Title: Ink (Paper Gods #1)
Author: Amanda Sun
On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. 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 when she enters a building. When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school’s kendo team, she is intrigued by him…and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they’re near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life. Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan—and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.
I really didn’t pick this up for the romance (which seemed like it might be the main plot). I picked it up for the idea of ink coming alive – because let’s face it, that sounds really cool.
I was also hoping that reading Ink would help me get a better handle on Shadow, the Paper Gods prequel.
Katie was…”multi-dimensional” is kind of a cop-out, but no one adjective works. There was Katie-who-sucks-at-Japanese, Katie-who-misses-her-mom, Katie-who-wants-to-fit-in and stubborn Katie. Once she crossed paths with Tomohiro, she was not going to give up until she figured him out. She was interesting, enjoyable, and sweet.
Tomohiro was fantastic. He had the YA-Male-Lead dark-and-brooding thing going on, but he also had a fun, quirky side. He had secrets and a brilliantly multi-faceted personality. I loved his conversations with Katie – they never went anywhere normal, but they were completely logical and very fun to read.
I was three-quarters right – the romance is a huge part of the plot, but it’s not the entire plot. There’s questions about why certain weirder-than-normal things are happening, and a healthy amount of danger. (I don’t want to spoil anything, because most of that stuff doesn’t come in until later. The first half is Katie trying to get some answers.) But yeah, the romance is huge.
I’m not a fan of sappy, mushy romances, insta-love, or anything erotic, so I was pleasantly surprised by Katie and Tomohiro’s romance. It was light and sweet – more witty-banter-over-ice-cream than anything. There were plenty of awkward moments and a healthy dose of fun, plus those weird things and danger I mentioned. (I’m beginning to think that if I could find more romances like this, I wouldn’t be so opposed to romance novels.)
The setting isn’t my absolute favorite part of the story, but it comes close. It’s exotic in that I know very little about modern Japan, and it’s so realistic. Even little details like slippers makes it seem so real. I want to visit Japan now.
Ink was great. Fun characters, amazing plot, surprisingly good romance…and so many unanswered questions at the end! I can’t believe I have to wait until March to read the next book, Rain.
The Paper Gods series:
Shadow (prequel novella)
- Rain (March 2014)
- Currently untitled