Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

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.

Paperback, 377 pages
Expected publication: June 25th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

(info grabbed from GoodReads

Ink is now being resting on my “Disappointments of 2013” shelf.  What stands out about this one as compared to the others it’s shelved with is that there isn’t really anything wrong with the book.  I have a handful of things that I need in a book, that being that a story needs to be coherently written, the plot needs to make sense, and the characters have to be reasonably believable.  And I didn’t have any of those problems with Ink -- the writing is fine, the story goes in a logical direction, and the characters aren’t completely unrealistic in their decisions or personalities.  The big problem I had with Ink can be explained with an analogy: it’s like having nothing but green jolly ranchers your whole life, and then suddenly having a blue jolly rancher.  It’s exciting at first, but at the end, it’s still another jolly rancher.  Ink is another paranormal romance, but with the twist of being set in Japan with Japanese mythology as the magical element.

What really makes Ink a true disappointment for me is that it could have been so good.  The book started off on the right foot, exploring the differences between Japan and life in the United States, and showing it through the eyes of a seventeen year old girl.  Katie as a character came off a little generic at first, but she was bearable.  When the romance started to bud, however, everything went downhill.  That spark from the beginning all but disappears; we’re still in Japan, but the newness is gone from Katie’s perspective.  That perspective was what was making the book stand out in the sea of paranormal romance and the loss of it made the book suffer.

I think I would’ve been happier with the book focusing on the romance, if there had been some chemistry.  I felt nothing when reading the romantic buildup between Tomohiro and Katie.  But these things tend to depend greatly on the person reading, so I can’t honestly say that others won’t appreciate this aspect of the book.  I didn’t; I thought Katie was a bit weird in her courtship methods (stalking) and that there was no insight into what Tomohiro would have seen in her.  She’s not especially witty in their conversations or anything.  The only thing she has going for her is that she’s the intriguing foreigner.  From where I was sitting, I concluded any attraction from Tomohiro’s perspective was purely physical.  I need something more to make my heart skip a beat, but who am I to judge true book love?

Ink was not for me, but it might still be for you.  If you like the paranormal romance genre as a whole and are interested in Japan, you probably will like this book.  To me, it felt incredibly generic.  It’s like Twilight wearing a kimono, but with less sparkle.  I would recommend it to someone who either has read a ton of paranormal romance books and loves the genre through and through, or someone a little newer (who’s not as jaded as me). 

Final Thought: 3 out of 10 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads


  1. Dang, sorry to hear this one was such a disappointment. I've heard some pretty mixed reviews about this one, and I'm probably not going to read this because I hate it when the romance lacks chemistry. I feel like this could have been SO cool if it was more about Katie living in Japan because I don't think YA has enough of that.

    Great review- I really liked your jolly rancher analogy! :)

    1. RIGHT? I was hoping for more perspective, but the book didn't focus on that at all really. Well at first, and it was clear the author did her homework for that part. But it was so short and then blah romance.

      I'm super happy you liked my analogy :D