Ink by Amanda Sun.

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326 pages

Published June 25th, 2013 by Harlequin Teen

When her mother dies, Katie Greene is forced to move to Japan to live with her aunt. She hopes that once her grandfather goes into remission, she will be able to move to Canada to live with him and her grandmother. To begin with, Katie hates living in Japan –  she struggles with the language and the etiquette and the fact that she doesn’t even know her aunt Diane all that well. Nevertheless, after a time Katie is doing pretty well with the language and has even made some friends. Enter Tomohiro – the school’s kendo star. He’s gorgeous, intimidating and talented. But is he really as dangerous as the rumours say? And worse – weird stuff involving ink happens any time Katie and Tomohiro get close, like when her pen exploded, or she saw his drawings move. Who are these ancient gods – the kami – who used to rule Japan? How are Tomo and Katie connected? One thing’s for sure: they are both in danger.

Ink is in their Blood

First of all: what a beautiful cover. It even feels arty when you touch it – like they’ve used some heavy watercolour paper to make it. So cool.

Here’s what I liked about Ink: I loved the premise. I loved the Japanese setting, as well as the culture and languages (there’s a glossary at the back, too) – Amanda Sun lived in Japan for a while, so I would imagine that all the language and references to culture are authentic. Also, anytime I hear/read about or see cherry blossoms, I get a mini obsession with them – how amazing would it be to see them blossoming in Japan? I’m jealous of the main character for that! In relation to the romance, I guess I still enjoy that ‘he’s dangerous, but I have to be near him!’ vibe, even though it’s been done about a billion times before (Twilight, anyone?). Oh, there’s also some drawings interspersed throughout the novel – I loved those, too.

Now, here’s the unfortunate thing: there wasn’t a whole lot of plot. Honestly, I was looking forward to seeing Katie arrive in Japan and get her bearings (I even watched Lost In Translation again to get into the mood), but when the book opens, she’s been there for a while and is already half speaking the language. This makes the author’s job a lot easier and I get that. She probably wanted Ink to be more about the kami than Katie’s experiences of submerging herself in a new, completely different culture (don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of that stuff) – it was only my own assumption that led me to believe any different (incidentally, if anyone knows of any novel that is more like that, comment here so I can read it).

But back to my original statement: not much plot. It seemed to me that most of the book was written at the same level, with only a small spike of conflict towards the end. I didn’t find it particularly suspenseful or surprising. It was definitely interesting, but maybe that’s only because of the different location?

I will certainly read the next in the series. I think that tension might pick up in that one. If any of you have read Ink, let me know what you thought.

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