- Date published: 25th June 2013
- Publisher: HarlequinTeen AU
- Format: Paperback, 326 pages
- Series: The Paper Gods, Book 1
- ISBN 13: 9781743562710
- Categories: YA Fantasy
- Goodreads / The Book Depository / Booktopia / Bookworld
- Source: provided for review by the publisher
- Challenge: 2013 Début Author Challenge
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.
I am never going to pick up a book because of its cover again. It serves me right, it really does.
Do you know how excited I was about Ink? It is probably the YA début I anticipated the most in 2013, I’m even on a video saying it’s the HarlequinTeen release I’d love to read the most. So you can probably imagine how heart-wrenching it is for me to say this – Ink isn’t the book it’s pretending to be.
The juvenile, non-sensical plot elements that made Twilight one of my most hated reads are present in full force throughout Ink, and the only differences I could discern are the change in setting (Forks to Japan) and mythology (vampires to Japanese Kami). The unbalanced insta-love, the lack of self-preservation instinct on the heroine’s part, the stilted story telling and hazy world building all contributed to my disappointment.
Remember Bella? Remember how she was so irrationally convinced that a vampire, who craved her blood specifically, wouldn’t hurt her? Well Katie sees a mysterious boy at school, one who tries to intimidate her, and she decides the best thing to do is follow him around after school. Because he’s hiding something and she damned well wants to know what it is. Her stalking skills give Edward Cullen a run for his money, and even when it became painfully obvious that Tomohiro was bad news, she continues to follow him around and force her company on him.
When the whole ‘I can do freaky things with the things I draw’ part comes to light, Katie is strangely accepting of the whole thing. No thinking she’s losing her mind, no avoiding Tomohiro because he’s obviously dangerous/crazy/magical. It just didn’t feel realistic to me.
Remember Jacob? Remember how he was just there, Bella’s friend, and then suddenly he was a love interest and it gave you (me) whiplash? Katie makes a mysterious friend named Jun, who’s indescribably hot, but she doesn’t see him in that way. It never, never strikes Katie as weird that Jun turns up everywhere she goes. She’s basically too busy stalking Tomohiro to realise she’s got her own stalker, and even when Jun knows things about her and her friends that prove he’s been following her around, it doesn’t click to Katie as weird until much later.
On the topic of
Bella’s Katie’s friends, Yuki and Tanaka are as stereotypical as they get. Yuki is the over-excitable Japanese girl, kept around to provide Katie with alibis and for her to vent her boy-gossip to. Tanaka is the cute guy friend who might be interested in her, and Katie keeps thinking to herself that life would be so much easier if she’d fallen for him instead (remember Mike Newton anyone?).
What I did like about the book is its setting in Japan. I haven’t ever been there, so I can’t comment on whether the descriptions are accurate, but the place that is described in the book is magical, and I’d really love to go there. I feel this novel has a very strong sense of place, and I really enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Japanese life and culture. I’m not sure about the grounding of the supernatural element in Japanese mythology. I don’t feel like it was explained well enough for me to truly understand, but this might be because the characters themselves are stumbling around in the dark.
I also really liked the illustrations that pepper the novel, they bring Tomohiro’s drawings to life and helped me visualise what Katie was seeing.
I wish Ink was more. I wish it was stronger, had a tighter plot line,that Katie and the rest of the characters stood out from the pages. I wish I wasn’t so disappointed. I hope, that if you pick it up, you find it to your liking. I pray the undoubtably pretty cover of the sequel won’t pull me in.