Girls in Capes is thrilled to be one of the blog tour stops for Amanda Sun’s Ink. We have a review and two giveaways, so watch out for those. And now, without further ado, here’s Ink!
Author: Amanda Sun
Release Date: June 25 2013 by Harlequin Teen
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.
About Amanda Sun:
I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.
In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.
The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.
From the start, Ink sounded like a unique concept: moving ink, Japan, mythology, an interracial relationship and a girl dealing with a different country and everything that entails? Count me in. I was not disappointed.
Sun is brilliant with the setting. She describes places, foods, the weather, the culture and even social subtleties as Katie navigates her way through Japan. Even the people had mannerisms, ways of speaking and ways of interacting that were vastly different from what she found usual coming from the States.
The setting is further established and developed with the use of romanized Japanese in the dialogue. The words and phrases are explained either through context or through Katie’s thoughts since she sometimes needs to translate because she’s learning the language. In case one has doubts with the language, there’s a glossary at the end of the book with translations and explanations. I thought the use of Japanese was a great addition to Ink because not only does it remind the reader that Katie is elsewhere, but also shows how she feels alienated by presenting the reader with the same situation. I truly felt like I had been taken on a trip to Japan while reading this book.
Another element that I liked was that Ink had comedic instances that reminded me of manga, anime and even dramas, which are some of my favorite things. These instances were enjoyable, fun and a welcomed treat from what I’m used to seeing when I read.
However, what I appreciated the most about Ink, apart from the setting, was Katie’s character. In the beginning of the book, Katie finds herself in Japan trying to assimilate the loss of her mother. She’s in a country with a different culture and a language she’s still learning, far away from things she would consider familiar. She struggles to find her footing and soon finds herself faced with the decision of choosing the direction where her life is going to go.
Sometimes she doesn’t make the best of choices; in fact, sometimes she makes questionable ones. But she is honest with herself, accepting that her choices might not be the best ones, that it’s possible she might mess up and she’s willing to accept the consequences and take responsibility.
And this is where Katie becomes a realistic character to me: she exerts the liberty to make her choices because it’s her life to live. She is aware she might make mistakes, but those are hers to make, to live with, to be responsible for. She is honest with herself, even recognizing that some of her motivations for making certain decisions might not be the best ones. But she’s willing to mess up and live with the consequences. So even though I may or may not agree with some of her choices and decisions, her honesty and resolution when she took the leap was something I appreciated and loved.
I loved Ink; just when I thought the story couldn’t get more complicated, it took a turn and surprised me. Perhaps the only thing that distracted me was toward the beginning, when the Japanese words started coming in. I couldn’t pick some out of context. But as I said earlier, there’s a glossary and I was able to pick out those words and the rest as the story progressed. And the other thing was how Katie started following Tomohiro everywhere despite him wanting her to stay away from him, though it is reminiscent to some manga and anime I’ve seen. I can’t wait for the sequel!
4 out of 5 stars
This was an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
And now, we have TWO giveaways!
The first giveaway is for a pre-order of Ink and a bento box and accessory! Follow the Rafflecopter below and enter to win! Don’t forget to visit the other tour stops for more chances. This giveaway is open internationally.
The second giveaway is for 5 SIGNED Ink bookmarks! Follow the Rafflecopter below and enter to win. This one is open for the US only.
Be sure to check out the other tour stops for more reviews and more chances to win!
June 20 – Bookcase to Heaven (Tour Kick-off)
June 21 – Total Travel
June 22 – Cover Bound
June 23 – Book Scents
June 24 – Gypsy Reviews
June 25 – FlutterealFlight
Mara Delgado Sanchez, the Young Adult Reviewer at Girls in Capes, is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in fiction. She draws inspiration from writers such as Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf and is an avid reader of young adult novels, science fiction, and fantasy.