June 24, 2013

Latest Read: Ink

Here are the basics ...
Ink (Paper Gods, #1) by Amanda Sun
Publication date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Category: Young Adult - Paranormal
Source: Received ARC at BEA (Thanks!)

Summary: On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world to live with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan. 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. 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: What drew me to Ink immediately was all the Japanese culture. It's rare to find YA books that take place in Asia and I was excited to see where Amanda Sun would take her story. We're introduced to Katie who has been uprooted to Shizouka, Japan to live with her aunt. She's slowly learning the language (which was super impressive to me!), their traditions (like taking her shoes off when entering a building or not immediately using a person's first name because that's too familiar) and the food (is it silly that I kind of want a bento box to pack my lunch in?). The author did a great job of researching and incorporating all these little nuances and I felt like I was learning everything alongside Katie. It was especially amusing to see how relationships typically unfold in Japan and some of the sweetest moments were between Katie and the star of her school's kendo team, Tomohiro.

Katie and Tomohiro are the two main protagonists and they're the kind that have to grow on you. But I assure you, they will. At first, I thought Katie seemed crazy and her initial actions made me want to shake some sense into her. But as the book progresses, she goes through a transformation. She starts to embrace life in Japan and makes better decisions. She's someone who demands answers and truth and while I may not have liked her methods at times, I respected her curiosity and desire to know. I had a similar reaction to Tomohiro. Arrogant, cold, and infuriating - I seriously wanted to know what his problem was. Then the different layers of his character are revealed and beneath the surface is someone who feels scared and unsure of who he really is.

The major conflict and why these two characters are thrown together in the first place has to do with Tomohiro's drawings. They move and not only does Katie discover this but the ink in his drawings react to her. They don't know how or why but it's dangerous for them both. All they know is that Tomohiro is connected to the ancient Japanese gods and much of the book is spent learning the extent of his powers. But there are other people who are aware of Tomohiro's abilities, which raises the danger level as well. The latter half of Ink was filled with action and secrets unveiled and that's when I felt genuinely hooked.

(Some) reservations: The beginning was a little slow and since it focused on introducing the main characters, who I felt iffy on, I wasn't sure how I felt about the book overall. It took me a while to get into it but once the book hit its stride and dove into the heart of the story, I enjoyed it a lot more. Also, while Katie and Tomohiro's relationship was one of the highlights of the book, it's not without some faults. I thought their feelings were a bit too intense, too quickly but I was invested in them and was willing to overlook it.

Do I recommend?: Despite the slow start and my initial misgivings, the story is an engaging one and I think it's a good introduction into the series. There's just the right amount of answers to feel satisfied but also enough questions to want to know what will happen next. If you're curious about Japanese culture and want a (light) paranormal story, check this out.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm about 8 chapters into this one and for the first 3 or 4 chapters I was NOT impressed. But it's slowly starting to grow on me and I'm finding myself more intrigued by the drawings! I definitely LOVE the setting though!

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  2. I'm just starting this one now, so it's nice to hear that it does get better past that slow beginning! I'm struggling a little right now, so I'm going to push through it and hope for the best :)

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  3. You know that I loved Ink! I wasn't too keen on Katie at the start, and I'm still not sure if their relationship (Katie + Tomo) is one that will last but... it's just really good. So anime!

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