Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun


After the death of her mother, Katie moves half way across the world to live with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan.  With only three weeks' worth of Japanese lessons and reeling from the tragedy, Katie struggles to fit in at school and in the new culture.  One day, she overhears an older student called Tomohiro breaking up with his girlfriend, who responds by ripping pages from his sketchbook.  As the papers fall to the floor, Katie sees something shocking - the ink drawings are moving.  Obsessed by this, Katie becomes determined to find out what secret Tomohiro is hiding, whatever the cost.  Soon she becomes caught up in a power struggle among the Kami, Japanese Gods, that could have deadly consequences.

I was drawn to Ink because I'm always on the look out for fantasy novels that use other cultures and their mythologies to underpin the plot.  Ultimately, I found Ink to be underwhelming, but it wasn't without positive features.  Sun studied Asian History at university and has spent time travelling through Japan, and her love of Japan came across on every page.  Lots of little details were added to the plot, with the result that the reader gets a really good 'feel' for Japanese culture.  Katie changes into school slippers in the morning, watches cherry blossom trees flower and eats authentic Japenese food.  Japan was almost a character in the novel and I loved that.  The mythology of the Kami also made a refreshing change as I have never come across them in a novel before.  

Whilst Ink had positive elements, I felt like it was let down by the romance between Katie and Tomohiro, who was a stereotypical bad-boy with a hidden secret.  Despite only just meeting him, Katie fell in love almost instantly and made a series of bad decisions all because she loved him.  Even when he was horrible to her, when she found out what his friends were mixed up in and even when her being around him could actually hurt her, she couldn't leave him alone.  I found it so frustrating because all the elements of a fantastic novel were here at the beginning of the book, only for the romance to take centre stage.  I don't mind a bit of romance, but it needs to be a better one than this for me to enjoy it.  I wanted more adventure, more mythology, more insight into the Kami, more ink drawings coming alive and less of Katie angst-ing over Tomohiro and how dangerous yet needy he was.

All in all, Ink had promising moments but was a bit of a let down overall.

Source: From the publisher via Netgalley.
Published: June 2013
Score: 2 out of 5

14 comments:

  1. I'm drawn to this book for the same reasons you were, I haven't read it yet, but I've read only lukewarm reviews about it so far :(
    And I really dislike insta-love...
    It sounds like it was a good idea but needed better execution.

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    1. If you dislike insta-love, this isn't the best book for you. The idea is very good though.

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  2. Aw, I am tired of the dangerous bad boy romance plotline. It ruins so many promising books! I was just reading Julie Kagawa's Iron King -- which I've been looking forward to for ages -- and got fed up with the burgeoning love triangle (including dangerous bad boy) that I could see forming. Bleh.

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    1. Me too! There's too many bad boys around and the problem is that they aren't really bad boys at all, they always become nicer with a bit of love. Not the best message to be sending to teenage girls!

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  3. Boo. I hate relationships that don't make sense, especially when they mar a great concept.

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    1. This may not be the book for you then...

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  4. I love the sound of the all the Japanese mythology and culture. Like you though I don't think the romance element would do it for me either.

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    1. The Japanese culture was fascinating, I wonder if there are any other books on Japanese mythology...

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  5. Yeah, I've seen a mixed bag of reviews about this one leaning toward "meh." I think I'm gonna skip it.

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  6. The setting (Japan) sounds so promising, but oh well! Skip for me...

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    1. I think it can be skipped, but it has inspired me to read more books set in Japan, and that can only be a good thing.

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  7. With so many wonderfully cultured Japanese books out there, this one sounds like a pass. Which is just really too bad because the premise sounds so interesting. I love Japan and it's one of those countries I dream of visiting.

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    1. I've not read much set in Japan, so the book has inspired me to pick up more books set there, at least.

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