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Ink by Amanda Sun Book Review

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)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.

The problem with reviewing books is that I know exactly how I felt about a book, I just don't know how to put those feelings into words. And that seems to be the case with Ink by Amanda Sun. It's not enough to say I wish I had liked as much as I wanted to like it, because I did like it. I really did. But what the heck does that mean? The problem I find, is with the word, like. The word, like, in my opinion is so used and abused in today's society that it no longer has a simple definition but rather encompasses a broad range of feelings, which you can imagine becomes quite frustrating to decipher in any conversation or paragraph. Like is simply an inadequate word to describe my reaction to this book. And therefore, I will try to minimize the amount of times I use it.
 
What made this book worthwhile for me was not the characters or the romance or even the story, but instead, the world it takes place in. Unlike other fantasy novels, however, this setting was not based off crazy whims of the imagination, but the real experiences of the author herself. The story takes place in modern day Japan. Can I start off by saying I'm a big fan of Japan? I'm a tad bit addicted to reading manga and I am simply fascinated about their culture. Reading this book only solidified my curiosity. Now more than ever, I wish I could speak their language and visit their country. The setting was beautiful and foreign and really put a spotlight on Japanese traditions. I love that I got to lean about this world and that it was REAL!

I also was really intrigued by the fact that this book was about the kami or the paper gods. It's refreshing to read such a unique book when so many YA novels focus on similar types of characters in similar situations. It was kind of like Japanese mythology which while I wasn't quire sure I understood it the entire time, I definitely appreciated being thrown into a completely new and challenging environment. And don't even get me started on the art! THERE WERE PICTURES GUYS!!! Why is this not a trend in YA? Just because they're not children's books does not mean pictures are any less cool. 

What stopped me from completely surrendering my soul to Amanda Sun, however, was the romance in this book. I honestly don't know why Katie liked Yuu, and that is just plain scary to me. Sure, she was intrigued by him and definitely attracted to him, but that doesn't equal love. And he had just broken up with a girlfriend who he seriously liked. In my mind, these two not only getting together but facing life threatening danger for each other just didn't click. I know that there really is no rule book for love. In fact, I generally can't make statements about what makes a good relationship without being contradicted in one way or another. I get it. Love is not something you can easily label or stick into a box. And therefore, I cannot say that you will or will not approve of their relationship. What seems not very loving to me may seem like the most romantic couple to somebody else. I don't pretend to have any authority in this subject and therefore you should just read the book yourself. 

Did this book meet my expectations? Not exactly. Besides being in Japan and learning about the kami and their powers, the story and the characters were a tad bit on the mediocre side for me. Is the cover beautiful enough to remain on my shelf? YES! Will I be reading the sequel? Another resounding yes. Even though this book didn't blow me away, there is so much more that can be done with this unique setting and interesting set of characters. The book has serious potential and I'm hoping the author will see that and take advantage of it. I'd give Ink 3 1/2 out of 5 flowers.


Oh hello there! My name is Emily, though some of you may know me as the Bookie Monster. As the name would suggest, I devour books like the Cookie Monster devours cookies. In my spare time, I like to bake cookies (and devour those as well) and dream about taking over the world. As if my book obsession wasn't life consuming enough, I work in the children's room at my local library and I am currently a sophomore in college majoring in English. It's safe to say I'm a bit of a book fanatic. I discreetly shed a few tears on my eleventh birthday when I did not receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter and I waited seven hours outside in the rain just to get a good seat at the Hunger Games midnight premiere. I'm terrified of blood and Disney movies make me cry (in a good way). My passions include hippos, hugs, and Hans Zimmer…and uh,long walks on the beach. I'm just a normal girl w
ith a slightly abnormal and frightfully expensive obsession. Nice to meet you!





14 comments:

  1. I have yet to pick up this book, but the atmosphere in which this book takes place in seems utterly breathtaking. I'm glad the Japan setting didn't disappoint you! However, that romance. It doesn't seem like something I'd particularly enjoy, but I'm pleased to hear that you liked this book overall. Great review! :)

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  2. hey another manga addicted blogger like me.....

    Your right you definitely can't label love in exact words, because it happens differently for everyone and blooms in situations when you least expect. I actually liked that it was a bit low key, see i have read a lot of books with the Japanese literature and all of them have a bit too much action and literal mythos that while they may translate well to the screen doesn't well translate to pages and the readers get lost....... so i liked that it was a bit mediocre......but this is just the first book, so i hope we get (me too) more stronger story in the sequels........

    And the art of this book and Japan itself..... i too hope one day i can visit the country and learn more about its exquisite culture and way of life.....

    ohhhh if you have the time, do check out my review of the book too here

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

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  3. I hate when romances feel contrived and odd in a book! It irritates me! And I agree with you, I love pictures to go along with the story, they're so much fun! Japan is a great place to, though I've been I have friends from there and they always bring back such cool stuff. Great review!

    Manga and anime rock!

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  4. That first sentence explains exactly how I always feel when writing reviews! Sorry the book didn't blow you away. I've heard some not so great things about this. Great review and the honest opinion!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  5. Hi! Thought I would pop by and say hello. I have wavered on reading this book. It has some things that I would love like the Japanese setting and the art, but people aren't over the moon over the story... sigh.. I guess I will just have to give it a go. I totally agree about the pictures. We need more pictures in our books period!

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  6. I completely agree. My emotions were all over the place for this one, I enjoyed Japan and the drawing concept but the characters and romance were so blah. I also have hopes for the sequel.

    Alise @ Readers in Wonderland

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  7. Oh that sucks that the characters turned out to be bland BUT I had no clue that there are pictures in the book! I am so shocked and so curious that I may buy it just for that (and the cover, I have serious cover-lust going on). I love that the world is great, but for me, good characters are a MUST. Really sad about the insta-love romance too.

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  8. I felt exactly the same about this! It was interesting to read about Japan and its myths, and the storyline was so original, but I felt that the romance and drama overshadowed the book's potential. Ha, yes, I couldn't understand why Katie fell for Yuu. It's not like he's particularly attractive... I guess hormones really are hard to control? Lovely review! I agree with pretty much everything you said.

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  9. Those books you just simply like are the hardest to write reviews for. I have been doing a few of them lately too. I want to read this for the setting because I love Japan too (any foreign country is fascinating to me actually) but it's too bad it didn't completely wow you. I think I'll be reading this in the future (hopefully) but my expectations won't be so high now. I'll be prepared for a romance that might not quite be all I'd want it to be.

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  10. EEh, the romance was def a weak point. Hated it so much.

    Lovely review, Emily! <33

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  11. The romance didn't suck me in either, and I felt like I was thrown into the world in the deep end with no raft and I couldn't swim, but I am so glad to hear that the world worked out for you, and I feel like I am missing out now since I didn't finish. Great review.

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  12. I have seen and heard about this book so many times this past 2 weeks, so I decided I should get it, but the reviews haven't been so splendid. I don't know if I'll pick this up. Too bad about the romance! I hate it when you can't connect with the romance, which makes you dislike the characters a little too. But, I am totally intrigued by the concept of this book. It is unique!

    Glad you enjoyed most of it! lol ;p Great review!

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

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  13. I am SO with you on pictures! We should see more illustrations and photographs in YA books. I'm a big fan of them when they're used well. Anyway, this is a fantastic review! I agree with a lot of your points (especially about the mediocre characters), though I think I liked this book just a fraction less. I'm not entirely sure that I'd pick up the sequel.

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  14. I wanted to love this book! the cover is so beautiful but my feelings were very similar to yours, my expectations were high but this failed to wow me and the romance was definitely meh.

    A wonderful review :)

    Sharon – Obsession with Books

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Hi! Thank you so much for commenting, I read each and every comment and love reading them :) Also, I'll comment back as soon as I can. Happy Reading!