Ink by Amanda Sun

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Title: Ink

 Series: Paper Gods (#1)

 Author: Amanda Sun

 Genre: Paranormal Romance, YA paranormal

 Rating: ★★★¾

 In short: Funny, sharp, and exciting

Warning: mild spoilers below.

Goodreads: 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 takes the beaten path into YA PNR: gorgeous cover + sassy heroine + new school + bad boy who’s hiding something. It’s tried and tested, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t always work. Amanda Sun goes a step further though, setting this novel in Japan and using Japanese myths for the paranormalthank god it wasn’t angels, right?

Despite the number of two-star reviews Ink got on Goodreads, I actually quite liked it. Let me say, though, that a huge part of it was Katie, the main character. Katie’s witty and full of snark, and she’s certainly not one to let an aloof bad boy stun her to silence. Nuh uh. She’s also pretty creepy, which is mostly what this book revolves around. Let me tell you, what would we get if Katie Greene wasn’t a creep? No Ink. The entire story hinges on her crazy curiosity and insistence that Tomo is really up to no good. Drop the act, Katie, we know you like him. This doesn’t make her a bad character, though; I actually really enjoyed her voice. The thing is, I liked both Katie and Tomo separately, but I’m not sure how I feel about them together. It’s great to have nosy heroines. I like nosy heroines (see: The Lynburn Legacy‘s Kami Glass). I like bad boys. But this particular nosy heroine and bad boy? Hmm. Insta-love strikes again!

The beginning of the book is a bit slow as we follow Katie around on her stalkerish adventures. For me, though, it was nice reading about her culture shock and how she was adjusting to life in such a different place. Considering that Amanda Sun hasn’t even been to Japan (or so I heard), I thought it was a pretty good job. I really liked Sun’s characters, as I mentioned before. Not just Katie, but her friends, her aunt, the people she metthey seemed nicely fleshed out. Our bad boy Tomo is angsty, of course, which was annoying at times, but we’re following the formula here, so don’t be surprised. The story was nicely done after that slow beginning; it starts to pick up and we delve into the world of Japanese myths and the underworld (which seemed sort of unrealistic to mejust unrealistically written).

But.

There’s always a but.

The fact is, barring Katie’s roaring tiger/stalking cat persona, the setting, and the Kami, it’s pretty much like any other YA PNR. I was just expecting something more of it. Some surprises, you know? To be honest, I guessed a lot of this book. Hopefully the upcoming sequel Rain (June 24th, 2014) will make up for it.

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