Ink by Amanda Sun Review

Monday, June 10, 2013

Title: Ink
Author: Amanda Sun (Twitter)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: June 25, 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 377
Source: Publisher

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.
Just when Katie is certain that her life can't get any worse...it does. After her mother's death, Katie has no choice but to give up her hometown, her friends, her customs and move in with her aunt, an English teacher in Japan. Not only does Katie need to learn the new customs of this foreign country, but she can't speak the language, the culture is entirely different and her entire life has been turned upside down. But Katie's new life in Japan is just beginning - and she may never be able to leave.

When I first received Ink for review, I wasn't sure if it would be the right sort of fit for me. I've yet to read a surprising paranormal story in a while and, for the most part, the genre seems a bit burned out. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the world that Amanda Sun has created within the pages of this novel. Bringing a vivid country alive through meticulous descriptions, careful research and a very clear and apparent love of the culture, Ink draws you in from the very first page. The prose is as finely-crafted as the artwork of Ink, itself, and you're certain to be mesmerized by this delightful and completely foreign world. 

If you look around the blogosphere, the reviews of Ink are kind of a mixed bag. They seem to sway to opposite ends of the spectrum - either really good, or really poor. After reading it though, I can definitely understand why this seems to have happened. Ink is a rich and extremely descriptive novel, and it must be said that the true power of the novel lies within the incredibly detailed world that the author has created. The writing style is fluid and accessible, and Japan almost feels tangible, as the words envelop us in a culture that is so vastly different from our own. I can't tell you how many times I was pleasantly surprised to see that the foods, sights, vernacular and general life of the Japanese culture were so true to real life...and yes, I had to research it myself to see that it did. There was a definitive insta-love vibe to Ink though, and that definitely rubbed me the wrong way at first. Don't get me wrong, I can definitely see why she falls for Tomohiro, as he's a definitive heartthrob, but still - we all know how I feel about insta-love. However, upon further research, Ink seems to follow in the vein of lots of manga and such cultural dramas, in which such love stories are more commonplace. Because of that, I could reconcile myself with it a bit. I'll be honest and say that I was left with a lot of questions at the end of Ink, but they're the sort that make me want to read on, and the author's writing style is wonderful enough for me to want to do so, as well.

Overall, Ink was a refreshing take on the genre. While, yes, it won't work for everyone, and some parts didn't necessarily work for me, I quite enjoyed this book. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal and paranormal romance. Fans of Korean and Japanese dramas, as well as manga will probably enjoy this one, as well.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

35 comments:

  1. I got this for review the other day and have been scared from all the reviews I've seen. But since you enjoyed the realistic descriptions, I've been somewhat relaxed again. Boo for instant love!

    Brilliant review, Melissa! <33 And thanks for stopping by at my blog earlier this week ;)

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    1. Don't be scared of the poor reviews, Melanie! I think you might just like it, and you're quite welcome...you have a lovely blog :)

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  2. I've been wondering about this one. As you said, it does seem to evoke mixed reactions in readers. I'm also not sure about the insta-love aspect of it. That said, though, it does sound like an interesting read and the Japanese influence makes it stand out. Great review, Melissa! :)

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    1. The insta-love is always a killer for me, but I think that Amanda's backdrop and writing was solid enough to save this book for me. It's definitely a unique read.

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  3. I'm nearly done with reading this one as well, and I'm very happy to see a positive review about it. I agree that the rich culture and Japanese mythology are what stand out in this book. I also agree that the beginning is the weakest part. Katie seems to latch onto Tomo very quickly. HOWEVER, did you read the free prequel ebook SHADOW? I would really recommend that you get it and read it, because it answers a lot of questions. The novella switches back and forth between Tomo and Katie's POVs. It chronicles Katie's journey to Japan, and talks about Tomo's life before he met her. We get to see what his nightmares are about, why he believes that he has a connection to Katie and what happened with his former girlfriend. It's VERY informative. I actually wish we'd read some of Ink from his perspective. But I plan to give this a positive review as well and hope to give it a little more attention! I met Amanda Sun at BEA and really liked her and what she had to say about her book.

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    1. I haven't read SHADOW, but thanks so much for putting it on my radar! I'm glad to see that you had similar issues to me, and I definitely think the book gets stronger as it goes on. I could see this being a really successful series, so long as the few issues are rectified, you know?

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  4. Yeah, I've read some of those reviews, too (though I try to avoid reviews of books i haven't read...just couldn't with this one) so, despite the gorgeous cover, I'm sadly reluctant to read this one -- I don't want to be disappointed! But your review revitalized my interest so thanks!

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    1. I hope you do give it a go, Mary. It was a really good read, despite a few hiccups along the way!

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  5. I have this for review and I will admit that after all the mixed reviews, I've been wary to start it. Your review has definitely raised my hopes and I'm excited to get to it now. I'm very curious as to whether the detailed descriptive writing will work for me or not.
    Lovely review, Melissa!

    Also, I love your new blog design! It's beautiful! :)

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    1. I think the writing and the backdrop were definitely the highlights of the book for me. But I think it's a great setup for a new series, too, so that worked for me! I hope you give it a go, Nick!

      And thank you! :)))

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  6. Loved this review Melissa! Like you said, the reviews for this one have been a bit all over the map, but your explanation of the insta-love and the world itself has me feeling much better about it. I haven't read much manga, but the romance in this story makes mptr sense if insta-love is a bit more prominent Japanese culture-based stories. I have this one on my shelf and I'm really looking forward to reading it now!

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    1. I think it's different enough that it works, and it will find a great audience, you know? Plus, I really love the writing style! I hope you review it so we can compare notes haha

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  7. I've been hearing mixed things about this too. But I am so into Japan and Japanese culture that I can't wait to read it. Plus, Amanda seems like a cool girl from what I talked to her at BEA.

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    1. I thought of you when I accepted this for review! I think you'd really like it, Alison...the backdrop and setup are fantastic.

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  8. I love the sound of the prose. Most of the time the writing in YA fiction is pretty much the same from author to author, which makes the beautiful ones stand out all the more. Too bad about the insta-love, though. Every reader's nightmare, ha. I think I might be able to look past that, based on the other great things about the book you mentioned. You've definitely improved my opinions for Ink now, Melissa. Lovely review!

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  9. Thank you, Megan! It's definitely well worth a read, I think. The writing is so strong, and so is the backdrop that Amanda's created for the novel :)

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  10. "the foods, sights, vernacular and general life of the Japanese culture were so true to real life" I felt that too! And while it didn't become my new favorite, I enjoyed Ink as well.
    Great review! :)

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    1. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it, too, Cayce! Despite a few flaws, I thought it was a really good read :)

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  11. The description sounds fantastic! Not so sure if I'd like the insta-love aspect, but I'll still definitely look for this one at my library after it releases.

    Great review, Melissa! :)

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    1. I hope you do, Lea! I'd love to compare notes with you on this one :)

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  12. I really want to read this one! The cover is stunning, first of all, and I really need to branch out with cross-cultural books.

    Great review!

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    1. It's a really good place to try it out. I enjoyed the book, overall, Ashley!

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  13. It's true that the reviews have been all over the place, but I feel drawn to this because I'm so fascinated by the Japanese culture, which is only natural, I suppose. I have a copy on the way and I'm very excited about it.
    Lovely review!

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    1. I think you might really love it then! I found it to be so well set up that I could overlook those troublesome elements that would usually deter me from liking a book :)

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  14. I remembering reading an interview the author did where she mentioned how closely the mythology she used in the book is to the real thing and I'm a straight-up mythology fans and that is what drew me into this book. I haven't read it and I don't like this it has an insta love, but I'm still very curious about the paranormal aspect and the Japanese culture. I'll give it a try soon. Great review, Melissa!

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    1. Thank you, Aman! I think this one might be your cup of tea...I hope you read it so we can compare notes! :)

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  15. Hi Melissa! I have been reading mixed reviews on this one, and I was happy to run across yours. I am on the fence whether to read it or not still, but your review is pushing me in the right direction, It is hard to find original so I am all about that. I also am intrigued by the culture. I may just give in!

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  16. Oh love the explanation of the insta-love. So need that! I can't wait to start it and I have to admit that I said yes to reviewing it because of the cover. I just love that cover. I also love books about other cultures. I can't wait to dive into it and see if I enjoy it as much as you did!

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  17. I've seen so many mixed reviews for this one that I'm not sure whether to pick it up, but I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much. It really does seem like something I'd enjoy, so I should probably just check it out regardless. :)

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  18. Yours is the first review I've read of Ink since I haven't read my copy yet. I try to avoid them before I've written my review. But, in this instance, I'm glad I did. I can handle insta-love if it isn't too unbelievable. I'm glad to know about the descriptive prose, but I think that would be a positive since it's Japan and I know very little about it.
    I'm glad to know all this going in. Thanks for the great review!

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  19. I'm glad you really liked this one because I want to read it just for the setting. Your review has given me a much better idea of what to expect.

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  20. Hey new best friend:D great review! The reviews about this book are quite mixed indeed, so thanks for clearing that up:) Ink is going on my TBR list now!

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  21. The cover is beautiful, and I'm definitely checking it out!

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  22. I was so excited when I first heard about this book, but started to get more and more weary as the negative reviews started pouring in. And then I got approved for it from NetGalley. It's on my TBR and I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. I'm hoping to be able to go in with an open mind. Great review!

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  23. You basically expressed EXACTLY how I feel about this book. I really liked it, in spite of the insta-love and the lack of connection with Katie. I thought the story was great, and the setting and details of Japan were spot on. I'm certainly looking forward to reading on in this series!

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