Kiki's Reviews > Ink

Ink by Amanda Sun
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's review
Jan 11, 16

liked it
Read from October 05 to 10, 2015

[Very slight spoilers ahead. Careful.]

A little while ago, forsaking my credit card bill, and the fact that I work 25 hours a week at minimum waaaahhhhhhhgg...

Ugh, I should just stop. In the last six months or so I began throwing handfuls of copper coins at things like potato scones and cigarettes and £40 Ryanair flights to mystery destinations. The absolute best thing about Ryanair is that it is SO janky and SO cheap and you never know quite where you're going, you just know you're getting on whatever flight is cheapest, landing near whatever hostel is cheapest, so that you can spent five days waffling around drinking local beer and talking to Australians or Americans who have their lives together.

Americans and Australians who travel almost always have their lives together. They weren't the ones who threw the contents of their swear jar at an unplanned trip to an unplanned destination and only got the time off by calling in sick to work from Malta ("I have swine flu, I can't come in, ignore the sounds of softly cawing gulls and Maltese people laughing at the sun-drenched bus stop behind me"). Americans and Australians who travel are brave souls who have saved up for extortionate flights and they've spent $$$ on planning and guidebooks and making sure that they make the most of travelling to the other side of the world. I salute them so hard. They are so organised and I am a human disaster.

I live in the UK, so my privileged ass only needs to be verbally abused by elderly people to whom I serve coffee and fried food for a while, get a shite pay check, chip away very slightly at a growing stack of bills, then buy a ticket for £9.99 on a flying tin can and within four hours I'm staggering someplace new.

This was how I ended up in Berlin, inappropriately dressed, with five days worth of living supplies stuffed into a backpack I bought on Etsy. That backpack has been there for me. It was there when I cried in Halifax airport and when I nearly got the cops called on me on the Berlin subway and when I had to use very, very alternate methods of wipage in the bathrooms at the cyber park in Marrakech. I DO NOT HAVE 10 DIRHAM FOR TOILET PAPER. I AM NOT THAT PREPARED.

So when I was in Berlin, at a bad time of year to be there, when it snowed every day and the hostel scene was sparse because who the fuck goes to Berlin in winter, I met this older woman, and it was her sixty-fifth birthday so she gave me some birthday cake and a huge shot of cognac. She told me about how she had been moving from hostel to hostel for the past few weeks, because her upstairs neighbours in her apartment block were cooking meth. She was from Berlin, an absolutely lovely woman, and she said something that captures the city so perfectly. So sweetly. I could not have said it better myself.

"Berlin. I love it and I hate it."

This book.

I love it and I hate it.

It's this sort of Frankenstinian thing, this lumbering creature that you can't grab a hold of, so when it wanders off the straight and narrow and down a plot line that makes absolutely no sense, all you can really do is shrug and say, "Oh, okay."

On one hand, it so beautifully captures how bloody exhausting it is not only to enter a country whose culture is different to yours, but to live there. I remember feeling the way Katie does, staggering home after attending foreign high school where I am the foreigner, and feeling so emotionally and physically drained and anxious that I'd collapse into bed and sleep the rest of the afternoon away like an elderly woman. Or like a hamster.

Katie is spunky, she's sharp. She does dumb shit because said dumb shit moves the plot along, but her core characterisation is so enjoyable. She's not afraid to climb trees and confront the guys who look up her skirt when she does. She's so dry but sensitive and she really cares about shit - like, she cares about people's feelings.

But the problem lies with Tomohiro, and how great his characterisation was at the beginning, before it got creepy and problematic, then irritatingly saccharine. I get that he's loyal, and I also get that he's afraid of himself so he feels like he has to push people away to protect them, but couldn't he just have told Katie that she breeds with the mouth of a goat? Did he have to make her think he was a rapist? What the ever loving fuck is that all about?

How weird! How problematic! How... Did I already say weird? And not in a good way! In a "let's back away slowly because this is getting wildly out of hand" kind of way!

The mythology was this book's saving grace - honest to god, it's the only thing saving it from being a total shit show. If this had been about vampires, I'd have flushed it down the toilet. But Kami are new to me, and this particular magical element was something I'd never come across before. It was fresh and exciting to me, and beautifully rendered in action. The way Tomohiro draws, almost shamefully, with an air of fear about him, was painful and beautiful. But did the bloody Yakuza really need to come into this? Did they really? Are you serious with this? Why?

But this is my tussle with this book: it's so lovable and yet so fucking hateable too. The artwork is gorgeous, but the villains are ridiculous, to the point of being comical. I really liked Katie, but Tomohiro was such a clusterfuck! The setting was gorgeously written, with so much heart, but then there were car chases and mobsters and other such silly gimmicky crap! I loved Katie's relationship with her aunt, but she treated Yuki like shit!

And that girl was only ever nice to her!

At the end of the day, this is your average YA formula with a few really cool, interesting embellishments. It's a big tangle of wasted potential, which is such a shame. It's like going somewhere new and exciting, but knowing that in order to get you there, Ryanair will starve you and freeze you half to death before slamming you down with such force on the runway at the other end that your ass actually leaves the seat.

Outhie. I bith my thung.
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Reading Progress

10/05/2015 marked as: currently-reading
10/07/2015 page 144
39.0% "I'm REALLY enjoying this."
10/07/2015 page 147
10/08/2015 page 210
56.0% "Getting real sick of Ishikawa's bullshit. This dude is a complete idiot."
10/08/2015 page 211
57.0% "SHUT UP YUKI GODDAMN IT" 1 comment
10/08/2015 page 217
58.0% ""My heart was glass--easy to see through, simple to break". Lovely. I'm confused as to why this book has a low rating and poor reception. I'm really enjoying it. For me it's one of the better, more balanced, more carefully crafted YA PNRs." 3 comments
10/09/2015 page 217
58.0% "Are you FUCKING kidding me? Book, you just lost like 2 stars. I mean srsly, is this even real? This is literally one of the most problematic things I have EVER SEEN in YA PNR. This is FUCKED up."
10/09/2015 page 243
65.0% "(Last status update should have been for page 243.)"
10/09/2015 page 253
68.0% "If the Kami are so important to the Yakuza, then why the hell did they send these three useless goons to collect one? Aren't there more efficient, better trained, or even just MORE, scouts out there?"
10/10/2015 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Nadine looking forward to you review :-)

message 2: by Farhin (new) - added it

Farhin That's exactly what I'm thinking :L

Julianna Helms It's fantastic, as far as I can tell from page 200-something. :)

message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I don't know, apparently there is a 'fake' rape scene. That completely turned me off the book.

Kiki Jessica wrote: "I don't know, apparently there is a 'fake' rape scene. That completely turned me off the book."

Oh my god! WTF? Okay, okay, going to do some more research on this one before I pick it up. Jeez...

Ainsley Jade It's not...I'd be interested to see your review

message 7: by Érica (new) - added it

Érica Really curious about your review. I've been wanting to read this one for a while now

The Romantic Cynic Yep, pretty much my reaction. What is this with fantastic beginnings and mediocre endings? I'm noticing a trend.

message 9: by Kira (new) - added it

Kira Simion Nice review. I like that you go to other places too. Etsy. Love it. xD

message 10: by Cookiemo (new) - added it

 Cookiemo Simon  ^-^ i love how in a lot of ur reviews we pretty much get a glimpse of ur life cx

The Book Worm (of doom) I agree Cookiemo. :)

message 12: by Jinx (new) - added it

Jinx King "slamming you down with such force on the runway at the other end that your ass actually leaves the seat."

I would fucking die. I can already tell flying is gonna be one hell of a time.

message 13: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki Jinx wrote: ""slamming you down with such force on the runway at the other end that your ass actually leaves the seat."

I would fucking die. I can already tell flying is gonna be one hell of a time."

Have you never flown before? DON'T LET THIS SCARE YOU! This has only happened to me once and I've flown too many times to count. The #1 thing to be aware of when you fly is not slamming down on the runway or turbulence, it's ordering the food. Do not order any meat products. One time on a long haul I was tired and not concentrating and accidentally ordered the fish, and then my stomach hurt for four days. DON'T.

message 14: by Tsunami (new) - added it

Tsunami No meat at all?
Dude, what was wrong with that fish? Dunno, airplane food is shit as a rule. As the carnivore I am, I always order anything that has beef
I really like cow.
But now I'm starting to remember I didn't feel all that well afterwards...and there wasn't any turbulence (which never bothered me, really. I actually get hungrier during turbulence).

message 15: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki Turbulence never bothers me either. My #1 problem is always with the food. You're damn brave to go for the beef - that's another one that made my stomach really hurt (though not as badly as the fish). I have no idea what was wrong with it, but it fucked me up real bad.

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