manages to put on a facade of normalcy. And that, I think, makes him incredibly brave. However, my favorite character in Ink is Jun. I LOVED THAT BOY SO MUCH. He was this refreshing breath of fresh air, and I just wanted to hug him for that. There were a lot of secondary characters but I feel like they weren't developed enough, much like the secondary characters in animes who are only there for comedic relief  and single-faceted roles.

Ink's paper gods, yakuza fights, and flying dragons made me gasp in awe, but the weak romance and multitude of cliches made me compare it to anime-fied Twilight.  It's no secret that Ink was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013, and with Amanda Sun's swift and breezy prose combined with the book's unique story line, high adrenaline action scenes, and vivid world building, Ink is a definite must-read for fans of japanese culture and shoujo manga


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  1. Can you tell me which part does it get exciting? because I am only at 30% of reading it and I'm starting to lean into stopping. :(

  2. I have heard so many different things about this book that I'm really not sure should I read it. I guess I should to see where I stand. I really like the concept here - meaning fantasy! It sounds unique and brilliant. Too bad that some things like romance aren't on the same level. Great review Ellie :)

  3. Ugh, Bella Swan 0.0
    I kinda wanted to go all rawr on her while reading Twilight series, with firebreath or something, maybe :)
    And seeing Katie is kinda Bella Swan make me want to reconsider reading this one, although I was actually pretty excited before. But the world building sounds amazing, and I really want to read about the paper god, Tomo, and Jun too! (You made me want to know what made you so in love with him!)
    Great review as always, Ellie! :D

    Neysa @ [B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E]

  4. Yakuza fights and flying dragons? :-O That sounds pretty epic - I might've given up on Ink a bit too early! But then again, I really couldn't stand Katie's Bella Swan character. And Tomo. And their thing together. Ehh.
    Ink was originally planned as a contemporary YA? I didn't know that!
    Great review, Ellie!

  5. Awww, useles heroine haha. Sometimes I just want to smack them in their heads, like come on, think for a moment and do something! Katie doesn't sounds like a great heroine, but I'm glad that Tomo is better! I'd love to meet Jun. I've liked his name already. ;)

    Wonderful review, Ellie! <3

  6. Love your review, Ellie! :D
    Contrary to most people, I LOVE the Twilight Series, so I wasn't put off by any reviews of Ink saying that Katie reminds the reader of Bella Swan :p
    Moreover, I have never read a YA located in Japan, so I'm pretty interested in this book, but maybe I shouldn't set my hopes too high?

    Thank you for commenting on my blog, by the way!

    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading


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