Ink (Paper Gods Series #1)by Amanda Sun
Ink is in their blood.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/b>… See more details below
Ink is in their blood.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 but gorgeous Tomohiro, the 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 each other, 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 Japanand 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.
"The descriptions of life in Japan...create a strong sense of place, and set an exotic backdrop for this intriguing series opener by a debut author." -Booklist
"The unique setting and observing how Katie learns to live in...foreign surroundings...make this story special." -VOYA
"The work of a master storyteller." -Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Fey series
"A modern day fairytale." -Amber Benson of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones novels
"A captivating story of love, passion, and the choices people make to keep themselves safe." -Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate and Asunder
"Ink is a book that you sit down to read when you have a spare few minutes and then you look up and hours have passed a completely captivating story." -Book Passage Bookstore
Read an Excerpt
I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers. No lie. I had to turn around and slink all the way back to the genkan, the stifled laughs from my classmates trailing me as I mustered what slippered dignity I could.
God, way to scream foreigner. You'd think after a couple of weeks I'd have the routine down, but no. I'd gone into that mode again, the one where I forgot everything for a minute and walked dazed through the sounds of the Japanese being spoken around me, not fully comprehending that it wasn't English, that I was on the other side of the world, that Mom was
I looked up to see Yuki running toward me, breaking from a group of girls who stopped chatting, staring at us. Their stares weren't unfriendlythey just weren't exactly subtle. I guess that's expected when you're the only Amerika-jin in the school.
Yuki grabbed my arms with her slender fingers. "You do not want to go in there," she said in English, motioning at the school entrance behind us.
"Um, I kind of have to," I answered in broken Japanese. Forget English, Diane had said. It's the easiest way to get fluent faster. It's easier to forget everything, I guess. Forget I ever had any other kind of life.
Yuki shook her head, so I pointed at my slippered feet. "You still shouldn't," she said, this time in Japanese. I liked that about Yukishe knew I was trying. She didn't insist on English like some of the other kids. "There's an ugly breakup going on in the genkan. Really, really awkward."
"What am I supposed to do, wait?" I said. "I'll just be in and out, ten seconds." I held out my fingers for emphasis.
"Trust me," she said, "you don't want to get in the middle of this."
I peeked around her shoulder, but I couldn't see anything through the glass. I tapped the toe of my slipper on the ground; it felt so flimsy.
"Some big shot?" I said in English, and Yuki cocked her head to the side. "You know, a daiji na hito or something?" If Yuki was worried, it was probably gossip-worthy.
She leaned in conspiratorially. "Yuu Tomohiro," she whispered. In Japan, everyone went by their last names first. "He's fighting with Myu."
Yuki's friends giggled behind us. Had they been eavesdropping the whole time?
"Myu, his girlfriend," she said.
"No, I know Myu. The other one," I said.
"Yuu Tomohiro?" Yuki said, her arms waving wildly as if that would jog a memory I didn't have. "Top of the kendo team? They let him get away with almost anything. You don't want to draw his attention, trust me. He has this cold stare. I dunno he seems dangerous."
"So, what, he's going to stare me down?"
Yuki rolled her eyes. "You don't get it. He's unpredictable. You don't want to make enemies with a third year in your first two weeks, do you?"
I bit my lip, trying to peer through the glass door again. I didn't need more attention, that's for sure. I just wanted to blend in, get my homework done and drift through school until Nan and Gramps could take me in. But I also didn't want to stand in the courtyard in a pair of slippers, stuck for who knows how long. Anyway, it's not like they could make my life a living hell if I left Japan, and it would all be sorted out soon, right? This wasn't where Mom intended me to end up. I knew that.
"I'm going in," I said.
"You're crazy," Yuki said, but her eyes shone with excitement.
"They don't scare me."
Yuki raised her fists up to her chin. "Faito," she said. Fight. In her most encouraging, you-can-do-it voice.
I grinned a little, then stepped toward the door. Even from outside I could hear the muffled yelling. When it died down for a minute, I took my chance.
Just in and out. I'm in slippers, for god's sake. They're not even going to hear me.
I pulled open the door and let it close quietly behind me before I stepped onto the raised wooden floor. My heartbeat pounded in my ears. The yelling was still muffled, and I realized the couple were on the other side of the sliding door into the school. Perfectno way they'd see me now.
I snuck between the rows and rows of shoe cubbies looking for mine. It wasn't hard to findit was the only one with a pair of leather shoes sticking out approximately a mile, surrounded by the neatly tucked-away slippers in everyone else's boxes. We all wore slippers in the school to keep it clean, but they weren't your typical cozy bedroom slippers. They were more like papery white f lats. Japan had slippers for everythingschool, house, toilet room, you name it.
I reached for my shoes as Myu's high and whiny voice echoed from the hallway behind the sliding door. Rolling my eyes, I pulled off the first slipper and then the other, clunking my shoes onto the floor and sliding my feet in.
And then the door slid open with a crash.
I crouched down, jolted by the footsteps stomping toward me. I did not want in on this performance.
"Matte!" Myu shouted, followed by a flurry of shuffling footsteps. "Wait!"
I glanced at the door to the courtyardtoo far to make it without being seen. And just by trying to plan my escape route, I'd waited too long. If she saw me now, the way I was pressed against the wall all spylike, she'd think I was eavesdropping, and I didn't need rumors circulating about me. I was already a gaijin, an outsiderI didn't need to be a weirdo, too.
"Oi," said a second, annoyed voice. It was deep and richmust be Yuu Tomohiro, dangerous kendo star. He didn't sound that dangerous. In fact, he sounded pretty disinterested. Cold, like Yuki had said.
Myu rapidly churned out Japanese words I didn't know. I caught a particle here and a past tense there, but let's face it I'd only been in the country for a little more than a month and studying for five. I'd crammed all the Japanese I could, but I realized the minute I was on the plane that it had all been useless if I wanted to have a real conversation. At least I could name just about all the fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.
Great plan there. Real useful. Things had improved since I arrived, but still, talking to Yuki or taking notes in class was not the same as following the high-pitched babbling of a major social breakup like this one. That was hard enough in English. I could really only make out the most important detail, which was that she was seriously pissed. You didn't need much vocab to tell.
I peeked around the wall of cubbies, hugging the wooden frame so I wouldn't be seen. Yuu Tomohiro had stopped in his tracks, his back to me and his head tilted back, staring up at her. Myu's long legs made her school uniform look scandalously short, her kneesocks slumped in coils around her ankles. She clutched a black book at the top of the steps, her nails painted neatly in pinks and glittery silver.
"What is this? What is it?" she said over and over, waving the book in Yuu's face.
Hmm I thought. A notebook?
Yuu Tomohiro shrugged and climbed the steps back up to the sliding door. He reached for the notebook, but Myu whisked it behind her. He sighed as he leaned back against the opened door, his slipper pressing against the wooden frame.
"Well?" Myu said.
"What's it look like?" he said. "A notebook."
I rolled my eyes, even though my answer had been pretty much the same.
"Baka ja nai no?" Myu shrieked at him.
He was taller than her, but not when he slouched like that against the wall. And the more she fumed at him, the farther he seemed to slouch into the door. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his navy blue school blazer and tilted his head down, like he couldn't stand to even look at her or something. His copper hair, too bright to be natural, flipped in every direction like he hadn't taken the time to brush it, and he'd grown his bangs longthe way he was staring at the floor made the tips of them brush against his eyelashes.
I felt the heat rise up my neck. Yuki had not warned me he was so, well, pretty. Okay, gorgeous. I almost expected sparkles and rainbows to burst out of the walls anime-style, except his lips were turned in a smirk, and the way he crumpled against the wall exuded a smug superiority.
It was obvious Myu got the message. She looked absolutely livid.
"You think I'm stupid?" she said again. "Or are you?"
"Does it matter?"
What the heck had I walked into?
I couldn't tear my eyes away. Myu's face was puffy and pink, and every now and then her words got all choked up in her throat. She threw a string of questions into the air and they hung there with no reply. She became more frantic, the silence more tense.
What the hell did he do?
Cheat on her, maybe. That was the obvious answer or she wouldn't be so pissed. And he had no reply for it, because really, what could he say?
Yuu Tomohiro shook his head, the copper strands dancing around, and his head suddenly twisted to the cubbies beside me.
I shrunk flat against the wall, squeezing my eyes shut and praying he didn't see me. Myu had stopped ranting and a thick silence fell over the genkan.
"Is someone there?" she said.
Oh, craphe had seen me. It was all over. I'd forever be the gaijin who has no life and eavesdrops on bad breakups to sate my emo side.
"No one," he said, but it sounded off.
I couldn't bear it and I peeked around the cubby wall. Yuu was looking away. So he hadn't seen me after all. Thank godI could go back to just being the Slipper Slinker.
Myu's eyes puffed up and overflowed, the tears streaming down her cheeks. "So it's really true," she said. "She's pregnant."
Oh my god. What is this? Who are these people?
"Sou mitai," Tomohiro smirked, which was way too casual a yes. A response like that was downright cruel. Even I knew that.
Myu's glittery fingernails tightened around the book. She raised it high above her shoulders, the loose papers inside it slipping until it was a mess of corners.
Then she hurled the book at the floor.
The notebook exploded with pages as it trailed down, the papers catching in the air and filling the room like rain. They twirled and twisted as they came down, white edges framing thick lines of black ink and charcoal. They fluttered down to the floor like cherry petals.
One of the drawings fell in front of me, tapping gently against the end of my shoe as it came to a rest.
"What the hell?" Yuu shouted, picking up the book from the floor.
"What did it all mean, then?" she whispered. "What was I to you?"
Yuu straightened to his full height and tilted his chin back until his gleaming dark eyes gazed straight into hers. He took two swaggering steps toward her, bending forward until their lips almost met. Myu's eyes widened.
He stood silently for a moment. Then he looked to the side, and I saw a pained look in his eyes. He breathed heavily, his cheeks pink, his eyes glossy. So he did have feelings after all, the beast. He started to reach for her chin with his fingers. And then his hand suddenly dropped into his pocket and he laughed.
"Betsu ni," he said in a velvet voice. Nothing special.
You're lying, I thought. Why are you lying?
But Myu looked like she'd been punched in the gut. And even with the cultural barriers that stood in my way, it was clear to me that he'd just discounted all her suffering, her feelingsthe whole relationship. He looked like he didn't give a shit, and that's pretty much what he'd said.
Myu's face turned a deep crimson, and her black hair clung to the sides of her snot-streaked face. Her hands squeezed into fists at her sides. Her gaze of hope turned cold and listless, like a mirror of Yuu's face.
And then Myu lifted her hand and slugged him right in the jaw. She hit him so hard his face twisted to the left.
He lifted his hand to rub his cheek, and as he raised his eyes, they locked with mine.
His gaze burned into me and I couldn't move. Heat flooded my cheeks, and shame tingled down my neck.
I couldn't look away. I stared at him with my mouth open.
But he didn't call me out. He lifted his head, flicked his gaze back to Myu and pretended I didn't exist. I let out a shaky breath.
"Saitei," she spat, and I heard footsteps. After a moment, the door to the hallway slid shut.
I let out a breath.
Well, that was today's dose of awkward.
I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
A girl lay back on a bench, roughly sketched in scrawls of ink as she looked out over the moat of Sunpu Park. She wore a school uniform, a tartan skirt clinging to her crossed legs. Little tufts of grass and flowers tangled with the bench legs, which had to be creative licenseit was still too cold for blooms.
The girl was beautiful, in her crudely outlined way, with a lick of hair stuck to the back of her neck, her elbow resting against the top of the bench and her hand behind her head. She looked out at the moat of Sunpu Park, the sunlight sparkling off the dark water.
A pregnant bump of stomach curved under her blouse.
The other girl.
A queasy feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the sketched girl on the bench turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine. A chill shuddered through me. Oh my god. She's looking at me.
A hand snatched the paper out of mine. I looked up, my mind reeling, straight into the face of Yuu Tomohiro.
He slammed the page facedown on top of the pile of drawings he'd collected. He stood too close, so that he hovered over me.
"Did you draw that?" I whispered in English. He didn't answer, staring hard at me. His cheek burned red and puffy where Myu had hit him.
I stared back. "Did you draw it?"
He smirked. "Kankenai darou!"
I looked at him blankly, and he sneered.
"Don't you speak Japanese?" he said. I felt my cheeks flush with shame. He looked like he'd settled some sort of battle in his mind, and he turned, walking slowly away.
"She moved," I blurted out.
He stumbled, just a little, but kept walking.
But I saw him stumble. And I saw the drawing look at me.
Didn't I? My stomach churned. That was impossible, wasn't it?
He went up the stairs, clutching the papers to his chest.
"She moved!" I said again, hesitant.
"I don't speak English," he said and slammed the door. It slid into the wall so hard it bounced back a little. I saw his shadow against the frosted glass of the door as he walked away.
Something oozed through the bottom of the sliding door, sluggish like dark blood. Did Myu hit him that hard?
The liquid dripped down the stairs, and after a moment of panic, I realized it was ink, not blood. From the drawings she'd thrown, maybe, or a cartridge of ink he'd kept inside the notebook.
I stood for a minute watching it drip, thinking of the burning eyes of the girl staring at me, the same flame in Yuu's eyes.
Had Myu seen it, too? Would anyone believe me? I wasn't even sure what the heck I'd seen.
It couldn't be real. I was too tired, overwhelmed in a country where I struggled to even communicate. That was the only answer.
I hurried toward the front door and out into the fresh spring air. Yuki and her friends had already vanished. I checked my watchmust be for a club practice. Fine. I was too jittery to talk about what I'd seen anyway. I ran across the courtyard, sans slippers this time, through the gate of Suntaba School and toward the weaving pathways of Sunpu Park.
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4.5 Stars I really enjoyed this book. I like the setting and feel that the author did a good job of immersing me into the book and bringing out the setting. I liked the plot and how the author brought everything together. I did like how Japanese culture and traditions played a part of the book. I liked the idea of an American girl slowly immerses herself in Japanese culture. I liked how the author included the romance and then finally the supernatural. Not everything was explained in this book, but I was okay with that because it left me with anticipation for the next book. The supernatural wasn’t over done and flowed nicely with the book. Everything about the book was amazing and brought together smoothly. Katie was a pretty good character. Her transition from sad and confused to strong and happy was fun to read about. She resisted moving to japan at first but then she settles in and accepted her new life. I didn’t like how caught up she got in Tomohiro and how he took over her thoughts. She was willing to give up a lot for this guy. But she balanced this out by being strong and self reliant. I liked how the book was from her point of view and the thoughts and feelings that made up this character. Tomohiro was a contradicting character that I really like. He had these two sides to him and Katie never knew which one he was going to use at any given moment. He had a bad boy outer shell and a good boy center. He constantly used that outer shell as a weapon and as a defense mechanism. I really loved the ending of this book. I got all prepared for one ending and then I was left with this surprise of a cliff hanger. The author was very masterful with the ending and left me wanting more. I will be looking for more books by this author and publisher.
Great premise, great potential, but failure in delivery - this is what sums up everything I think about Ink. I had huge hopes for this book because it is set in Japan - the land of the rising sun, anime, manga, cosplay, J-dorama, Kendo, samurai and everything weird to normal folks. I confess that I'm an otaku, and I don't consider that as a negative thing. So when I received an ARC of Ink, I just couldn't contain my joy! I just had to read it! Then imagine that joy being sucked out little by little when I started reading the book. The biggest thing which became a huge turn off for me in this book is the heroine. Let me be blunt and just say that Katie Greene is one annoying little prick of a stalker. I do not like her. I know I sound mean, but in all seriousness, never has a heroine ticked me off this way. While I was reading the book, I groaned multiple times because of how annoying Katie was. Sure, she was this gaijin (outsider) and she's supposed to be broody and all unfamiliar. That's normal. Being thrown in a completely foreign environment makes a person vulnerable. I understand that perfectly. What I don't understand is why she just goes out of her way stalk Tomo. This is not something I could imagine a foreigner, who's all broody being in Japan, would do. The irony is this: At the beginning, Katie laments being different, being a foreigner living and studying in Japan. She even wants to leave and looks forward to nothing but leaving Japan, but then, she goes out of her way to stalk a guy who looks and acts dangerous. Curiosity? I don't think so. Try annoying stalker-tendencies. Second annoying thing about Katie: she's like a love-struck unicorn in heat (Yes, I can be colorful even when I'm saying something negative). They barely know each other and she suddenly says she can't live without him. Wow. Just wow. I didn't even know Insta-Love could be as instant as this. And let me just say that the forbidden-love plot device between Katie and Tomo was also another turn off. Next, Tomo - broody, violent and mysterious hot guy. Basically, imagine a hot anime guy and you get him. Nothing fascinating about him really, except his cool powers. I also don't relate to him that much as a character at all because he's two-dimensional. All in all, you know that feeling when there's great premise and a promising blurb in a well-packaged book, but then those things are all overshadowed by cliche and two-dimensional characters? This is exactly how I feel. I know that the premise is great. It has potential to be something really awesome! But then the characters are all very annoying and the premise is wasted. What a tragedy really.
This one is a bit of conundrum. There was no clear explanation for the connection between Katie and the ink. Keeping in mind that a lot of emphasis was laid on the fact that Katie is a foreigner and the Kamu is passed down via generations and culture. Why, how and what consequence does the unexplained link have? The book is full of japanese terms and phrases some of which are explained during the story. I am glad there was a glossary in the back, although I would have personally preferred it at the start to give me some idea and/or prior knowledge of the unknown words to come. The concept is wonderfully creative and the opens the door to many possible avenues. The ink isn't just a tool it is its own entity. What I felt let the story down was the way the author kept very closely to the common en-vogue themes in YA at the the moment. Bad boy treats good girl nasty then he is nice to her and she melts like a swirl of butter in the summer sun. There was so much potential in this concept and yet so little was actually drawn upon. The author needs to throw off those chains of compulsory squee plot points and let her imagination do the walking and her fingers do some more inventive talking. My conundrum is the rating. Despite the execution being nothing more than mediocre one can clearly see the semblance of something truly memorable shining through, hence the higher rating. I am at heart a plot person. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley.
Plot/Setting: After the death of her mom Katie Greene moves to Japan to live with her Aunt Diane who is a English teacher. All Katie wants is to go live with her Grandparents in Canada and escape Japan. However, all chances of returning to normalcy vanishes when she witnesses Yuuto Tomohiro break up with his girlfriend and sees one of his drawings moves. Ink is Amanda Sun's debut novel and a start to a new series called the 'Paper Gods'. It was an amazing book and I highly recommend it. The author steps out of a North American/or fictional setting and takes reader to a whole new country, writes about it culture, foods and the hardship Katie faces with language barriers and cultural differences. Readers are able to leave there comfort zone and embrace something new. I cannot think of one other book that focuses on someone from North America going to Japan. This paranormal-romance debut is unlike others in that Amanda Sun has skipped the norm (vampires, werewolves etc;) and brought to light Japanese mythology which I haven't seen present before in recent YA novels. This makes Ink stand out from others recently released in that genre. The book is fast paste and easy to understand. There is a Japanese glossary in the back to translate the Japanese words. The plot is well done and flows nicely throughout the book. However, I felt that there could of been more action involved. Characters: YA needs more asian boys :D Man...Tohomohiro is so sexy. Ever since I found out this novel was being released, thanks to Goodreads, I had been patiently awaiting it release date because a) I am moving to Japan this fall for University and b) sexy asian boy as the main love interest ^_^ Katie: Katie is very much a brave, determined, curious and headstrong character. She is the type that runs towards danger without thinking it through. Also given with all her hardships (mother death, moving to foreign country, learning a new language) she does pretty well and does not give up. I did not find myself, as a reader, annoyed with Katie at all. I personally envied her and found her quite enjoyable as a protagonist. However, during the Love Hotel scene I wanted to shake her and say "connect the dots". Tomohiro: ^_^ He has got the whole "I'm in pain", bad-boy, confident and modest thing going on and I liked it. I really felt a lot of sympathy towards his character and there were times when I wanted to hug him, shake him and say 'your awesome' and then there were moments when I wanted to beat the crap out of him. However, Tomohiro always puts others above himself and that is enviable quality. However, I think he needs to be a bit more selfish and realize he is super awesome. Also bonus...my best friend (she is japanese) is in a relationship with a guy and for the life of me I could never remember his name. However, thanks to Ink I can since the first part of his, first name, is Tomo :D Jun: I am conflicted at who I like more...Jun or Tomohiro. Yuki, Tanaka, Diane: the side characters were the best. Yuki and Tanaka cracked me up. Diane tries so hard to make Katie fit into her life in Japan. She also pushes Katie to cross new boundaries (learn a new language) and helps Katie develop into a better person :D Yakuza: I hope we learn more about them in the next book ^_^ Artwork: This a paperback book...and it has the most awesome artwork both on the cover and inside the book. Readers will be delighted to find flip art ^_^ I really wanted there to be more of that and hope the second book will have it as well. I am actually excited to see what the second book will look like. Also the book contains Q&A with the artists, the author , discussion questions and a sneak peak at Book #2. BTW when is book #2 coming out. I do not think I can wait a whole year haha !! Overall: This is definitely a book that everyone should be on the lookout for. I finished this a week ago and I am still replaying it in my head. The Author gets points for bringing something new to the paranormal romance genre, stepping outside of YA normal boundaries and making the readers starve to death as they read about all the delicious foods they are missing out on. Things I did not like: could of been more action, a little more physical descriptions of the characters and some of the places around them Thing I loved: all the characters, flip art, storyline, the japanese glossary, cover and the japanese mythology. This book definitely deserves 5 stars :D
Lately one of my biggest complaints have been about the paranormal genre becoming a little bland, monotonous and…well, boring. No-one is writing anything new that isn’t similar in some way to what someone else has written before. Because I loved the cover and synopsis for this book, I was hoping with all my heart that this book would be unlike its peers in the paranormal genre. From the blurb it sounded like something unique and exciting, and it certainly was! If you’re into Japanese myths and folklore, anime and/or manga, you’ll have a field day reading Ink. The author did her research of Japanese mythology admirably, and also integrates her own experiences of living in Japan, as well as a few Japanese words and phrases, into the story to make the setting more realistic for the reader. The story takes place in Japan and while I’ve never set foot in Japan and know zilch about their culture, beliefs and customs, it felt as though I was there. The concept of drawings coming to life had my imagination on fire and I completely lost myself in this breathtaking novel with its vivid descriptions and illustrations that practically jumps off the page right in front of your eyes. The characters are well-rounded, smart and highly likeable (eventually), but pretty standard for a YA paranormal romance. What really sets this book apart from most others are the illustrations and drawings in every chapter, as well as the exceptional world-building which includes multicultural elements and the fascinating traditions of the Japanese people. Those were without a doubt the highlights for me. There’s nothing more I can say about this incomparable novel (without including spoilers, of course) which haven’t already been said by hundreds of reviewers. Despite it taking place in a country with a language that is foreign to me, the author made me feel right at home in Katie’s new world by revealing this beautiful setting one detail at a time and without dumping tons of info at the start or in the first half of the book. The romance in Ink is delicate, yet seductive, and pulls you in all the way. So my recommendation is for anyone and everyone looking for something new and exciting in the paranormal romance genre, and those who root for the good girl falling in love with the ansty bad boy, to give this exhilarating read a chance. This is a page-turner that is near impossible to put down once you start reading it. I can’t wait to see what Amanda Sun will bring us next in the second instalment to this addictive new series! I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Okay so every since I first seen the cover of this book, I knew I was going to be reading it. And then I got lucky enough to get a digital advanced copy of it and lets just say I woke the neighbors squeeing as loud as I could. I love how the cover of Ink looks a little like a tattoo (which is the first thing I thought of when I seen the title ) but it is very detailed and very intense with the vibrant colors. And then I found out that the story was based on Japanese folklore/mythology and I was again squeeing like a ten year old girl. I love mythology so much and I absolutely adore that this one is based on some lesser known mythologies. But Ink was so much more than just a YA mythology book; it was more like a cultural explosion. Amanda Sun incorporates everything Japanese in the story line so it feels like we are immersed in the society. I loved how she included Japanese words in the story to help us become more acclimated to the whole cultural difference. The way Amanda Sun sets up the world building and descriptions of the areas in Japan made me want to visit there in person so bad. (Too bad I am so afraid of flying) She is very good with her descriptions and you can tell she truly has a passion for the community. Besides the setting, the characters are pretty intense too. Katie is a very strong female heroine that definitely had me enthralled. She thinks she isn't tough but I find that hard to believe. Katie lost her mom and goes to live with her aunt in Japan. She has learned so much and subconsciously finds she calls Japan home, while on the outside she battles with her acceptance of Japan. Katie is very well at adapting and I think that what makes her such a strong character is her ability to adapt to her surroundings as well as the reality that surrounds her. Then there is Tomo. Oh Tomo. What a snarky, brooding, artistic, gorgeous guy! Tomo is an enigma indeed. He has this tough guy exterior but we soon find out there is so much hiding in his many layers. He has this amazing "old spirit" quality to him and the fact that he shares the same heartbreaking past as Katie has makes him that much more of a love interest. There is so much going on in Ink that it is hard not to fall in love with this story. You get a true romance, a strong female character, and a plot that surprises us with its many twists. And to top it all off: Japanese mafia. You really can't beat it. Warning: Every time I picked up the book and began to read I craved Japanese food. You will too. Probably. If you are anything like me. And don't feel bad Katie, I still can't use chopsticks either.
A whole new world of adventure! Ok there are so many things about this book that I loved, but the first thing that caught my attention was the location, Japan! I love Japan and everything about it, but there aren’t that many YA books set in this place and the books that are tend to be based mainly in the past. The author gives us a glimpse into the contemporary Japan and using imagery and humor shows us many of the places and things that I would love to see for myself one day. I also loved how she was able to interweave a lot of the culture and mythology of Japan without making it seem like a history lesson. Then there was the paranormal aspect to the story. I really liked the unusual powers the characters had with Ink and trying to figure out exactly what it was and how it worked. There was a lot we learned about it, but just as many questions arose from it as well and I can’t wait to find out more in the next book. Katie is a really strong willed character and I really admired her spirit. I liked that although she made mistakes she still kept trying. Just like when she was trying to learn the language. At first she wasn’t that great at it and even though her friends didn’t mind speaking to her in English she chose to keep on trying and perfect her Japanese instead of just giving up. She is a fun character to get to know and a bit quirky at times too. Tomohiro was an interesting character and although I was a bit leery of him at first I really came to like him right along with Katie. He keeps to himself and for good reason, but once you get past that hard outer shell he really is a sweety and really funny. I love how he interacts with Katie and the way he sometimes teases her. It is so much fun to see them together. It was also great that he could also be so lighthearted and have a sense of humor about things given the situation he is in. I think he and Katie make a great team and I can’t wait to see more of them. I also loved Katie’s two friends Yuki and Tanaka. Yuki is one of her first friends and she is one of my favorites. She is always cheerful and a lot of fun to be around kind of likes Tanaka who is a bit of a goofball. I liked how supportive they were of Katie even when things got really weird. They are definitely the kind of people I would love to be friends with. Overall this is an exciting read with an imaginative new world that I am dying to read more of!
What drew me in was the cover. Just take a minute and look at a picture of it or the paperback edition. I mean, WOW. It's gorgeous. Definitely wins the award for Best Cover of 2013 So Far. I love it. The swirls, the color, everything. This review could probably be me droning on and on about the cover, but that's not what you want to know about. Anyway, I love pretty much everything about this book, except for Katie and Tomohiro. Katie is... annoying. She goes from missing her parents and being homesick to being a stalker. I know. Weird. Tomohiro is interesting but two-dimensional, although I do like him more as the story progresses. Now to the plot! The plot was amazing. It has lots of twists and surprises and is fast-moving. I like the Japanese scattered through the book, too. It's always followed by an English translation, or can be found in the glossary in the back. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely keep my eyes peeled for more from Amanda Sun! Rating: 4.45/5
My Review The cover is what drew me into this book and boy this book did not disappoint. I enjoyed this book from the first page and I couldn't put it down. It's very hard that I can read a YA book that sets itself apart from all the others out there and Ink was able to accomplish that without it seeming too over the top. Katie was a strong female character who handled being uprooted way better than a lot of teenagers would have at her age and I don't mean to a different state I mean to a whole different country. I have never been to Japan but reading this book made it feel like I was right there in the midst of all the action. I enjoyed the interactions between Katie and Tomohiro especially when he told Katie that it was okay to be mad over the death of her mother and to let it change her. Tomohiro was your typical bad boy and normally that turns me off from books but it this one it didn't because I understood why he was being such an ass. The book kept me on the edge of my seat and I really enjoyed reading every page. I was provided with just enough inforrmation where it didn't feel like I was presented with FBS (First Book Syndrome) and not too little to make the book seem uninteresting. The character in Ink were well developed and interesting. I really enjoyed how Ms. Sun described things so immaculately that it seemed like a movie was coming off of the page and not just a books. The only thing stopping this from being a full 5 stars is I was wishing for a little more background story into the Kami and how I was able to guess certain parts of the book a little early on. Other than that this was a great action packed book that gave me something different than a lot of the YA books that are currently on the market. ****This book was given to me by Harlequin Teen through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review****
Unique, Sweet and Fun to Read! 3.5 Bright, Blossoming Stars! The Review: I've been a lover of anime and manga for years and I could easily imagine Tomohiro and Katie being one of the fascinating characters I've watched in one of my favorite animated shows. But you don't have to be an anime enthusiast or an expert in Japanese culture to enjoy this book. Amanda Sun pens a beautifully inspired story steeped in embellished scenery and Japanese culture, captivating the reader and pulling them into this magical journey. From things such as the annual fall of the sakura tree or cherry blossom petals with the towns people sitting in the park and drinking in the sights, to the foods, tea and names and places of things, the reader is lettered in language, culture and traditions. And though most of the time when Katie phrases something specific, there was an accompanying English translation immediately following, but for the rare instance when there's wasn't, there is a dictionary at the end of the book which I loved going through. I also enjoyed the creative world and mythology building as the author takes us on a unique journey through traditions, mythos, friendships and romance. Characters... I am conflicted with Katie's character. I both liked and disliked her. When we first meet her, she's mourning the loss of her mother and a familiar life she's had to leave behind. I felt sympathy for her as she struggled with her new surroundings and the possibility she would never return to the states. However, her focus quickly changes as she witnesses Tomohiro's breakup and subsequent moving pictures. She then becomes a girl obsessed. She literally stalks Tomohiro from one place to another, watching him, almost taunting him all the while blaming him for taunting her. I realize she was only sixteen, but she seemed so immature. And then, she basically needs a hand-holding once she's told the truth, then she loves him, then she's scared of him, then she can't live without him. Katie and Tomohiro's feelings seemed too rushed especially considering how Tomohiro and Katie were introduced, with rumors of him getting another girl pregnant and him being associated with gangs. She kept saying she needed to be cautious but she never exhibited that caution. She does grow and change by the end of the story, so for that, I have to give her credit, even if its bittersweet. But I did like their romance. Once I accepted them as a couple, I really enjoyed Katie and Tomohiro's time together and the adventure they embarked on. Tomohiro was the classic bad-boy with a golden heart. I was fascinated by his gift and what he could do. And I loved the fact that his feelings were the propellant for his gift. However, his character was a bit clichéd in that he tries to sacrifice his feelings by pushing Katie away "for her own good", his method a bit harsh. I also wanted more details on his nightmares and his gift. We get bits and pieces and perhaps we'll get more in the second book, but I wanted more understanding about the origin and the ability itself. I do see great things for him if he can master his gift and that should be fun! I wish we had gotten more of Yuki and Tanaka, the best friends, with a possible love connection between the two. They were supportive and friendly but they were just kind of left hanging out in left field while Katie and Tomohiro had their adventures. The Wrap Up: I enjoyed this read and I really enjoyed the unique take on the mythology. Though I think the characters could have used a bit more development and the romance needed to be fine tuned, I'm excited by this author and am looking forward to checking out more of her work, especially when the second book in this series is released. Considering the slight cliffy we left off with, I'm interested to see what's in store for Tomohiro, Katie and friends! NOTE:: I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review by Harlequin through NetGalley.
Best bookI have read in2015
I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was so intrigued by this title when it came up on NetGalley because it just seemed so different from other books in its genre, paranormal young adult books that also include mythology, something new to shake up the lovers of this genre. And shake me up it did! To begin with, it was set in Japan and dealt with Japanese mythology, something I admit I know little about, which just made me want to read it more so I could learn about it. I had no idea there were such things as kendo or Kami (the Japanese Gods), but I enjoyed learning about all of this, and much more about Japan in general. The descriptions of the sights, smells and tastes of Japanese life were amazingly well done, and when ink started dripping off of drawings and out of notebooks, I got chills! The main female character, Katie, was very likable. She lost her mother and was sent to live with an aunt she doesn't even know very well in Japan. Instead of crawling into a shell and just trying to get through each day until she can go back to the US and live with her grandparents, Katie takes the opportunity to immerse herself in the Japanese culture. She soaks up as much as she can, and even begins to thrive, especially after she meets the "gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school's kendo team." She finds that she has a weird connection with Tomo, but unfortunately Tomo also has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being around Katie is making him lose control of his abilities, which I will not describe here because it is a long and very interesting story that you must read the book to learn. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series, Rain. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to my friends, and to all lovers of paranormal young adult books that have a bent towards mythology, because unless you read YA books that deal with Japanese mythology on a regular basis, this book will definitely appeal to you. I happily give it 5 stars.
So at first I wasn't that into this book. I've never been that into Japanese Culture, so this was out of my comfort zone the same way that Katie was out of her comfort zone through the entire book. There were a lot of things that made it really difficult for me when I started this book because it wasn't something I was used to. Sort of like how I avoid fantasy because I have no idea whats happening? Yeah it was like that, but unlike with fantasy, I was able to find a groove and get comfortable with the book. My biggest problem and the biggest reason that I was lost through the book was not only was there the references to Japanese culture that went over my head, but there was also a use of the the language that really through me off because while it was more authentic, it was confusing. There was a glossary of terms at the end of the book, but I didn't know about it until the end, which defeated the point of me really having it and being able to really understand. I really liked Katie but her infatuation with Tomo was really annoying. Once they were together I had no problem with them, but getting them together seemed a little unnatural. Katie was almost chasing Tomo who was decidedly no good for her. He warned her about being bad news and she persisted. While I appreciate that it moved the plot along, I think that there was a better way for them to have gotten together. I loved how original this idea was. There are plenty of books about Greek Gods and a few other gods, but Japanese culture? Not so much. I really enjoyed learning about this completely different type of lore. There was so much to love about this book. Not just the lore, but I also adored the characters and the complex plot. I cannot wait for the next book to come out.
I love this book read it in one night then turned around and read it agan if you like anime and manga this ones for you five stars
I strongly recommend this awesome book for MATURES only. I couldn't put this book down!!!!!! V-V
I really enjoyed this book! For it to be Sun's first book, she did an exceptional job. I loved the way she intertwined a sweet and forbidden love story into the fascinating folklore of Japan. Even the way she described Japan was deliciously descriptive. Having knowledge from manga and anime, I say she pretty much nailed what Japan is really like. It felt like I was reading a manga but in novel form. I so recommend this book!! I could not put this book down. This is the first time in a while that I have read a book for pleasure and actually finished it before a ridiculously long amount of time hehe I like to stick to reading fanfiction lol. But yes this book is amazing, plot wise and literary device wise!! The only criticism I could out out there is about the main character. I really disliked Katie. If I was her, I would have approached things very differently but I can't hate her for it because of her bravery throughout the story and the fact that I have never fallen in love with a hot Japanese boy yet unfortunately. This book was amazing! Especially if you are an anime and manga fan. Great job, Sun!!
I couldn't put it down. I strongly recommend!!
It was a fantastic book. In one night I had already gotten to the middle of the book it was so interesting.
My mom found out about th txting. I will b on a much as possible. But if i dissapper, tht meas they gavemy nook away.
I lived in Japan and have read many historical Japanese setting books (adult and children's), so I'm pleased to see contemporary YA novels such as INK out this year. I love the premise: words are alive and create and have power. This premise not only has roots in Egyptian mythology, but Hebrew theology and Christian beliefs. Amanda Sun made INK accessable to Eurocentric/Western North American teens by using a Caucasian US-Canadian (gaijin) protagonist, Katie Greene. Still, the setting is Japan and the supporting cast--except for Katie's aunt--is all Japanese. The dialogue and narrative is light, snarky, and a breeze to read for today's readers. [Note: At the end of the book is a glossary of Japanese words. Readers should have been clued into this beforehand.} The only part that was tedious for me was the romance: Does she love him? Does she love him not? Does she love him? Does she love him not? Him being the bad/not-so-bad boy. The fault is mine, though, for I'm not a fan of Romances. Harlequinn Teen invested in quality artists who drew fun flip art on the page edges and ink drawings that enhance reading pleasure and understanding. I highly recommend this book for boys. A lot of guys would not pick it up because of the attractive girl and cherry blossoms on the cover. But INK has predominiately male characters, all strong in different ways, kendo, high risk--even illegal--activities, yakuza (Japanese mob), violence, and vicious INK. Guys, if you wouldn't be caught dead reading a book with this feminine of a cover, make a bookcover from a brown bag. It's worth reading.
Ink shows Amanda Sun's knowledge of Japan, its culture and its legends, as well as her own sensitivity and I admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of this story. Katie is in a foreign country, coping with her grief, trying to make friends and learn a new language. How can a reader not feel empathy for her? Moreso because we can see her efforts, particularly not to let her mother's death effect her day by day. Katie is drawn to Tomohiro because he is a loner too, and because she thinks she sees his ink drawings come to life, which naturally makes her curious about him. At points in the story Amanda Sun attempts to introduce a good versus evil plot but often the lines become blurred making it difficult to distinguish which side the character belongs to. Ink is an innovative and creative novel in which the fantasy world exists parallel to that of the human world. It seems that in particular the illusionary images and events are connected to the emotions of Tomohiro and Katie; they have both lost their mothers and Tomohiro's grief is exhibited as anger, which he encourages Katie to feel, and although Amanda Sun allow them to share a more sensitive side with each other in their relationship, the reader speculates which element of their personality will win. The reader is also in the privileged position of learning about Japanese history and the Kami (although Amanda Sun does not sound like a history teacher!!). I enjoyed the part when Katie and Yuki stay with Niichan in Miyajima, visiting the Itsutushima Shrine as I thought it just brought made the story more genuine. Although I could probably carry on for pages about this book I wouldn't want a loooooonnnnngggg review to stop you from reading a clever and amazing book! Oh, the plot isn't straightforward so expect a few surprises thrown in there :-)! Definitely one I recommend you read NOW!!!!!
This book is amazing! I highly reccomend it to tween and young adults!