Title: Ink (The Paper Gods Book One)
Author: Amanda Sun
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: MiraInk (5th July 2013)
Source: Harlequin UK/MiraInk via NetGalley
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.
[blurb taken from Goodreads.com]
Rating: ***** (5 stars)
INK is Amanda Sun’s debut novel, and the first book in her THE PAPER GODS series. It tells the story of Katie Greene an American teen who is uprooted and sent to live with her aunt in Japan after the death of her mother. Japan is not where Katie thinks she wants to be. Grieving for her mother Katie starts to notice Tomohiro’s drawings come to life and is instantly curious.
I was really excited to be offered the chance to read INK early, as it is a book that I’ve been interested in reading for a while, and I was not disappointed. When I was younger I read a lot of manga and watched a fair bit of anime so I was curious to see how Sun would approach this story. In a lot of ways INK is very similar to the mangas and animes I used to read like FRUITS BASKET and CARD CAPTOR SAKURA with its school setting, but it differs greatly as it is told from the point of view of an outsider to Japanese culture and life. I really enjoyed the fact that I was like Katie looking into this very different world. I also loved the way that drawings were placed sporadically throughout the book, they were all brilliant done and added another element to the narrative.
Amanda Sun does a brilliant job weaving different plot threads through the narrative of INK. One of the major threads focuses on Katie’s grief over her mother’s death and how she feels very isolated in Japan – the grief and the isolation feel very real, and I really liked how brave Katie is. Even though at times she can be very uncomfortable she doesn’t let that stop her from doing something and I thought that was very admirable. I also appreciated the way that Sun wove the mystery of the drawings coming to life throughout the narrative – the eventual explanation was brilliant thought out and unique. The ending of INK had me guessing to the last, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!!
Having the narrative of INK told through Katie’s eyes works really well, as it meant that I felt I really knew her. It also allowed Sun the opportunity to have the occasional word or phrase in Japanese, and then a translation in English which I really enjoyed as it added a certain realism to the narrative. Katie’s friends seemed very real on the page, I particularly liked Yuki as she seemed really sweet. Sun also did a good job with Tomohiro and his friend Ishikawa, who I am hoping we will see more of in future books.
If you are a fan of anime and/or manga then you should definitely give INK a try as it really does a good job capturing the feeling of them, just without illustrations on every page. If you are a fan of urban fantasy but are looking for something a bit different from the typical western fantasy then you should give this book a try too.