Bel Reviews: Amanda Sun's - "Ink"
“On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must 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.
When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school’s kendo team, she is intrigued by him… and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they’re near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life.
Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan—and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.”
My daughter is a bit of a Japan-o-file and I thought what better way to spend a little time in her headspace than to dip into a story set in Japan.
Right from the cover art, which in the case of the NetGalley, paperback and the Kindle edition is a strawberry blond girl drawn in ink. She’s in profile with a spray of cherry blossoms and it’s all about simplicity and clean lines, yet extremely beautiful. Seems to me to be very Japanese stylistically.
Amanda has a talent for creating believable settings. I could envisage the cherry blossoms, the koi ponds and almost taste the food. I sensed (albeit as an outsider who knows very little about Japan) that Amanda got the culture right.
I really felt for Katie; uprooting and moving to a place where she’s as far out of her comfort zone as humanly possible. She has guts, and it showed extreme strength in character that she didn’t just crumple and become a stereotypical victim. She also does not bow to the bullies. Yay for strong female characters!
As far as action goes, it’s wild! Drawings that come to life are only part of it. I have great respect for the martial arts and I felt like I was in the room with the Kendo club, while they were practising. Though doing drills during a Japanese summer sounds like a hell I could do without.
I’d suggest anyone who holds any interest in Japan, pick this book up and give it a chance. There’s something for everyone, from mobsters, to romance and action to fantasy. Certainly an eclectic mix of elements that work in perfect harmony.
Paperback, 377 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2013 by Harlequin Teen (first published January 1st 2013)
ISBN: 9781743641651 (ISBN13:9780373210718)