Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun - ARC Book Review

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 want to thank HarlequinTEEN and NetGalley for a copy of Ink in exchange for an honest review.

Sigh.  I don’t want to write this review.  I don’t want to take a book with such an interesting synopsis, amazing cover, and cool author and say that I was disappointed in it.  That I didn’t like it.  I don’t want to have to list the reasons and relive the heart ache.

I want to go back in time and somehow make the pages match the awesomeness of what’s on the cover.




Ink is a highly anticipated upcoming release.  It’s set in Japan, and the mythology behind it is so original and unique that I was sure it would be a new favorite.  Drawings that come to life, that literally leap right off the pages, is such a cool concept!  Pair it with a foreign setting, and this book was destined to stand out.
But it didn’t.  Not at all.

There are so many of the clich├ęs I hate in this novel.  Insta-love, helpless protagonist, guy who warns the girl away, stalking for god’s sake!  Katie reads like a blond Bella in Japan, and while Tomohiro isn’t nearly as bad as Edward, he is far from the smokin’ hot kendo champion Amanda Sun tries to make him out to be.  The book focuses largely on the romance, but it’s yet another rushed love story with little to no real chemistry, so the whole story feels forced and flat as a result.

Thankfully though, this book wasn’t all bad.  The setting was amazing, descriptive and realistic.  Sun made me forget at times that I’ve never been to Japan, know little about its culture, and transported me there.  There was such an authentic feel to it.  I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that the author had spent a considerable amount of time there; there’s a familiarity with the country in the prose that shines in a way that so many other aspects of this book failed.  The mythology is still pretty cool, leaving me wanting to know more about the kami, the people with the power to control and give life to the ink.  The paper gods.  I just wish it could be through a different set of eyes, with a different cast of characters.

I think what breaks my heart so much about Ink is that the potential is here.  There’s just enough good about it to leave you imagining the novel it could have been, the novel it should have been.  If the characters and their relationships had been as thought-out and unique as the mythology and the setting, Ink would have been everything I had hoped for.  Instead, it’s just another disappointing, trendy addition to the already saturated world of YA romance.
 
Ink - 2.5 out of 5 stars

14 comments:

  1. That's disappointing. The setting sounds great and so does the mythology as you said. But if its the characters that are the weak link then I'm out.

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    1. Yeah, it's the characters. :/ I'm so bummed, too, because this one really looked so good.

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  2. I have an eARC of this one, and I really hope I will like it better than you... I hate cliches and Bella characters. I prefer the kick-ass MC type.
    Thanks for sharing your honest opinion. My expectations are much lower now...

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

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    1. I do hope you like it, but Katie is far from the kick-ass MC type. That and the insta-love were my major issues with it.

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  3. Ouch. Every time I see this one I think it looks really interesting, but I don't think I've seen many great reviews on it. It is an interesting concept, but I don't want to waste time reading the same ol same ol just in a new setting. Boo!

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    1. Yeah, you can just skip this one. It's the same old story wrapped in a pretty package, unfortunately.

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  4. Noooo! I've seen so many negative reviews for this book that I've pretty much lost hope in ever reading it. It makes me so sad when a book with so much potential just falls flat. Sigh. :(

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    1. I requested it before the negative reviews started trickling in or I may have thought twice about it, too. I'm with ya, though. It could have been so good!

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  5. The concept reminds me of the first episode of Mushi-Shi, where a boy's drawing come alive, becoming mushi, ethereal beings that populate the world.

    So, the book is pretty much an interesting idea shoved into the "generic" cookie cutter? Beh, why do authors do that?

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    1. Haha never heard of that. Though I did read a few things that made me believe the concept wasn't completely new, just more Japan-based with the mythology. Either way, it could have been so good but, like you said, it was just another generic story.

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    2. I have seen a couple things with similar concepts. An episode of Teen Titans that takes place in Japan had some ink based stuff if my six year old memory serves me right, and then Mushi-Shi, an interesting anime. Even The Mortal Instruments had a little bit of it I think...

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    3. The only thing I've seen with the concept was an episode of SpongeBob lol, but I don't doubt that the concept has been used a lot of other places.

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  6. Oh noooo I have an ARC too and I'm really looking forward to this cos it sounds amazing! I'm so sorry to hear it wasn't as amazing as anticipated.

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    1. You might still like it, it's not all bad. But if you're big on characterization or you get annoyed by too many cliches, you probably won't like it all that much.

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