Series: Paper Gods #1
Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on July 25, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, 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.
Ink drew me in with its beautiful cover, the mysterious ink story and Japanese setting. I love everything to do with Japan, and in a sea of YA paranormal books, Ink definitely stood out as one of the most anticipated reads for me.
Ink is about an American girl called Katie, who has moved to Japan following her mother’s death. She finds herself having to start over, making new friends, learning the language and integrating herself into the culture. She also discovers an intriguing, mysterious boy called Tomohiro who holds a notebook full of moving drawings. He’s a jerk in high school, yet when she follows him, discovers that he has a softer side about him. As Katie discovers the secret behind the moving ink and becomes more wound up in Tomohiro’s life, she becomes endangered yet can’t stay away.
I’m absolutely torn about my thoughts on Ink. On one side, we get to experience the beautiful and unique Japanese culture. With the bento lunch boxes, Kendo class, sakura viewings and ramen dates, it feels like we’re experiencing how it is as a teenager in Japan. The author uses her own life experiences living in Japan and integrates some Japanese into the book. It feels very authentic, reminiscent of a manga or Japanese drama in the way the characters are a little ‘out there’ and interact with each other. I can see how those who aren’t used to Japanese culture may find it a bit difficult to get into, especially where the Japanese is used here and there (the glossary at the back comes useful here).
There’s also the interesting vein of Japanese mythology and Kami who are minor gods worshipped in Japanese culture. Tomohiro’s drawings come to life and Katie is the catalyst, and I found it frustrating that we didn’t get the explanation to why, an obvious lead off to a sequel.
Amongst the amazing Japanese setting, what we essentially get for the bulk of the story, is a run of the mill, instant love paranormal story here. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, experience some challenges where it’s dangerous to stay together and essentially choose to follow their hearts. There’s a lot of eye rolling blushing and red faces going on here, along with obsessing about the boy, gushing and dropping absolutely everything just for him. Katie even spends a good portion of her time stalking Tomohiro as well! Tomohiro was ambivalent the whole way through, he’ll be an extreme jerk on one hand and then be a warm, loving protective guy on the other. Katie is your typical boy obsessed, immature girl who would put being with this boy over being honest to her family and even her own livelihood.
Overall, if you are tolerant of Japanese/asian dramas or manga and anime, then I think you’d be able to look over the nuances in this book and enjoy the Japanese setting. If you really can’t stand the whole sappy instant love romance thing, even in favour of the amazing Japanese setting, then I encourage you to give this a miss.
I received this book from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5