BOOK REVIEW: Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun.

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)Title: Ink
Author: Amanda Sun
Genre: Young Adult 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 25th June 2013
Goodreads Summary: 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.

{ Review } 

Ink is about Katie Greene, an American girl living in Japan with her aunt after the tragic death of her mother. Prior to moving to Japan she knew absolutely no Japanese and, with her blonde hair, she couldnt stick out any more at school. She accidentally walks in on a messy break up between two of her classmates, one of them being Tomohiro, the schools kendo champ and all round bad-ass and hes not happy that she was there during this private moment. Katie catches a glimpse of some of the work in Tomohiros notebook and is convinced that she saw the drawing move. At first she thinks shes going crazy, but then her own doodles attempt to attack her in class and then her pen explodes and she looks up to see Tomohiro standing outside her classroom door. Determined to find out what Tomohiros secret is, Katie starts following Tomohiro but bites off more than she can chew and it turns out that she is an integral part to Tomohiros involvement in the mystery of the seemingly magic ink.

I havent read a lot of YA fiction that is set in places other than America and Britain so it was really refreshing to read something set in a world so far away with a culture so different. Right from the very beginning of this novel, you are sucked into the authentic Japanese setting as the author frequently uses Japanese words in her writing, especially in dialogue. There is a handy glossary at the back of the book which lists all the common phrases that are repeated throughout the book which are very helpful, though, I didnt discover this until Id finished reading the book so the glossary is more of an added bonus really. Being half Chinese, half English, myself, I completely understand how Katie feels about living in a country where you’re singled out as the foreignerand her narrative feels so real and is so believable. I liked that this book didnt skip out on the fact that Katie obviously wasnt completely integrated into Japanese society and people did treat her differently and this added to the general authenticoriental feel that was running through the book.

The chemistry between the characters of Katie and Tomohiro is electric. There is no insta-love in this novel and you see a real relationship develop between the pair before anything really romanticactually happens. Plus, as always with oriental stories, even a hug is a big deal so progress is slow but yourself slowly falling in love with these characters as the book progresses just as they fall in love with each other. Although there is romance in this novel, it doesnt take over the story. The major plot line is about Tomohiros drawing abilities and the romance weaves in and out with this, running parallel to this main story line throughout.

Although this book has a beautiful cover, the story within is actually quite dangerous. Amanda Sun has somehow managed to combine danger and beauty in this story with the two beautifully integrated. This means that there is also lots of action in this novel and I could see it appealing to YA boys as well as girls. This book definitely has darker themes running through it with criminal organizations and Gods but nothing is overly unrealistic as the Kami (Gods) are based on real Japanese myths which is fascinating.

This book will no doubt be a fascinating read for any foreigners who are interested in Oriental culture. This book has action, romance and suspense and I imagine it appealing to all teenage readers, though adults would probably enjoy it too. The author has weaved both history and culture into this fictional story in such a way that you believe that the world she has created is real. All in all, I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to all. A large portion of this book is dedicated to finding out about Tomohiros gift and this book has set itself up nicely for several sequel novels which I look forward to reading.

p.s. For all you Brits out there - best of luck for exam results! I hope everyone has made it into their desired university/got the grades they wanted :D

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  1. I also found it very fascinating to have the book set in Japan. All that culture made the story very different than any YA i've read. I enjoyed it.

  2. I liked that this was set in Japan too, it made it quite different


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