Series: Paper Gods #1
Published by Mira Ink on July 5th 2013
A MAGIC MIGHTIER THAN ANY SWORD
A DESTINY THAT CAN’T BE DENIED
Katie Greene is lost in the wake of her mum's death. Sent to Japan, she meets gorgeous but aloof artist Tomohiro, whose tough attitude intrigues and scares her. Then things get really strange. When they're near each other, Tomohiro's drawings start to come to life…
Soon the wrong people begin to ask questions, and Katie and Tomohiro must risk everything to protect the truth
I have a yen for Japanese culture (yeah…I went there) so am always looking for fiction/movies that provide an insight into this unique and fascinating country. I was hesitant to try INK after mixed reviews but was pleasantly surprised to find a book that I connected with almost immediately and thoroughly enjoyed reading. I’ve only recently started reading Manga but I noticed some parallels and themes that feature heavily in INK which I think helped me enjoy the book more.
Katie is an American girl who has just recently moved to Japan to live with her aunt Diane after her mother dies. Overwhelmed by the new way of life, Katie can’t help but feel lost and intimidated by all the new experiences accosting her senses at every turn. When Katie overhears her fellow student and resident bad boy Tomohiro break up with his girlfriend. In a fit of anger, Tomohiro throws his notebook of sketches aside and when they scatter Katie is stunned to notice one of them move. Sure that she imagined it, Katie can’t help but feel drawn to Tomohiro and is determined to find out more about him and his mysterious drawings.
At first glance there is a lot of clichés in this book as Katie despite being humiliated by Tomo on several occasions continues to go back for more and behaves a bit stalkerish however as the book went on and Katie and Tomo actually communicated and connected with each other I felt their relationship grew and developed and it became a non issue for me.
The highlight for me was the descriptions and world building. I loved how Sun created a picture of Japanese culture that was fascinating and realistic and focused on how overwhelming it would be for a Westerner to experience. Particularly social etiquette where hugging your best friend and calling a person by their first name straight off the bat are considered no-no’s. I was captivated by the history intertwined with legend of the Kami and their role in this book. The pacing of the book flowed well for me and I found it a pleasure to pick up every time, fully immersed in Katie’s and Tomo’s story.
I liked Katie as a character, I really felt she grew from the intense grief-stricken girl we meet at the start of the book into a young woman capable of adjusting to new situations and unafraid to following her heart. Tomo was interesting but it wasn’t until the story really started to develop in regards to the Kami that I really started to like him and root for him as a character.
While not everyone’s cup of tea, INK was highly enjoyable for me and I adored Sun’s take on the Kami legend and her well-crafted story and am aching to find out what happens next in RAIN.