Ink (Paper Gods, #1)-Amanda Sun
“I was trying to push you away, messing with you in the courtyard. I almost couldn’t go through with it. You’ll think I’m such an asshole, but when I saw you-god. I couldn’t get you out of my head. And then you climbed that tree and shouted my name. You weren’t afraid of me. You didn’t back down. I felt like you could see me, the real me. Myu was a reminder I was too dangerous to be anything but alone and half-dead. You made me alive again, Katie. If I have to burn for that, I’ll light the damn match myself.”
Plot: After the tragically unexpected death of her mother, Katie is shipped off to Japan to live with her aunt Diane. At first, Katie wants nothing more than to move to Canada with her grandparents but since her grandfather is doing round of chemotherapy, he is nowhere near well enough for Katie to come live with them until it’s clear he’s gone into remission. Katie is stuck in a new country, with a new language, uniforms, and no friends. Katie spends most of her time trying to not look like a complete imbecile but failing miserably. She can’t remember when to take off her slippers, when to put them on, or even simple phrases. Just when things start looking up, Katie makes two new friends, Yuki and Tanaka, her Japanese is slightly less cringe-worthy, and she’s finally laughing, she walks into an awkward situation that changes her life. Tomohiro and Myu, the star of the Kendo team and a beautiful, popular girl, are having a screaming match. One again, Katie has forgotten to take her slippers off and must go back to the same room that Tomohiro and Myu are having their showdown. Katie sneaks in, not wanting to get in the middle of their lovers spat, and witnesses Tomohiro’s dueling personalities. His words say one thing and his eyes say another. Katie thinks she sees the boy beneath the façade but she can’t be sure. Just as she’s about to leave, the voices grow louder and Tomo spots her cowering in the corner. Their gazes lock as Myu throws his sketchbook to the ground. Katie is shocked and confused when the images on the page start to move. Tomohiro and Myu break up, and Katie is his new object of torment. Katie is puzzled by Tomo and his magical drawings but not enough to put up with his taunts, his menacing stares, and barbed comments. As Katie fights back, Tomo pushes, and soon their mutual dislike becomes an odd sort of friendship. Tomo soon tells Katie his secret, that he is a paper god, descended from an ancient Japanese god that can make his drawings come to life, he bleeds ink, and is able to control the images for better or for worse. As Katie and Tomo get closer, Tomo’s powers get harder to control, something is Katie is reacting to his powers and making them go haywire. On top of this, the Yakuza (think Japanese mob) are hunting down Tomo because they suspect his connection to the paper gods, and threaten Katie’s life. Katie is not safe no matter where she goes. The Yakuza in one direction, the pull of the ink in the other. Katie’s world is quickly spiraling out of control, and everyday she give’s a little more of her heart to Tomo. As he tensions heat up, the danger hot on their heels, will Tomo and Katie be able to rise above the odds and wield the powers of the paper gods?
- Ink combines a modern, vibrant portrait of Japan bursting into bloom with cherry blossoms, traditional Japanese cultural norms, and the rich colloquialisms of Japanese teenagers with the magical, almost surreal beliefs of the past. The juxtaposition between the warriors of old, the paper gods, and the new, mob-like Yakuza, creates a brilliant sort of authenticity that contributes to the idea of a supernatural world hidden within modernity. There’s a Japanese word key at the end of the book that is both detailed, and enriching. It’s full of comedy and wonderful catchphrases. Whether you know a lot about Japanese culture or very little, this definitely helps with the transition into the world of Ink and is a fun addition.
- Tomohiro is an unconventional heart-throb. Tomohiro is the resident bad boy with a bloody, sinister past. His who life is shrouded in whispers and assumptions, about whether or not he brutally mauled and sliced his best friend open, about the scars on his wrists, but no one can seem to figure out if he’s the arrogant jerk he makes himself out to be or someone else entirely. He’s a Kendo genius, with fiery cherry red hair and a mocking snarl that puts people off. This doesn’t make him any less hot. The Tomo that emerges when he reveals his secret is still somewhat of an ass but he has his reasons and he’s terribly broken by his past but is so determined to beat his fate that he’s undeniably strong, he makes you believe he’ll always keep fighting.
- Katie is a emotional mess governed by her temper but above all her heart. One minute she’s like a baby giraffe fumbling to lift herself off the ground and take her first steps, the next she’s standing tall, high above the rest of the world. She’s passionate, caring, and risks everything for the people she loves. She’s not afraid to ask hard questions that may stir up a flurry of anger and resentment, or even sadness. She puts her heart on the line and refuses to back down. Katie is completely endearing. For anyone who has traveled to a foreign country where they have to adjust to a whole new language, her blunders are hilarious, embarrassing, and relatable.
- The notion of paper gods as a story idea is ridiculously fascinating and absolutely unique. If you’re looking for something bold, whimsical, and yet full of powerful self-awareness, this is something for you.
- There are rough sketches and pictures throughout the text that connects the drawings mentioned with the image in your head. Mixed media books are great at highlighting important segments and this definitely uses the sketches to its advantage.
- Katie’s two best friends Yuki and Tanaka are the perfect match . They’re the outspoken, drama-loving female bestie and the awkward, funny, yet hopelessly goofy guy friend that help Katie break out of her shell and liven up the story with lots of teasing, jokes, and witty banter.
- The Yakuza are horrifying They creep around, making vicious threats, grabbing people, flashing switchblades, and swarming on the innocent like hungry sharks who’ve smelt fresh blood, eager for more.
- The first time the drawings moved, I was consumed by a wonderous feeling of exhilaration akin to when the books come to life in The Pagemaster and The Neverending Story.
- Katie’s and Tomo’s attraction is magnetic. Their avoidance, their acts of hatred, are useless, and amusing. He protects her, she saves him, and just might help him save himself from the power that threatens to consume him.
- Some of the battle scenes were a little too swift, and easily won.
- The Yakuza wouldn’t have given up so quickly, this diminished their threats and overall dangerous feeling.
If you liked any of the following, check this out:
Keep reading all,