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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ink by Amanda Sun


I am kicking myself for missing this when it first came out!  I saw lots of reviews of people love love loving the cover, but it didn't grab me.  I don't say this often, but I was wrong.  This is a fantastic book and lots of people should go read it.  Good news:  because I'm so very behind on this, you don't have to wait to read the sequel!  You can binge-read the first two books now and be ready for the trilogy finale in June.  Yay!

Katie is dealing with a lot.  Her mom has just died.  Her dad was never in the picture.  Her beloved grandparents can't take her in because her grandfather is suffering with cancer.  She's sent from everything and everyone she knows in New York to live with her aunt in Japan.  There she finds herself one of very, very few foreigners, or gaijin, in her smallish city.  Fortunately, she is able to quickly make two friends, Yuki and Tanaka, and catches the attention of a boy *wink wink* named Tomo.

But all is not as it seems.  Tomo is very mysterious and aloof.  And Katie witnesses him dumping another girl rather coldly.  Who is he?  Why is he so distant?  Did he really brutally attack another boy a few years ago?

The answers are all in the ink.  Katie and Tomo forge a bond over pen and ink drawings and kendo, which is like Japanese fencing.  However, there's definitely an air of danger around their clandestine meetings in the park.

I was sucked into Ink rather quickly and completely.  At first it seemed ludicrous that Tomo's drawings were moving... like, coming to life.  But Amanda Sun works it all back into Japanese mythology, and that makes the premise pretty solid.  Believe me, it works.

My only little gripe with Ink was that I wanted even more answers and information than I was given!  I wanted even more information about the kanji and the Japanese social customs and more time to get to know the characters.  Thank goodness there's two more books.  ;)  There were a few points where I felt the plot was a tiny bit jumpy, but I did read an ARC; that might've been smoothed out in the final publication.

I love characters and the setting!  I read that Amanda Sun spent part of high school living as an exchange student in Japan, so she was definitely capable of writing the character of Katie, a foreigner looking in.  Katie reads so very real.  She's confident and capable and responsible.  Because she's so aware of the differences between American and Japanese culture, she makes the reader aware also.  I feel like I didn't get to know Tomo nearly well enough, but I think that's because Japanese are so much more reserved than Americans.  So naturally he can't give away too much about himself and also be true to his cultural background!

Ink had two big bonuses:  first, you get to learn so much about modern Japanese culture and a little bit of Japanese mythology!  There are Japanese terms scattered through the text (without it ever feeling confusing or overwhelming) with a glossary at the end.  And there's all these great descriptions of the setting, and references to Japanese school customs.  A second bonus:  my book included an interview with the author at the end!  That's where I found out that she studied in Japan as a teen.  Again, I read an ARC; I hope that was also included in the finished book.

I want to try to work this into every readers' advisory now!  Including you, reading this, who didn't even ask for my opinion:  GO READ INK!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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4 People left their mark' :

  1. Wow, I am so glad I read your review because I have been deciding for quite awhile whether I should read this series! Thank you thank you HAHA I am prolly gonna go to the library and get it. ;)

  2. Great review! I have also seen people raving about this for a super long time, but I haven't ever really felt drawn to it. After reading your review, it definitely makes me want to read it more.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Danica@Taking it One Page at a Time

  3. WOW! you are not the only one who saw all the great reviews but didn't read the book. Your review is amazing and makes me wanna read the book ASAP.
    If the third book comes in June I'll wait and read all 3 togheter.
    I love that it's set in Japan.
    Thanks for sharing
    Ruty @Reading...Dreaming

  4. Wow, that's a really pretty cover. Hmm, I'm intrigued!