I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ink by Amanda Sun
Series: Paper Gods #1
Published by HarlequinTeen on June 25th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
Here’s the thing: I want to read a book about super powers that exist through ink and come to life in drawings. I want it to be set somewhere beautiful that I have never been before, a place with customs different from where I live. But most of all, I want the main character to be proactive, to struggle with their powers and their background. To try their best to protect those they love and to hurt when they fail and vow to do better. I want them to change and fight to come to terms with who they are. Fortunately, there was a character just like that in Ink.
Unfortunately, the MC turned out to be his girlfriend, Katie Greene, who falls in love with Yuu Tomihoro and from that point on is completely useless. The MC should have depth. To be interesting, the MC should act upon the world around them. Katie was not like this at all. Everything happened to her until she was just going with the flow, being swayed by the tide without doing much at all.
It was like reading Twilight if it was set somewhere interesting and had a more intriguing fantastical component (the reason I gave Ink two stars). I wish that these two things had been enough to distract me from the fact that this book was just an edited Stephenie Meyer manuscript, but the list just kept adding up.
Like Bella, Katie Greene is utterly helpless. There are multiple situations in this book where Katie has to be protected, where she is caught in a bad or potentially violent situation and has a boy swoop in and save the day. It got to the point where she was just wandering around and then all hell would break lose. Her strategy? Wait around until the guy would come to her rescue. Needless to say I was quickly bored.
Katie has powers that make her super special… but she can’t use them to her advantage for the entire course of the book. Actually, she can’t use them at all. The only thing that these powers do is draw her boyfriend towards her uncontrollably, making his power more potent. Katie’s role is basically just to enhance what he can do.
There is actually a part of the book where Katie is brushed aside because she can’t really do anything, and her internal monologue goes abuzz with anger. “How dare they forget me!” she demands. “I watched Tomohiro draw all those times. I was there when the dragon was summoned. I know him better than anyone else!” Well congratulations. You stood by and observed things that were happening around you. Would you like a medal?
It felt like Tomohiro should have been the main character because he was the one actually doing things. Katie just seemed like this barrier between the action and the telling of the story, just a layer of fogged glass that made the important things harder to see.
There are times when Katie does find the strength to fight, and at the end of the book she does make a pretty big decision all for herself, but none of these points were pivotal to her character growth, nor were they exciting to read about in any way. In fact, I was rooting for her to make the opposite decision that she did. I wanted her to take her life in *her own* direction. She did a good job of convincing herself that’s what she was doing, but I wasn’t so sure…
I was so excited to read Ink, and since I haven’t read many books set in Japan, it was interesting for the scenery and culture alone. The mythical aspects of the plot were really awesome as well, but when it came down to it, it just wasn’t enjoyable to read about a character who had fixated on Tomohiro from about the tenth page, and didn’t waver for the next three hundred.
Maybe Katie will find herself and the answers she was seeking in the next instalment, but whether or not she does isn’t motivation enough to keep me reading. This series just isn’t for me.