Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.
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.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
I found the premise of this novel to be really exciting because it’s dealing with a topic that I haven’t read about, or really heard about before: the Kami gods of Japan. So, of course my interest was piqued right away!
In high school, I went to an international school in the US that boarded many students from Japan and Korea, and I had many friends from both countries, including a few love interests. That being said, I loved learning all about the differences between our cultures, but one thing I never discussed with my friends was the mythology from their countries. In fact, I’d never heard of paper gods before I stumbled upon Ink on Netgalley, and I was super excited to read it. And, If you’re looking for something completely different, then you definitely want to check this out.
Katie is attending school in Japan, fully immersed, which is quite terrifying. I studied abroad in Thailand, attending Chaing Mai University and living with a non-English speaking host family, but it wasn’t full immersion; my professors spoke English much of the time, while my host family spoke only Thai, and that was hard—just adjusting to a different culture, with the customs and food is hard enough, but to be taught in another language, well, it’s just daunting. Thus, I easily connected with Katie because I have an in-depth idea of what she’s going through, and I am in awe of her ability to adjust so well. Now, Katie’s character isn’t exactly my favorite—she is very needy and tends to freeze up a lot at the most inopportune times, but truth be told, that’d happen to any one of us if we were completely immersed in another culture. I would have loved to see her take control more often than she does, but, again, I think it’s all part of the territory of full immersion—she hasn’t been in Japan long by any means, and overall I found her quite intriguing and steadfast.
Now, Tomohiro is a harder character to swallow. He is the dark, brooding young man putting on a facade, and his hard exterior is just the shell to his warm loving self, but due to his ability when ink hits paper, he’s got to hide his true nature in order to protect those around him, and I loved this about him. Yes, he’s a jerk on multiple occasions, but, here’s where I lucked out: I read the prequel, Shadow, prior to Ink, so I went in knowing it was all a façade and that he wasn’t really as much of a jerk as he pretended to be. So, I highly suggest you read Shadow first because not only is it short, but it gives great insight into Tomohiro’s real self, which allows the reader to start this novel liking Tomo instead of spending a vast majority hating him until the truth is bared.
I really enjoyed that Sun wrote her book using actual Japanese (in English phonetic form) with a guide in the back and explanations following the Japanese in English. This was awesome because it adds authenticity to the novel as we read it, and having a small knowledge base of Japanese, I found it was fun to read along and know the translation prior to Sun adding it after the fact. Honestly, I really enjoyed the paper gods. It’s so interesting and refreshing, and I’m dying for more already. Four stars.
Harlequin has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release tomorrow, June 25, 2013.