Rain (Paper Gods Series #2)

Rain (Paper Gods Series #2)

by Amanda Sun

Paperback(Original ed.)

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When she first moved to Japan, American Katie Greene had no idea she would get caught in a battle between the Japanese Mafia and the supernatural forces that have governed Japan for most of its history. Despite the danger, Katie is determined to stay put. Tomohiro, the guy's she fallen in love with, is struggling—his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373211111
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 06/24/2014
Series: Paper Gods Series , #2
Edition description: Original ed.
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: HL600L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Amanda Sun was born in Deep River, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. The Paper Gods series, which includes Ink, Rain, and Storm, was inspired by her time living in Osaka and traveling throughout Japan. She is an avid video gamer and cosplayer. Visit her on the web at www.amandasunbooks.com and on twitter @Amanda_Sun.

Read an Excerpt

"Hold still," Yuki said, threading the thick obi ribbon through the back of the bow. She pulled the loops tight. "Okay, now breathe in."

I took a deep breath as Yuki shifted the bow to the center of my back, but didn't look up from my phone. "How's that?"

No messages in my inbox. "Looks great."

"You didn't even look."

"Mmm-hmm." Yuki snatched the keitai out of my hands. "Hey!"

"Ano ne," she said, an expression which meant we needed to talk. That didn't surprise me. "You're starting to look obsessed. Yuu will call you; I'm sure of it. You don't want to be the needy girlfriend, right?"

I didn't say anything. How could I? Yuki didn't know that not being able to get ahold of Tomohiro could mean the Yakuza had him, or the Kami had kidnapped him, or that Tomo had drowned in an ocean of his own sketching. The Kami, descendants of the Shinto goddess Amaterasu, could make ink come alive on the page, although the power came with its own curse—a plague of nightmares and threats, scars carved by the claws and talons of their own feral drawings.

It had been two weeks since I'd almost left Japan, since the revelation that Tomo was one of the most dangerous Kami alive. Takahashi Jun, Tomo's kendo rival and the leader of the Kami in Shizuoka, said he hadn't seen anyone as powerful in a long time and wanted him as a weapon to help destroy the Yakuza. He also said that somehow, I was making it worse. I was making the ink in the sketches do strange and deadly things. Tomo lost control when I was around, his eyes vacant and his nightmares worse.

How? I couldn't be a Kami. I was blond…and more importantly, not Japanese. But whether Jun was right or not, after watching Tomo's sketched gun go off and put his best friend, Ishikawa, in the hospital, I knew the ink wasn't something to play around with.

It could've been Tomo in the hospital.

It could've been me.

Yuki grinned and sidestepped, pulling the sleeves of my yukata straight. "Now look," she commanded. I looked.

The summer kimono made me look elegant, the soft yellow fabric draped around me like an origami dress. Pink cherry blossoms floated down the woven material, which Yuki had complemented by lending me her pink obi belt to tie around my waist.


"It's beautiful," I said. "Thank you."

She grinned, smoothing her soft blue yukata with her hands.

"Yuu is a jerk for not calling," she said. "But let's forget about that. It's Abekawa Hanabi festival, and you're still here with us. So let's go celebrate!"

Was he being a jerk? I hadn't been able to get ahold of him since deciding to stay. It didn't make sense, unless he was in trouble. Or avoiding me, in which case he'd clearly learned nothing from the first attempt to scare me away and I would pound him into tomorrow.

But it didn't matter if he was avoiding me. Sooner or later, I'd have to get in touch with him. Because as much as I'd wanted to stay in Japan to be with him, the real reason was that I wanted control of my life. I was connected to the ink, and I belonged here. IfJun was right, Tomohiro was a ticking time bomb, and I was the only one who could defuse him.

It was hard to believe Jun was a Kami, too, one of the many secret descendants of the goddess Amaterasu. Most weren't powerful enough to bring their sketches to life off the page, but Jun and Tomo could. I remembered how cold Jun's eyes had been as he'd talked about using Tomohiro as a weapon to wage war on the Yakuza, the Japanese gangsters who'd tried to force Tomo into their ranks. Jun had wanted Tomo to kill the Yakuza boss, Hanchi, and had talked about ruling the country the way the ancient kami once had. Did he really mean all that? He'd seemed so normal before—charming even—when we'd walked to school together. And he'd saved us from the Yakuza with his sketched army of snakes. Sometimes it was hard to know what lay beneath the surface of someone you thought you knew.

Which I guess was the case with Tomohiro, too.

My aunt Diane entered my room, carrying a tray of glasses filled with cold black-bean tea. The ice clinked against the sides as she set them down. A pink spray of flowers unfurled in a corner of the tray.

"Don't you girls look beautiful?" she said. "Katie, here. I picked this up for you on my way home." She lifted the spray of pink flowers off the tray, the little plastic buds swaying back and forth on pink strings. She tucked it into the twist of blond hair Yuki had helped me pin into place.

"Kawaii," Yuki grinned. "You look so cute!" I turned a little red. They were fussing too much.

"You, too," I said, trying to get the focus off me. I was the wrong shape for the yukata—too tall, too blonde, too awkward. Yuki looked stunning in hers. "We should get going."

"You should," Diane said. "I think Tanaka's starting to sweat a little out there."

Yuki took a gulp of tea and slid the door to my room open to find Tanaka waiting in shorts and a T-shirt.

"You guys are taking forever," he said. "Can we go now?"

"Let's go," I said, the long yellow sleeves tangling around my wrists as I slipped on flip-flops—no chance of finding geta sandals for my American-size feet—and shoved my phone into a drawstring bag.

"You look cute," Tanaka said.

"So do you," Yuki said, and she stuck her tongue out at him while he turned red. She grabbed my hand and we headed out the door.

"Itterasshai!" Diane called after us.

Go and come back safely.

The only word Tomo had written in the farewell note he'd pressed into my hands, the one with the moving ink rose that had sent me tripping over my own feet to catch Diane at the Narita Express platform before she left the airport. The goodbye that had made me stay in Japan.

Tanaka pushed the button for the elevator.

Jun had said we didn't know what Tomohiro was capable of. We'll find out together, Tomo had answered.

It didn't make sense. Why would he push me away again now, when I was so determined to help?

The light was fading outside as we stepped into the heat. It was the last week of summer holidays, before school started for the second semester, and the hot weather wasn't going to give up easily. We clattered down the street in our geta and flip-flops, hopping onto the local train for Abekawa Station.

"We're gonna be late," whined Tanaka.

"It's fine," Yuki said. "We'll still make good time for the fireworks."

The train lurched around the corner and I tried not to press into Tanaka's side.

"If the takoyakis all gone by the time we get there, I'll blame you."

"How would that even happen?" I said. "They won't run out."

"Right?" Yuki agreed. "Tan-kun, you and your stomach."

By the time the train pulled into Abekawa the sun had blinked off the horizon. We stumbled through the musty train air toward the music and sounds of crowds.

It felt like all of Shizuoka was here, the sidewalks packed with festivalgoers while dancers in happi coats paraded down the street. Lanterns swung from floats and street signs glowed, and over everything we could hear about three different songs competing for attention above the crowded roads. It was a little claustrophobic, sure, but filled with life.

"What should we do first?" Yuki shouted, but I could barely hear her. She grabbed my hand and we pressed through the thick crowd toward a takoyaki stand. Tanaka rubbed his hands together as the vendor doused the battered balls of octopus meat with mayonnaise.

"Anything's fine with me," I said. Translation: no idea.

"I'm good, too, now that I have my takoyaki," Tanaka said. "Want one?" The bonito flakes on the hot batter shriveled as if they were alive.

"Um, maybe later."

Yuki grabbed the spare toothpick from Tanaka's container and stabbed a takoyaki, taking a chewy bite. "We should try to get a good spot for fireworks soon, though," she said through the mouthful. "The bridge over Abe River would be best."

"We have lots of time, right?" She'd mentioned them about five times on the train, too. "What's the big deal about the fireworks?" I mean, I loved them as much as anyone, but now who was the one obsessing?

Yuki pulled me over, whispering in my ear. Her breath was hot and smelled of the fishy batter.

"Because," she breathed, "if you watch the fireworks with someone special, you're destined to be with them forever."

"Oh." Jeez, I could be so stupid. So this was some big scheme for her and Tanaka. "Do you want space or something?"

"No, no!" She waved her hand frantically. "Not like that. Let's stick together, okay?"

"Sure," I said. Like she'd tell me if that was the plan anyway. One thing I'd learned living in Japan was that sometimes it was hard to get a straightforward answer out of someone. They found it too direct, something that could make others feel uncomfortable. It was something I was trying to work on, another in my list of gazillions of daily cultural mistakes.

We rounded the corner to two rows of brightly lit tents.

All the thick, fatty smells of festival foods filled the air. Fried chicken, fried squid, steaming sweet-potato fries, roasted corn, strawberry and melon kakigori ice. My stomach rumbled and I moved forward, heading for the baked sweet potatoes. I handed over the yen and pocketed the change. Then I pulled back the aluminum foil to take a bite, the steam flooding my mouth. Beside me, kids dipped red plastic ladles into a water table while an old motor whirred little plastic toys round and round. The toys bobbed in and out of the ladles while the kids shrieked with excitement.

A flash of color caught my eye, and I turned. I strained to hear a sound above the music and chatter of the crowd, but I could hear it—faintly. The tinkle of the colorful furin, the delicate glass wind chimes that Tomohiro had sketched into the tree in Toro Iseki.

Across from me, the furin booth glowed with electric light, catching on the gleaming chimes as they twirled in the night breeze.

"Hello," the vendor greeted me in English, but it barely registered as I stepped into the tent. Almost a hundred chimes hung suspended around me in a rainbow of glittering colors, spinning above my head in neat rows. Tomo's had been black-and-white, like all his sketches, but they'd held the same magic, the same chorus that my ears could never forget. These sounded happier, though—his had been melancholy, the tones haunting and ominous, a sort of beautiful discord.

"You like the furin?" the vendor smiled. He had a kind, worn face and the early beginnings of a gray beard.

"They're beautiful."

"The sound of summer, ne? The sound of possibility." I reached out, cradling a glass furin in my hand. Possibility. "Yuki-chan, look—" I turned.

I'd lost her to the crowd.

Panic started to rise up in my throat. She wasn't one to abandon me on purpose. Even if she did want alone time with Tanaka, I knew she wouldn't leave me stranded.

It wasn't like I couldn't get home safely. Taking trains around Shizuoka wasn't a big deal for me anymore. Festivals just weren't as fun by yourself, and the loneliness stung a little. I clutched my fingers tighter around the furin.

"You looking for someone?" the man asked.

"I'm okay," I said, releasing the furin and stepping back into the darkness between the bright tents. I pulled out my keitai, ready to call Yuki, and then stopped with my finger on the button. Why was I so worried? I'd been in Japan long enough that being lost in a crowd didn't have to be a big deal. I could communicate and get around. Anyway, Yuki had wanted time alone with Tanaka, right? She'd always done so much for me, helping me with my Japanese and smoothing out my cultural blunders. I should do something for her, even something little like this.

I slipped my phone back into my bag and pulled the drawstring tight. I watched some plastic toys whir around the water table a little longer before I strolled down the row of tents.

I stared at the different festival games interspersed with food stalls. Eel scooping, pet bugs, yoyo tsuri balloons on strings floating in tiny blow-up kiddie pools. I finished my sweet potato, balling up the aluminum with a satisfying crunch. In the next tent a pool of goldfish darted around, slipping out of the way of the paper paddles dipped into the water to catch them. I watched the fish swim for a minute, their scales shining under the hot buzzing lamps of the tent. The paper paddles broke and kids shouted in dismay, while the vendor gave a good-natured laugh.

I shuffled closer to the tent as the group of kids left, a teen couple the only ones left trying to catch a fish. The girl trailed a goldfish slowly with the paddle, her movements deliberate and cautious, her giggle rising when the fish caught on and sped away. She crouched on the ground beside the pool, paddle in one hand and bowl in the other, her red-and-gold yukata crinkling around her geta sandals.

And then I realized I knew this girl.

The pregnant bump of her stomach under the light cotton of the yukata.

And the boy beside her. Tomohiro.

Not kidnapped. Not falling apart. Not dead.

Scooping goldfish with Shiori.

I stepped back. He hadn't noticed me yet, the two of them laughing as Shiori tried to maneuver another fish into her bowl.

I knew he was here with Shiori as a friend, supporting her. He wouldn't give up on us that fast, like we didn't matter at all. Maybe that was the attitude he portrayed at school, but I knew better. After a sketching accident had left his elementary-school friend Koji almost blind, he'd decided to keep his distance from everyone, except his childhood friend Shiori, and now me. Shiori had been abandoned to the cruel bullying that came with being pregnant at her prestigious school. Tomo knew what it was like to be alone. That's all this was.

But it still bothered me. I had to admit they made a cute pair. Seeing the closeness between them, seeing Tomohiro smile at another girl like that…I felt stupid suddenly, tall and ugly and awkward in my borrowed yukata.

Maybe Tomohiro wasn't as dangerous as Jun had led me to believe. He seemed normal enough squatting beside Shiori, his eyes following the goldfish, that smile on his face. He wore jeans and a dark T-shirt, the usual thick wristband around his right wrist. I could still imagine the ink stains streaking up his arms, the scars hidden on the inside curve of his skin, but in the evening darkness there was no trace of what had happened. He looked so…normal.

Maybe staying in Japan had been the wrong choice. What if staying away from Tomo really did give him the ability to rein in his powers? Maybe the Kami didn't need me—maybe he didn't need me.

"Yatta!" Shiori shouted. "I did it!" The fish had slipped from her paddle into the bowl. The vendor laughed and reached for a plastic bag to fill with water.

"Yatta ne," Tomohiro grinned, reaching his fingers into the bowl to chase the fish.

I stepped back and my flip-flop scraped against the street. Tomohiro and Shiori looked up.

I stared at Tomohiro's dark eyes. They were unreadable, the smile slipping from his face as he stared back. They weren't cold like Jun's had been, not at all. They were warm, surprised, deep. I couldn't look away, like prey. I felt ridiculous.

Shiori stood up, a hand on her belly. "It couldn't be…Katie-chan? Is that right?" Tomohiro stayed crouched on the ground, unable to move.

I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. I didn't want her using chan with me, labeling me a friend. It was a closeness that felt stifling, that only made me aware I didn't really belong. Tomo had fallen seamlessly back into his life with her, as if I'd never existed.

"I thought you returned to America?" Shiori said.

"Canada," I said. My throat felt sticky and dry.

Customer Reviews

Rain 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
kcody03 More than 1 year ago
Danger and romance combine to make a thrilling sequel.  Just like the first book we are given a lot of detail about modern Japan, which is one of my favorite parts of this series. We really get a good look at the different cultures and how Katie learns to interact with her surroundings. In this one we get to see a festival and even my favorite activity catching fish! I like how this author can add all of this detail in without making the pacing to slow or seeming forced. In fact this book starts out with a bit of a bang.  Katie was doing great in the first book learning how to better fit in, however with new threats and rivals its becoming a lot harder. In this book we get to see a bit more of a vulnerable side to Katie as she makes mistake after mistake. It was understandable though considering everything on her plate. It also made the differences between her and Tomo really come to light.  Aside from the threats against them their relationship is still heating up. There are definitely some differences in dating with an American girl and Japanese boy. The author brings some of these issues up in a way that not only helps to move their relationship along, but add to the overall story line.  Tomo is doing his best to combat the Ink's power, but it seems like the harder he tries to resist, the worse it gets. He really is a great hero with a lot of heart, but also a lot of issues. I liked getting to see more of his background in this book and why he is the way he is.  This book is action packed and as the danger escalates its hard to tell just who is friend and foe.  I highly recommend this amazing sequel to the Ink series. If you are a fan of paranormal romance and/or Japanese culture this is one story you won't want to miss!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down!! Another great book and continuation of romance, mythology and culture!! Love, loved it!!
Adriyanna More than 1 year ago
When the first book in a series is a 5-star read, there’s always the fear that the sequel won’t live up to the same expectations. I’m happy to say I loved Rain even more than Ink! Our two main characters, Katie and Tomohiro are finding new conflicts to solve almost everyday, and at that more types (which will be explained below). This novel definitely represents the title: it’s raining ink! As I mentioned, Katie and Tomohiro have a lot of problems to solve – both on a large and small scale. There’s the main one – trying to find a way to control the ink in Tomo while avoiding the Kami, all with dangerous agendas of their own. However, there’s also the relationship of Katie and Tomohiro. The two are officially dating, but it’s not exactly peaches-and-cream. I find situations like this incredibly intriguing because of the decisions the characters choose to make. Depending on who you ask, the point of a novel is to have a protagonist in an undesirable situation. Every one of their actions will have a ripple effect and it’s up to that character to decide if that effect will be positive or negative. Basically, when the going gets tough how does that character overcome it. I love Sun’s writing! There’s something about it that appears visually beautiful to me, even graceful. Sun always makes a point to immerse the reader in Japanese culture and language. The opening chapter of this book has Katie and Yuki, a friend from school, getting ready for the Abekawa Hanabi festival and it was wonderful to imagine the beautiful yukata (summer kimono) Katie was wearing and all the activities going on. I’ve always wanted to travel to Japan so these are the kind of things I yearn to read. Sun also includes Japanese phrases which both introduces the reader to the language but also helps the reader remember for the majority of the novel, the characters are speaking Japanese. Now that we’re on the subject, although Katie’s Japanese is improving there are still some challenges ahead. Since she’s decided to stay in Japan indefinitely her teachers are harder on her about improving her kanji (Japanese writing) which even native speakers can find difficult to read. As well, the language barrier between Tomohiro and Katie remains. Something as simple as “ow, ouch” Katie finds difficult to translate from English, which really puts things in perspective. I feel the plot has grown immensely from Ink, and we see more of the mythology – which is a huge plus in my book because I live for fantasy! It seemed like there was some new twist revealed on almost every other chapter. Additionally, the characters are traveling more in order to resolve some of their problems. Not only are we reading about other parts of Shizuoka, but we’re visiting shrines and even Mount Fuji. Sun is showing different parts of Japan while still adhering to the plot. For delving deeper into the fantastical elements of The Paper Gods world and having the protagonists face greater obstacles, I give this book five stars. There are some epic fight scenes that have me speculating just how much more outstanding the finale of this series will be. I’m impatiently awaiting for the chance to read Storm (book #3). I strongly recommend this series to anyone wanting to read powerful writing and diverse characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in.
janec0614 More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued by the beautiful cover art at the store and automatically decided to buy it. As it was a spontaneous purchase, I did not realize it was part of a series, of which I did not read the previous books. But i decided to just read it anyway because I was too excited to wait--and I LOVED it. I was still able to follow along with the book even without reading the series opener, which was a relief. The romance scenes between Tomo and Katie are so unbelievably cute and sappy, which I love. Just the little details made my heart flutter, reminding of me of what it feels like to be so attracted to and in so much love with someone. (Both Tomo and Katie are so sexually frustrated, it is hilarious!!) I liked that the author described the setting so well, to the point where I could imagine myself in Japan myself. I was worried that I would have to keep flipping back to the glossary to look up the Japanese phrases, which would be a hassle. Thankfully, I already knew some of the phrases and the author immediately translated the important phrases into English, so there was so need to look them up in the back. The whole "ink-coming-to-life" plot is, to be completely honest, cliché--but nevertheless, Amanda Sun made it work in a unique way. The torment within Tomo was so hauntingly beautiful, yet so sad that it brought me to tears, especially near the climax of the novel. The book was such a page-turner that I couldn't put it down--I finished it in just a few hours. I can't wait for the next book! (I hope there is a next book.........?) Meanwhile, I am gonna go buy and read Book #1 and #2! I highly recommend this book!!!
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
I want to thank Harlequin Teen for providing me with an early copy of this book to read for an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review. When I received Ink at BEA last year, I wasn't sure what I would think about it. So I just jumped right in and hoped it would be something I would enjoy. And I'm so glad I did. So you can imagine I've been waiting for this book to be in my hands for a while. I was so excited when I was able to get a copy to read because while the first book did not end in a cliff hanger that had me chomping at the bit, I really needed to know what happened next in the story. If you haven't read Ink, then stop! This review may contain spoilers. So you've been forewarned! The story picks up pretty much where Ink left off. Katie is supposed to leave and go back to Canada to live with her grandparents, but she changes her mind and decides Japan is where she needs to be. I'm glad she decided to stay. I needed to see what would happen if she continued to be around Tomor, how the Ink would react, and how he would react to it. Katie continues to be a strong character. I love that she just can't keep away from Tomo, no matter how much she knows he may be a danger to her. Her bond to him is too strong to break. But that doesn't mean she's not somewhat scared of him. She's very curious about her own link to the Ink, though, and Tomo seems to be her connection to that. And Katie has so much more on her plate, now. She's been through so much with the Kami. And every thing she does in Rain puts her in more and more danger. But she is determined to get to the bottom of her connection with the Ink. Tomo, he's so broken and hopeless. He knows he is Kami and there is nothing he can do about it. He knows he is not good for Katie, but he can't keep himself from loving her and wanting to be with her. No matter how much he pushes her away, they always end up back together. But the ink is taking over and he's becoming more and more erratic. He's also losing himself to it and it's affecting his relationship with everyone around him. He can't decide if he should draw or not draw, which would help him counter his reaction to the ink? Enter Jun, who obviously has his own thing for Katie. But she is not sure if she should trust him with her secrets, even though he seems to be genuine about his concern for her and Tomo. Honestly, I didn't now whether or not to trust him and I still don't! He seems to have a good heart, with good intentions, but there's something missing in the way he goes about interacting with Katie. Finally we have Shiori. I can honestly say I'm just not a fan. And I'm sure Sun meant for me to feel that way. She's very selfish and obviously in love with Tomo. He does everything to help her feel wanted, but he is honest in telling her that he doesn't want anymore with her. But she can't accept this and taunts Katie with the fact that she believes she's not good for Tomo, that she can't give Tomo what he needs because she is American and doesn't understand him culturally. I wanted to slap her most of the book (even though she's pregnant) and had absolutely NO sympathy for her whatsoever. As with Ink, Sun's writing is, well, WOW. I really enjoyed how she was able to describe Japan. I've never been there, but I can really picture the places she describes in my mind. And the romantic moments and action moments and all other moments in the book had me running right along with the characters. I could feel their emotions: their fear, their love, their confusion. I think my favorite part of the book was Jun's development. You see so much more of him in this book. And the twist you learn about his character makes you understand all his actions during the first and the second books. Some people who read this did not like the re-introduction of the love triangle we saw in the first book. Personally, I saw it as a necessary evil. When Jun's intentions are finally revealed in the end, it makes sense that Sun needed to have him close to Kate. Like Ink, I really enjoyed this book. I have to say that the beginning was fast but it did have a dip of action and slowing down of pace in the middle. This didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book, though. Sun is able to infuse Japanese culture in a way that makes you understand it and doesn't overwhelm you. The romance is nice as it's not overdone. The interactions between Katie and Tomo are real and genuine. The paranormal element, like in Ink, is so different than any other paranormal you might read. Overall a great sequel to the story which left me wanting more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago