“Ink” (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun (2013)
Genre: YA, Fiction, Fantasy
Page Length: 369 pages (paperback edition)
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. (description from Goodreads)
I loved the overall concept and story line of this book since I’ve been interested in and have been studying Japanese culture since I was in middle school. The author takes the art of calligraphy and infuses it with the legends and stories of the kami (gods) giving it a fantasy like effect.
Katie, our main protagonist, is mourning the death of her mother and is sent to live with her aunt in Japan. She is thrust into a completely foreign culture and environment unlike what she’s used to and has to learn to adapt quickly to her new surroundings as well as getting a grasp of the Japanese language (which is not easy, since I currently study the language myself).
The novel flows really well, and is full of interesting characters as well as being action packed. The ink drawings/sketches placed throughout the book to go along with the written descriptions are absolutely gorgeous. However, for people who are unfamiliar with the language and culture, there are translations, brief explanations, and a nice glossary included in the back of the book.
Great story, fresh concept, and an interesting story. I’m looking forward to the next installment. 5 out of 5 stars!