Rain by Amanda Sun Review: Kami Gods descend on Tokyo

August 25, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Rain by Amanda Sun Review: Kami Gods descend on TokyoRain by Amanda Sun
Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on July 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Mythology, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository
Add to Goodreads

American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

A wonderful Japanese setting coupled with a rich exploration of Japanese mythology about Kami, Rain was an excellent sequel of Ink. I love how the Paper Gods series brings the rich and vibrant Japanese culture to life. It interchanges the language into the dialogue which is never difficult to pick up, talks about wearing traditional yukata, having bento boxes for lunch and living in traditional guest rooms with tatami mats. Japan is one of my favourite places, and the culture and traditions felt authentic.

Rain focuses more centrally on the Kami mythology, with Katie and Tomohiro struggling to understand the effects of the ink which seems to be spiraling out of control. Tomo’s loose grip on his powers bring about some pretty epic scenes, where a whole festival explodes in a rain of ink and he keeps on succumbing to the dark side during kendo. The two have a tumultuous relationship, as they try and work through their issues with his powers which only seem to get worse with Katie around. I was swept up in the beautiful mythology and the paintings sprinkled throughout the paperback, as Katie explores the origins of the Kami and her own past.

Maybe there was a dangerous Kami lurking in Tomohorio, but there was a beauty living in him, too. His sketches left me breathless sometimes. That dark cloud of butterflies for one, the wagtails and plum blossoms, and the furin chimes. 

Compared to the first book, Katie was a lot less annoying and more mature, as she is focused on helping Tomohiro overcome his dangerous Ink powers as a Kami, and finding out about her own powers. I liked how she shared her struggles of being a foreigner in Japan, such as the difficulty of picking up the language, learning kanji, and of needing to ‘read between the lines’ when it came to emotions. These cultural differences could only be pinpointed by someone who had experienced the culture first hand, and the author having been in Katie’s situation captured it in a candid way. She still continues her stalker tendencies though by turning up to Jun’s school now on then to find out more about the Kami.

The romance leaves a lot to be desired, as it succumbs to cliche elements throughout the novel. There’s a love triangle with Jun, the bad boy and enemy to her boyfriend which she sneaks around with and keeps a secret, and the interfering jealous girl. Katie and Tomo also decide they need to stay away from each other so their powers don’t hurt each other, even though their feelings are strong. Both Jun and Tomo have their own complex stories, which made them interesting love interests. I couldn’t see or feel why they would be attracted to Katie though, and the novel doesn’t really show us this.

Jun was a calm lake; Tomo was a waterfall. And I was the water, swept every which way, unable to shape myself into what I wanted.

I enjoyed the friendship angle here with Katie building authentic relationships with her friends Tanaka and Yuki, who helped her with her study struggles and stood by her.

epiloguepink

Rain was an improvement over Ink as it explored the mythological aspects of Kami and had some pretty epic scenes with drawings coming to life. While the relationship aspect of the book felt contrived, this series captures the beauty and the authenticity of living in Japan, which I really enjoyed. A great cultural YA novel covering the beautiful culture of Japan, coupled with rich, beautiful Japanese mythology.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I received a review copy from Harlequin Australia in exchange for an honest review.

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

Latest posts by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence (see all)

Tags: , , , ,


45 responses to “Rain by Amanda Sun Review: Kami Gods descend on Tokyo

  1. Fab review love! So excited this worked for you, I really enjoyed INK so I'm really chuffed that Rain is getting such good reviews. Can't wait to read it!

  2. Fantastic review, Jeann!

    I agree that Rain was quite amazing with the mythology and the fantastic descriptions of the Japanese culture and language and the whole issue with Katie feeling more at home but still feeling very much foreign where the highlights of the book for me.

    I was very disappointed once again with all the romance drama and triangles and cuadrangles and the like… I might be showing my age and my emotional state right now, but it all buggered me to no end and made me roll my eyes madly!
    Pili recently posted…Friday Reads: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre!!My Profile

  3. Unfortunately I didn't really like this book, however I' glad you enjoyed it! In saying that, though, what I did manage to enjoy about these books was the very rich culture that the author portrayed — it was brilliant. I wish there was more of foreign cultures in YA fiction. There's just so much fantastic mythology which I think would make wonderful novels. 🙂
    Kara @ Diary of a Te recently posted…Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine AngeliniMy Profile

  4. I can't believe that I've yet to read this series! I recognised the cover so clearly, as I remember gushing over the watercolours but for some reason, I've always put it off. But perhaps now this goes straight onto the TBR. I was perusing the bookstore the other day and only then did I realise that Kagawa blurbed this (which is saying something, am I right?) Great review, Jeann!

  5. Sadly I haven't seen it much in bookstores, it was only in once last year at my local Dymocks. I love asian mythology because it's so deep. Thanks Emily, I bet the language elements in the book would bring it back hehe!

  6. I can totally see what you mean Nick, the girl is all over the place with the romance and can be frustrating at times. I know what you mean about being over a love triangle hehe. Thank you!

  7. Yeah, I think I wanted to read it because of the beautiful cover and being set in Japan so the first wasn't my favourite. I need to read Crane Wife as well, especially with Patrick Ness's amazing writing. HAHA there is no YA without love triangles unfortunately 🙁

  8. I know, there are beautiful illustrations in the book as well which I forgot to put up! YES that's why I read the book, if you go in it to read about Japan and mythology you will love it 😀

  9. That's exactly why this series should be hyped more, the history and mythology in it is amazing – and there are many beautiful watercolour illustrations within the book. Glad to hear you are moving it up!

  10. OH MY…I have not heard of this series! But it sounds breathtaking, even if the romance leaves a lot to be desired. But everything else, like the Kami mythology sounds seriously amazing and I'm not sure who this Tomohiro is but I love the sound of INK POWERS. Fabulous review my friend! 😉

  11. Yess Katie was so annoying in the first book but I guess I wasn't expecting much from this one – so I ended up pleasantly surprised! Oh Katie was so frustrating but it's great that there was less emphasis on the weird stalking behaviour and stuff in this one and more on the mythology. I love Japan and glad there's a book with the setting!

  12. I'm sooo glad this book was better than the first! While I think I rated the first one 5 stars (I was naive and overlooked Katie as a character, HA), I do think it had to be improved. The relationship is still contrived, eh? I hope this doesn't stay that way. Great review, Jeann! 🙂 (also, I seem to not be able to receive new post notifications by email anymore :((
    Marianne @ Boricuan recently posted…Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesMy Profile

    • Haha Katie was so annoying and offputting in the first one. But yeah, oh well I guess I'm not reading this book for the amazing character 😉 Have you checked your junk mail – it seems to be working for us!

  13. I had to skim a little, as I haven't read book one as yet, but have a copy on my shelves. I love Asian mythology, it's such a rich history and we don't see much of it in YA, if any. And those covers are absolutely stunning, the water colours! It sounds more like a series you enjoy for the world at atmosphere, rather than the horrid romance and characters. I'm moving Ink up my list. Brilliant review <3
    Kelly recently posted…Messenger of Fear by Michael GrantMy Profile

  14. I've honestly never read a book with a Japanese setting before, and I think that my first will be with this series! All I've seen around in the blogosphere is things about Amanda Sun's Ink and Rain. I'm so ready to begin reading about a world with illusions and alluring characters and stories! I've heard a few bad things about Ink—with its "angst" and all, but I'll give it a try nonetheless since you've enjoyed it and its sequel, Jeann! Gorgeous review!

  15. THAT COVER ART. That is so beautiful O_O

    Ick to the love triangle elements BUT BUT BUT yay for it being so full of Japanese mythology and vivid details of the setting. It just sounds like it's going to be full of vibrant and beautiful descriptions of the country and the lore and I ADORE that sort of stuff 😀

  16. Oh I haven't read this series yet but I love the sound behind everything (except maybe the love triangle) LOL! If anything I think i'm really interested in this book because of the setting and the character development! Great review 🙂
    Lily recently posted…Rumble: ReviewMy Profile

  17. ki pha

    I've been meaning to pick up Ink ever since I was given the opportunity and declined to early review it. This story still interests me but I'll think bout it more. Rain sounds like it had more depth(?) and better rein than Ink but still just as amazing.

  18. I do remember the first book of this. I was just starting to make my way in the blogosphere and a lot of bloggers have gotten Sun. Unfortunately, it never interested me due to the mixed reviews that I've read. It's good to know that you liked the series, Jeann. This one reminded me of Patrick Ness' The Crane Wife. Only that the Crane Wife is about the paper cuttings and this one is about painting stuff.

    And oh no, there's a love triangle again??? Gahhh, is it so hard to write a book without a love triangle? Hayz. Anyway, lovely review, Jeann!
    Charlotte @ Thoughts recently posted…Book Review: Shatter MeMy Profile

  19. While I like that the main character has matured from the first book (it's one reason I didn't read the first book in this series), I think the romance would really irritate me. I just don't like it when you can't tell why the love interests are attracted to the main girl. I also don't think I would appreciate the love triangle. I'm over those these days.

    I do like that this book has Japanese culture and does it well.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jeann. Lovely review!
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Review : Rites of Passage by Joy N. HensleyMy Profile

  20. Other than the cliched romantic elements, I think I'd enjoy this book's Japanese setting, strong relationships, and mythology. I'm relieved that Rain doesn't suffer from the dreaded second installment syndrome, and that the author accurately portrays the cultural aspects because that's always a concern of mine where these types of stories are concerned. Wonderful review!
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…A Stompin’ Good Excerpt From Tricia Skinner + Giveaway #StompvsRompMy Profile

  21. I saw Ink around when it first came out but never paid much attention to it or the sequel but… I really did want to give it a shot after reading a handful of positive reviews. I might wait until the last book is out though because eeww love triangle. And it really does seem like… everyone is falling in love with Katie and there is no real reason why, which is reallly annoying.

    I am glad you enjoyed this though, Jeann and I am glad you felt like it was a definite improvement over book 1! 😀

    Lovely review as always!
    Rashika recently posted…Potato Prints #4: Flipped, CrescendoMy Profile

  22. Well, I'm glad you enjoyed this one Jeann. I've heard about Katie's stalkerish tendencies and immaturity and it made me feel very apprehensive to read the book, although I have a review copy of Ink. It's good to know that she at least mature somewhat but the romance aspect in this one might be problematic for me as well. I do appreciate that it captured the richness of Japan and its mythology. I think I would wait until the last installment is out before I pick this one up. Lovely review, Jeann! 😀
    Sarah @ Smitten over recently posted…Review: Words and their Meanings by Kate BassettMy Profile

  23. Every time I see the cover of Ink I want to snatch it up. I don't think I've EVER read a book with Japanese mythology in it. Chinese, yes, but not Japanese! So I think it would be really interesting for me. I did a bit of the language in year 7, but the only thing I remember is "what is your name" and "my name is Emily." So that's not very helpful. Great review, I'm glad that the second one was better than the first 🙂
    Emily @ The Loony Te recently posted…Hate List by Jennifer Brown: not just about a school shootingMy Profile

  24. I love the cultural aspect of this series so much! While Katie was often an annoying main character in book 1, I was still so eager to follow her story because the mythology and rich, vivid world were just beyond amazing. The drawings are so beautiful indeed 🙂 Ugh. I hate that Katie just can't seem to get rid of Jun >.< Tomo deserves better really. LOL! Katie is the average girl so there's your reason! Everyone must fall in love with her. Though really, I love Katie and Tomo together. I'm glad you felt like this was an improvement since now I'm even more excited to explore more of this vivid story 🙂

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination