Title: Ink [Paper Gods #1]
Author: Amanda Sun
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.
I actually had the honour of meeting Amanda Sun at her book signing in Toronto. She was really nice, fun, a great speaker, and she got me totally pumped about her book, between the reading and the origins of the plot concept, I was ready to dive into Ink.
Although I really enjoyed this book, I felt kind of off about Katie. Where Tomohiro has a history to him, and she does everything in her power (including STALKING him) to find out about him, his past, and WHY drawings are moving whenever he’s around, we learn very little about her. After such a loss, one would suspect she’d be in mourning, or more… within herself. However, the book simply jumps right into her new life, and we learn very little about her family and what happened to them in the past. I did like her – she’s a strong protagonist – I wish there had been a little more back story and depth to her character.
Something that I wish also hadn’t been a part of the book was the insta-love. I can understand why she found him intriguing through his drawings, but this was a YA cliche I hadn’t wanted to see in this book. Also, I feel like the romance overpowered the novel’s plot, and kind of slowed everything down.
Aside from those two things, I found the setting absolutely awesome. As an Asian reader, born and raised in Canada, I rarely see a book set in an Asian country or starring an Asian character. You do not know how pleased I was with myself when I saw Jem speaking in Chinese in Clockwork Prince and UNDERSTOOD what he was saying. Then now, with Ink, I knew some of the words (thank you anime and J-drama obsession) and I was ecstatic. Amanda Sun had spent a few years in Japan studying, and that really translated into her novel when it came down to descriptions of the parks, schools, and shrines, as well as the language, in the book. I think that was one of the strongest points in the book, ’cause I felt like I was sitting in the middle of a J-drama instead of a book, and could picture everything with ease.
The concept was amazing. I loved that the ideas were drawn from Egyptian and Chinese history, as well as Japanese mythology. It really made the story unique and I was intrigued by the drawings coming alive and what the characters could do with such a power. I hope to see more of it in the second book, though, as well as a lot more action (’cause I expected way more than I got in this book…).
Something I loved about this novel, that added it it’s total specialness, were the drawings. Throughout the novel, there were drawings that illustrated the things that Tomohiro drew, and also what was happening at the time (through those little animation things where you turn the pages really fast and the pictures move (they said the technical term for it in the novel, but I kind of forgot what it was…)). I think this added to the beauty of the novel and made it more fun (:
The plot was awesome once we all got past the lovey-dovey moments (don’t get me wrong, when Tomo and Katie interacted, it was often funny and cute and I enjoyed them, but it also overpowered the story). There were Kendo fights, there were motorcycles and we got to see some action, and when it boiled down to it, the plot was definitely interesting and at time thrilling.
All in all, while I found the characters lacking, and romance overwhelming, I thing that the setting, the concept, and the plot of the novel really helped make the book come to life and made it unique and a captivating read~
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.60/5