YA Content Review- Ink by Amanda Sun

09 Jul, 2013 by in urban fantasy, YA Content Review Leave a comment

by Amanda Sun
Paperback, 326 pages
Published June 25, 2013
by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Papergods #1
Book Source: BEA
3 Stars

Summary From Goodreads: I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

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: I first spotted this book on Netgalley and LOVED the cover as my grandmother is a Japanese watercolor artist and I spent a summer living in Japan. But, I figured I would hold off until BEA to get a paper version and see if there were other illustrations inside. (There are a few  illustrations inside, but they were not at all like the cover…very elementary) 

I finished out my only day there and didn’t see a copy. Then Katie from Katie’s Book Blog reached into her bad as we were waiting for the shuttle and pulled out a copy “Would you be interested in a copy INK?” Can you say serendipity? Thanks Katie!

What drew me to Ink? The multi sensory writing that immerses you in the art, culture and nature of Japan.  Since I lived in a Shinto shrine I found the premise fascinating, but I wish it would have been expanded on much, much more.

The mythology of a Kami, a Japanese God that can make drawings come to life and the girl who makes the ink more powerful and dangerous by her presence.

The Japanese language used throughout the entire book which drew me back there and was authentic. However, at times it was heavy handed and would be a huge turnoff for a reader not at all familiar with Japan.

Use the glossary in the back of the book! I had no idea it was there until I was all done reading.

The characters are very multi faceted and well written. There are some magical scenes when you can just see it all coming to life. I think fans of Manga/ Japanese illustrated novels will like Ink.  

What I struggled with? The main character Tomohiro, kendo star and bad boy with a  reputation. He keeps doing things that are down right jerky. I keep thinking the relationship he has with Katie will tip his behavior to the plus side and he will become more caring. Doesn’t happen! Even at the end of the book and character arc,  I want her to stay FAR FAR away from him. Why, oh why do you see and hear him doing scary things and you keep following him?!

Katie, main heroine is drawn to Tomohiro and ditches her good friends to be with him even though there are so many red flags. She starts breaking rules and lying to her aunt and guardian, then comes back to him repeatedly when he himself warns her to stay away.

Content wise there is a lot of swearing, pretty serious violence including sword and guns, teenage pregnancy, a couple sleepover without parents, mention of a love hotel and a dark overall feel.

Would I buy it? No, this is a check it out from the library or borrow it kind of book because as you read the reviews they are very polarized… you will either love it or hate it.

Author Bio:  I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.
​In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.
​The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

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