- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Harlequin Teen; 1st Edition edition (June 25 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 037321071X
- ISBN-13: 978-0373210718
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.6 x 20.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #438,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ink Paperback – Jun 25 2013
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"Readers will come away more enlightened about contemporary Japanese high schools...an enjoyable peek at a world very different from America, yet inhabited by people whose hearts are utterly familiar." -Publishers Weekly
"The descriptions of life in Japan...create a strong sense of place, and set an exotic backdrop for this intriguing series opener by a debut author." -Booklist
"The unique setting and observing how Katie learns to live in...foreign surroundings...make this story special." -VOYA
"The work of a master storyteller." -Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Fey series
"A modern day fairytale." -Amber Benson of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones novels
"A captivating story of love, passion, and the choices people make to keep themselves safe." -Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate and Asunder
"Ink is a book that you sit down to read when you have a spare few minutes and then you look up and hours have passed a completely captivating story." -Book Passage Bookstore
About the Author
Amanda Sun was born in Deep River, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. The Paper Gods series, which includes Ink, Rain, and Storm, was inspired by her time living in Osaka and traveling throughout Japan. She is an avid video gamer and cosplayer. Visit her on the web at www.amandasunbooks.com and on twitter @Amanda_Sun.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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My main problems were the heroine of the story and the pacing. I didn't dislike Katie, but she STALKED Tomohiro. Seriously, when did stalking became okay? It is so prevalent now in YA novels, it sickens me. So yeah, Katie stalks Tomohiro even after hearing all this horrible stuff about him and after he treats her like a total jerk and she witnesses him being very mean to his ex-girlfriend. There were plenty of clues that he was potentially dangerous, but she follows him. I'm sorry, but that's not okay. Then she repeatedly shames him for how he treated Myu, his ex, like that's any of her business. She was hard to like in the first half.
The pacing of the story was too slow for me. It didn't start to pick up until way after page 100. It took me 4 days to finish this book cuz I just didn't care. But once it did pick up, it got pretty awesome.
One small problem with this story is how amazingly good Katie is at Japanese. For someone who only studied it for 5 months before moving to Japan, she sure can speak and understand it. Japanese has actually been voted as the hardest language for English native speakers to learn. So I found it so incredibly unrealistic that Katie was so capable with her Japanese. Also the Japanese that was used seemed to be taken straight from anime. It probably was. Tanaka even yelled "yatta!" Please.
If it weren't for the fact that once the story got rolling, I became hooked, I would have given his book only 3 stars. Ishikawa and Jun both play a very important role in this story, as well as the Yakuza. Once it all started coming together, I got really interested. And by then Katie was a lot more likeable, too. I really wasn't sure if I'd like Tomohiro and Katie as a couple because I found her attraction to him to be a bit too sudden, but they end up going through a lot together, including getting kidnapped, and by the end of the story I decided that I did like them as a couple. Like Katie, Tomohiro lost his mother, so he really understands her suffering.
I will most definitely be picking up the next book to the story. I look forward to reading more about Katie's life in Japan and who Tomohiro is going to side with - the yakuza, the kami, or will he stand alone? I also really like Katie's two friends, Yuki and Tanaka. Totally stereotypical Japanese names, but whatever. They're good friends and it seems like they have feelings for each other? I really hope I get to see more of them in the next book.
To sum it up, I do recommend Ink. It didn't reach it's full potential, but it's a good book.
Then along came Ink, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Katie is living with her aunt in Shizuoka, after the death of her mother, and she’s not exactly happy with the arrangement. Her grasp of Japanese is just barely enough to get her by, she misses where she grew up, and that’s all on top of experiencing a major family tragedy. Then she gets involved with Tomohiro, a mysterious boy from her school who has a bad reputation but turns out to be an artist and athlete with a huge secret. He’s kami, a being somewhere between what we know as a god and a spirit, and far from being limited only to ancient stories and religious doctrine, he and his kind play a part in Japan’s affairs even now. Tomohiro would rather suppress his abilities, preferring to keep them in the dark rather than letting them out and risking hurting those around him, but when the yakuza get involved, he might not have much choice in the matter.
If what I described sounds like it’s also something right out of an anime, well, that’s a pretty accurate judgment. But Sun manages to balance that element rather well with actual day-to-day life events; it was, in the beginning, more like a slice-of-life anime than a shoujo story with supernatural elements. And I kind of liked that, since it portrayed living in Japan as realistic. Kids go to school, they go to school clubs, they go home, they eat curry-rice, they watch ridiculous game shows on TV. Then the paranormal stuff comes in and makes it far more of a YA urban fantasy, the plot kicks up a notch and things get far more action-packed as Katie and Tomohiro try to keep his powers a secret from the thugs who want to use them to their advantage.
Sun also incorporates Japanese words and phrases in a way that I actually like. Most novels I’ve seen try to do that end up making the dialogue seem awkward, in part because the author’s knowledge of Japanese seems, well, lacking. I don’t claim to be fluent, but I know enough to be able to tell when the grammar is stilted or verb tenses are being used incorrectly. Sun makes mention in the author’s notes that she actually consulted native speakers to make sure the characters were speaking like actual Japanese teenagers, a small step with big results. Those who are interested in the language can pick up a few new phrases, and those who already know enough to not need the glossary will be able to move along at a swift pace. (Personally, I was amused right from the cover, listing it as part of the Paper Gods series; the pun there is that depending on how it’s written, kami can refer to either a god or paper.)
Ink is a quick read, decently-paced and with writing that flows well. What works against is it that it does come across very much like an anime in the wrong ways, with a reliance on stereotypes that get tired quickly. It’s very predictable. The only character who seems to have much depth is Tomohiro, and even then it’s only within the rather strict confines of the Bad Boy With A Soft Heart stereotype. If you read this book expecting anything other than what you’d get in a shoujo anime, you’ll end up disappointed.
That being said, though, if that is what you’re looking for, then Ink is going to trip all the right triggers.
I’m curious to read the sequel, since this is so far one of the very few novels to actually portray Japan in a way that doesn’t grate on my nerves, and the plot got quite interesting toward the end, with Katie deciding to stay in Japan and with two sides fighting over Tomohiro’s powers. There’s a good amount of potential in that cliffhanger ending, and I want to see how it plays out. It’s definitely an indulgence read, like ice cream, a treat when you want something that doesn’t have to be amazing and blow-your-mind good but can still be enjoyable and fun. I can’t say I’d recommend Ink to everyone, but as I said, for fans of shoujo anime and manga, it’ll be right up their alley.
I really appreciate the care Amanda Sun took with the detail in this novel. Shizuoka, where Katie goes to stay, comes to life on the page. Every little detail is present in her descriptions of the setting, the food, the clothing and the school. This made the pacing a bit slower than your average YA novel, but at the end of the day I think the novel was richer because of it. I don’t mind a writer taking the time to slowly unravel the world if it means I get to experience it more thoroughly.
I also really enjoyed how unique the mythology was throughout. I’ve never read a book that featured paper gods before and it made for a very intriguing story. I did find, however, that the romance overshadowed the mythology a little too much. Katie and Tomo’s relationship was a little intense for my taste. It happened so fast and stood in stark contrast to the slower, more purposeful world building. But overall I enjoyed the novel and the high stakes of their situation. And I’m definitely intrigued to see where the series goes next.
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