Ink is the first book in the series, Paper Gods. The book is centered on the main character Katie Greene. Katie ends up moving half-way around the world to live with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan after her mom dies suddenly. Once in Japan, her life is flipped upside down as she tries to learn Japanese, deal with the grief of losing her mom, remember to change shoes upon entering a building, figure out how to eat properly and of course the new emotions of being the new blonde girl in a culture she doesn’t understand, and can’t even speak correctly. To make matters worse, she ends up getting herself targeted by the standoffish, bad-boy of the school, Tomohiro. Strangely, Katie finds him to be intriguing. And after meeting him she is sure that she has gone crazy. Why? Because she could’ve sworn that Tomohiro’s drawings moved. And not in the animation kind of way either! She knows that he is hiding something and she’s prepared to find out. Unfortunately she isn’t prepared for the answer, or the feelings, that stem from her curiosity. Associating with Tomohiro creates a spiral of paranormal activities that stem from Tomohiro’s drawings and if Katie isn’t careful, and the wrong people notice, neither of them may come out of this alive.
Regrettably this book has a few bad reviews on Goodreads. After reading the book I can see why some people felt the way they did however, though the book was highly clichéd, I also believe that those who read this book have a really, really high standard and need to understand that not every author wants to break the clichéd “girl moves to new town and meets a bad-boy paranormal dude” mold. On a better note, I did enjoy this book. It was an easy, fast read that has a ton of potential. The book is about Japanese mythology and drawings coming to life! What could be better than that? Since I’m a huge fan of Greek Mythology it wasn’t hard to get hooked on Japanese Mythologies either. Amanda Sun has a great writing style and she obviously did her research. The story was exciting and I don’t mind clichéd storylines, at least this book doesn’t have a hundred year old vampire after a seventeen year old girl! (Yeah, I’m targeting you bad reviewers- you can’t compare every book to Twilight to make your point! Especially since the summary of the book does talk about a budding romance. You knew it was coming!). I, for one, am excited to see what the second book in the series has in store.
All in all, I liked how this book really played on Katie’s feelings. You really felt for her being in a foreign country, learning a new language, remembering the culture, the food, the characters and the word for “bathroom”. Amanda Sun did a really great job at conveying that in the beginning of the book where it mattered. Katie is constantly reminded that she doesn’t belong in Japan. Her blonde hair, her American accent, her name and her origins are all constantly smashed into her again and again to remind her of how she doesn’t fit in and how she never will. I liked this aspect of the book, and not just because Iread this book when I happened to be on an eight hour bus ride from Sisikon, Switzerland to Florence, Italy either! Although I was definitely feeling the “not fitting in” vibe that Amanda Sun had interlaced between its pages.
Overall, I give Ink 3.5 out of 5 stars. There were a few things I’d change, but my fewer star rating has to do with the main character getting on my nerves a couple times not so much the storyline. I like my heroines to be strong and Katie Greene was really strong in the beginning but near the end she started to become weaker and I didn’t like that. It didn’t stop me from liking the book, but I would like to see her become a bit more…awesome, she’s learning kendo in Japan after all!
Have you read Ink? What were your thoughts on it?