I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ink by Amanda Sun
Published by Harlequin on 2013-06-25
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
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 himÖand 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 Japanóand 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.
Initially, I didnít really know very much about Ink but it quickly drew me in with its beautiful cover, mysterious story, and of course, the Japanese setting. Having a book with a Japanese setting was like a time-warp and reliving a part of my childhood for me. You know that part of my childhood/adolescence when I was constantly watching Japanese anime and trying to learn everything I could about the culture? Yeah, it brought me back to those days especially since the book has a very strong dramatic push-pull feel to it.
Ink is about an American girl named Katie, who has moved to Japan to live with her aunt after her motherís death. At first, she finds herself struggling as she is dealing with her motherís death, having to start over, learning a new language, and integrating herself into a new culture. Yet, slowly she is able to make some new friends, and finds a way to settle into her life. Well, that is until she discovers Tomohiro, a class jerk in high school, but someone she canít help but be drawn to. He is intriguing to her, and he holds a notebook full of moving drawings. What does that mean? As Katie discovers the secrets of the moving ink, she becomes more intertwined in Tomohiroís life. Itís dangerous but she just canít seem to stay away.
One of the things that I loved most about Ink was that it felt very authentic. As a reader when I felt like I was experiencing the Japanese culture, I really felt like I was experiencing the Japanese culture. I liked how the author Amanda Sun used her own life experiences of living in Japanese to make the story feel real. Youíve got bento lunch boxes, sakura viewings, and ramen dates. She also throws in some Japanese periodically in the book to add to the authentic feel. Donít worry; there is a glossary at the end of the book! As someone who has never been to Japan, I almost felt like I was there while reading the book, and as a reader I absolutely love when that happens.
I also enjoyed the use of Japanese mythology in the story. I admittedly donít know much about the mythology in Japan or at least what I did know from my younger years has basically been forgotten. It was interesting to learn about the Kami, and their connection to the story of Ink. I did wish that we had gotten more of an explanation as to how Katie is involved with things because it appears that she has a pretty big role in what is going on. I mean, going into the story I knew it was part of a trilogy so Iím hopeful that things will be answered in the second book but I still feel that there was a bit of a gap.
The one aspect of the story that I admittedly had a bit of trouble with was the relationship between Katie and Tomohiro. Why? Well I think in part it had to do with the fact that it felt kinda insta-love as well as obsessive love. Katie spends much of her time obsessing about Tomohiro even when he is being the biggest jerk to her. Sheís willing to drop everything just to be with him even though she doesnít really even know anything about him! Add in the fact that at one point she is basically almost stalking him, and I think you can kinda see why I have a problem with this relationship. Yes, I understand that they have some sort of a connection because of the Kami and the drawings but, at the same time I feel that the relationship could have been handled in another way making it different from your typical run of the mill paranormal YA love stories.
Overall, I guess Iím in the middle about Ink by Amanda Sun. I fell in love with the setting and the mystery of the Japanese mythology but I didnít fall in love with the love story. I do have to admit that towards the end of the book I was feeling a bit more lenient of Katie and Tomohiro being together but I do think that there is work to be done in order to make them more enjoyable for me. I do plan on reading the second book in the trilogy when it comes out but honestly it will not be a MUST HAVE read. Instead it will be more of an ďI will get to it Ö eventuallyĒ which kind of makes me sad because I do think that this trilogy as a whole has a lot of potential. Itís just for me, in the first book, it wasnít entirely reached.