Series: Paper Gods #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 5th, 2013
Genres: paranormal, young adult
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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 don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Ink hasn’t exactly been getting great reviews. Most of my blogger friends have completely disliked it, and so I expected I would too since I usually agree with the masses. But honestly, I think a lot of the criticism it’s getting is kind of unwarranted. Yeah, it’s not a perfect book, and yeah, there are some things I didn’t love, and yeah, parts of it feel overwritten, but overall I did enjoy it for what it was.
To me, Ink had an incredibly original storyline, and that’s where the book shone the most. Not in the characters (those needed work), not in the writing (cuz man some of that was awkward and choppy), but the story. The bleeding ink. The way it came to life, and the creepiness of the drawings and the way the plot unfolded. That’s what was awesome. And the atmosphere. The settings were incredibly well-written and the imagery was spot on. The Japanese settings really came to life, and the book was incredibly well-researched and it shows. The author lived in Japan for a while ( I was fortunate enough to meet her at BEA) and talked a bit about her writing process. Point is, it really FEELS Japanese.
I had a hard time warming up to the characters though, and that’s why I say they needed work, as they weren’t particularly likable. Towards the end I did like Katie a bit more. But through most of the book she was weak and let things happen to her as opposed to making things happen. I did like how she talked back to Tomohiro when he was being a jerk, which brings me to my next issue. Tomohiro. Like ugh. I didn’t get the interest or why this character was written this way. Not the worst love interest in YA by any means, but the guy was completely a dick. He had his reasons, of course, but I wasn’t entirely convinced. And…I didn’t particularly believe in the chemistry between him and Katie. I wanted her with the other guy. Not that there is a love triangle, because there isn’t–at least not at this point. But there was another male character that did have an interest in Katie. I liked him better.
Then there were the opinions of the characters in the book I did not actually agree with. Which I can’t really talk about due to spoilers, but let’s just say that the way the plot unraveled towards the end disappointed me a little. Katie and Tomohiro run away from people trying to help them escape from another group of people that are absolutely evil, and the choices the MC made do not agree with my ethics. My fictional ethics, I guess. But something about the way it happened did not sit right with me and so I was a little less impressed with the book at that point. And considering this was pretty close to the end, it did affect the way I felt about the book overall. Up until that point, Ink was pretty close to a 4 star rating, but the way it wrapped up left me feeling underwhelmed.
But. I did like it enough to continue, because the uniqueness of the story, the setting, and the possibility for a really exciting book two have me anxious to push on. There is some great Japanese culture in this series, and the opportunity for me to learn as I read is high which is always an exciting prospect for me. I just hope the technical issues in the writing are ironed out as some of the dialogue was pretty choppy and it definitely could have used some more transitions and better flow. Some of the syntax was odd. I would not have structured some of the sentences the way the author did, and her word choices had me raising a couple of eyebrows in confusion. But overall, a pretty solid effort and debut from Amanda Sun.