Author: Amanda Sun (Twitter)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: June 25, 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal
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.