Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
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.

326 pages, Paperback

First published June 8, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Amanda Sun

18 books909 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,874 (29%)
4 stars
2,872 (29%)
3 stars
2,476 (25%)
2 stars
1,149 (11%)
1 star
502 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,532 reviews
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,037 followers
September 27, 2015
This book broke my heart. Not in the way you might think, though.

I've become very familiar with a certain concept that much of YA has been using lately. The same concept that I discussed in my review of Reboot by Amy Tintera. It's when a book takes a gimmick—a brilliant concept, an intriguing setting, etc—and still follows the basic YA formula, riddled with cliches like:

- Outcast, ordinary heroine (who might actually not be ordinary at all and have something to do with the supernatural aspect, thus making her "special")
- Badboy hero with a mysterious secret and a tortured past, who constantly pushes heroine away because he's dangerous
- "Best friends" that may as well be cardboard cutouts, and who the heroine always ditches to spend more time with the hero
- An Other Guy character that is just as hot and mysterious as the hero, but nicer
- Insta-love
- If boy and girl be together it will cause a lot of problems and bring danger and shit—a.k.a. forbidden love

All of the above sadly applies to Ink.

I don't think I've ever been so disappointed in a book before, at least not this bad. I'm not exaggerating, I'm literally crushed right now. My hopes for this book were just that high. I mean come on, a modern YA book set in Japan that is based around Japanese mythology! How awesome does that sound?

But upon reading it, I was utterly baffled. BAFFLED, I SAY!

Okay, lemme just put it this way. Take the Karate Kid movies for example, the original and the remake. The original only had the kid move to a new town, while the remake has him move all the way to another continent. What I'm trying to say is that, this book is just taking the age-old cliche of girl-moves-to-a-new-town thing a step further, but it's still a goddamn cliche.

Y'know what, I'll just say it up front. I think this book is very similar to . . . Twilight. *ducks and covers* Wait, wait, hear me out! YOU read this book and tell me you don't notice the similarities. >_< Or rather, just look at the cliches I listed above and tell me that doesn't sound like Twilight. This book basically takes the Twilight plot, changes up the supernatural aspect, and makes the setting in Japan. There, I said it. ._. And I'm not taking it back.

I'll give the book credit that I did enjoy the beginning parts though, mostly because it was such a nice change to read a YA book that takes place in Japan of all places. I loved seeing the culture and things of that nature. But since I'm not that knowledgeable on Japanese-related things, I'm not sure if the author got down everything perfectly or butchered it, so I'll let the experts critique that. I enjoyed it, though. It's why I gave the book an extra star.

But ultimately, all of that was overshadowed by the sheer unoriginality of the plot. And the clusterfuck of cliches. Initially I liked Katie, the protagonist, but it didn't take long for her to become a Mary Sue, and even becoming a borderline stalker of the Lucinda Price kind. Like really, she did not know when to leave Tomohiro alone. I mean yeah, I get that you're curious about him, but let the guy have his secrets, for cry eye.

Tomohiro's your typical "get-away-from-me-I'm-dangerous" hero. Except for the fact that he's Asian, there's literally nothing that makes him stand out among the hoards of YA badboys. And the romance between him and Katie . . . ugh. Apparently Katie also has something to do with the supernatural aspect, and if she keeps being around Tomo his powers might "spiral out of control".

Even the supernatural element wasn't that interesting. It was just . . . there. I thought there would be like some kind of other world inside the drawings, y'know? I just thought it would be a lot more epic than it is. But nope. It was just like, whatever, and the book's main focus was on whether or not Katie and Tomo will be together or not, because . . . just . . . read these:

"There was this nagging, unsettling feeling, like the balance of the world was tipping."
— Katie, talking about the fact that Tomohiro might be avoiding her.

"We lay there clinging to each other, knowing the world would tilt if we let go, that without each other everything would fall out of balance."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You really think that the whole world would fall out of balance if you two aren't together? WHAT KIND OF—

The book ended in the most predictable way possible, and I'm not sure I'll be reading any more books from this series. Or maybe I will, just to see if there will be any improvements at all, because . . . God, the potential. This had all the potential to be a fantastic book, but the smorgasbord of cliches and the recycled plot just ruined it all.

Although, I will give the book this: I think it would work well as an Anime or Manga, due to all the tropes. Animes and Mangas are always covered in cliches and cheese, so I feel like if this book were an Anime or Manga instead, I would have somewhat excused it, maybe even enjoyed it. But no, I'm just at a point where I'm tired of seeing YA books that don't break the mold in any way. All this book did as far as innovation in YA goes was be set in Japan. That's literally it.

A book has never broken my heart in this way, and guuurl does it hurt. ._. I did get one lesson learned out of reading this book, though. It's to never have such high hopes for a book ever again, because it could lead to devastating results. I guess all I can do is hope for the best and expect the worst with YA at this point.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for sending me this galley. And right on my birthday—April 2nd—too. At the time I thought it was the perfect birthday present but now . . . uh . . . thanks anyways.
Profile Image for Shannon.
3,090 reviews2,361 followers
August 13, 2017
Completely LOVED this book. If you've ever watched a Japanese drama, you know exactly what to expect. Cute bad boys, a gutsy girl, silly friends, and DRAMA. Throw in a paranormal twist and you've got a blockbuster. It was so authentic too, this author obviously lived and breathed in Japan and it shows. Everything was meticulously researched down to the food, kendo, the customs, the language, how real Japanese teens talk ... everything. It made me miss my Japanese classes so much to read about how these things looked through a gaijin's eyes, just like I had for so long. And I've been to Tokyo and it's one of the most welcoming, bizarre, lovely, crazy busy, and wonderful places I've ever been. (I'm sure Shizuoka is just as beautiful.)

The absolute worst thing about this whole book though? Giving me one chapter of the next book at the end.


Forgot to add, the arc was given to me by NetGalley. ありがとうございました。

Reading the negative reviews, I understand now why they're so up-and-down. Japanese (and Korean) dramas are definitely an acquired taste. They're formulaic. They're basically soap operas, but I ate them up for years while I was studying Japanese and fell in unabashed love.

And this book pulled up those memories and made me long to visit Japan all over again.

Here's a link to Toro Iseki, so you can see where Tomo and Katie spent so much time together. And jeez,

Can't wait for the next book.


Profile Image for Kiki.
193 reviews8,458 followers
July 19, 2018
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 bih my thung.
Profile Image for Kitty.
211 reviews81 followers
November 3, 2016

I can't believe I have it in me to hate a fictional character's actions this much.

I know a lot of people are super excited about this book.

I'm here to help you with that problem.

Ok, so you're a white girl in Asia. Your mom has died, you're living with your hip aunt who teaches English in a medium/small Japanese city. You're making a few friends, sloshing your way through homework when BAMB! Your obligatory love interest suddenly enters the picture. Will he be cool? Will he be funny? How do you think you two will meet?

How about you see him for the first time as he's in a scream fight, breaking up with his current girlfriend because she just found out he got a girl pregnant? Romantic! Let me make it better for you - you also learn that he almost got taken to jail when he was 9 for repeatedly stabbing his best friend (kid almost lost an eye) and then had to transfer schools. But wait! He's also got mafia connections! That's right kids - Yakuza. The same people responsible for smuggling blond girls into the country and forcing them into the sex trade. But because he's the cool type he's also emotionally distant and constantly posing.

While I was reading this I constantly had to keep from hitting my head against the wall. Of course poor Tomo is just really misunderstood and there are PERFECTLY REASONABLE EXPLANATIONS behind all of the above, but even before Katie *knows* for certain that he's not responsible she still falls for him! To make matters worse we never really get solid evidence until the last moment that he's not someone's baby's daddy with a violent past. Most of their discussions around these things go like

"I heard blah blah blah about you."

"I didn't do it. LOOK! MAGIC!"

"I believe you without question! MAKE OUT WITH ME".

How fucking stupid is this girl?

You can't just put pregnant girlfriend, violent guy on the table and then not deal with that. And even if we learn he was innocent of not attacking his friend back in elementary school at one point Tomo confesses to Katie that he regularly goes along with his best friend in the mob to shake down guys for him. We hear he's constantly getting into fights and has had to drop out of schools/clubs because of this. HIS VIOLENT BEHAVIOR IS NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT. WE HAVE HEARD AGAIN AND AGAIN ABOUT OTHER FIGHTS. WHY IS THIS GUY SUPPOSED TO BE SO SEXY?

To make matters even worse this book was one hell of a mess in the writing department. You remember how when Twilight first came out there was this big hullabaloo over how many times Bella would mention the word "topaz" in relation to Edward? Well here the word of the day is "bangs". I swear to god Sun must have a hair fetish because she describes Tomo's (and every other male character) bangs getting in his eyes every other freaking page. How does this guy even see? There are also SO MANY GOD DAMN JAPANESE WORDS in this. If a word exists for it in English, why not use it? God damn my first degree was in Japanese and this annoyed the shit out of me.

Thrown into this hot, bland mess is some shit conveniently made up about Japanese spirits. Considering these are the guys that I think most people will be interested in reading about they're given surprisingly little explanation and on screen time. What we are told about them is sort of a fly by night explanation that goes "Kami are gods. They used to be powerful but then they had to go underground in WWII and now nobody knows about them."

All I could think about was how fucking close the author was cutting it. WWII? Really? So Kami were active up until the middle of the century, but no one believes in them or talks about them now? Don't you think that if the nation were aware of these super beings they would have used them as war weapons? How come the gov didn't figure that one out but mob bosses do? But trying to think too hard about this just my brain hurt worse.

Over all this was not the worst teen book of the season (it's far too early in the year for me to call that one), but it sure is close. I get that the author is super sweet and really smart, but honey, that don't mean you can write. This was one big boring teen romance from start to finish with characters that kept making stupid decisions. The character's actions made NO SENSE, the guys were shady, the main character was stupid, the romance was about as interesting as an unwrapped maxi-pad and twice as clean. "Let me confess my love to you and then just hold you tenderly. Oh what? We're making out chapter's later? Let me find a convenient excuse to not feel you up."

As much as I hate to say it, I do think this will find an audience though. If for no other reason than because this book is EXACTLY like a manga in almost every respect. The characters, the plot, their interactions. I wonder why this wasn't pitched as a comic first?

Edit :

The cover. The girl's lips. It's been bothering me ever since I first saw it but I think I remember where I've seen those lips before.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.2k followers
September 11, 2013
I actually thought it was illegal for a novel with a cover this good to be so painful. Illegal! But when I checked with my lawyer, she said I should get out unless I was going to pay her – and I am definitely not going to pay her! Pfft. So I’m still not sure about that. But what I am sure about is that Amanda Sun has a lot of potential as a writer, even if this book was a painful mess for me. I know that doesn’t seem to make sense. Even I can’t explain it.


It’s redeeming feature is that, once the relationship between Katie and Tomo was underway, the story did pick up considerably due to the not-insignificant sexual chemistry between the two. No points if you’re able to guess the reason for that!

Bishounen. Yum

Okay, I lie. I never really got Katie’s Tomo obsession. I can tell Amanda Sun has a talent and knack for manufacturing a sweet and tender relationship. When Tomo and Katie were together, it was the only time I really liked them. Individually, though, meeeeehhhhhh. Tomo was more like the paper drawings he made – just a bunch of ink on the page.

Katie fares only marginally better. This girl must seriously be a 9/11 truther or false flagger. Everything makes her suspicious. Give her a look and she’ll stalk you for months! Teenage boy spends time alone? Most normal people would rightly assume excessive masturbation on his part. Not Katie. Something’s gotta be up with that, amirite? I could make fun of her all day, but you have to give it to her. Crazy stalker or not, the girl has agency. She believes in her instincts, stands up for herself and makes her own decisions. Especially when it comes to the decision to stalk. Gotta give that girl some serious stalking props too, may I add.

So the characters can be flat and irritating, but the story still has entertainment value and the setting itself is detailed and almost lovingly illustrated for the reader. But, and here’s the big BUT. Narratives are a bit like pitches. If you see them coming too often then it’s gameover. Ink has so many tells, I hope it doesn’t play cards. The characters are always about five steps behind the reader and every plot point is thoroughly predictable.

Ultimately, it’s not a horrible book. It’s just generic, which is the most disappointing of all. Because for many people out there, Japan and everything related to it holds a special place in our hearts. So when an author is setting their novel there, it really needs to be something amazing. It needs to be near perfection to live up to all our hopes and dreams. There’s a lot of power in fulfilling hopes and dreams. And you know what they say about great power?

Spiderman fooling around

Goddamn it, Ink! Will you take this seriously?!

This review, and others like it, also appear on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher for reviewing purposes. This did not entice me to be any less annoyingly opinionated than I would otherwise be.
Profile Image for Lisbeth Avery {Domus Libri}.
196 reviews154 followers
April 14, 2013
I've been really wondering if I read the right book or if I somehow got sent a different book on accident. It's seems like the most logical explanation for this failure I read. The real INK just can't be this bad, right?

... right?

The reason INK was so bad was because it was so average. There wasn't anything unique about it other than the premise of paper gods. It's a very standard YA paranormal romance that deviates very little from the set of "rules" that much of the genre follows. Y'know, this stuff:

- someone moves into new town
This step is a must because how else are you going to find an awesome, mysterious guy that the heroine doesn't know? While the love interest can be the one to move to the town, it is much preferred to have the heroine move as to add to her outcasty, uniqueness. durh

- girl has trouble at school
This is also a must. The girl must have enemies so add a popular girl and get some stupid and silly reason for her to utterly despise the main character. Sometimes there isn't even a reason really.

- "best friends"
These "best friends" usually have zero personality and are used as filler material. There isn't any real reason for them other than nice and cheap plot and character development. Often they are used to push the heroine into the love interest.

- the heroine must bump into a hot paranormal dude
The sad part about this is that when I say, "bumps into", I mean quite literally as the heroine usually falls into the love interest. I'm quite certain that every one of these guys have the power to somehow make the force of gravity stronger on these heroines.

Well, they don't call them "paranormal dudes" for nothing.


INK fits into every one of these categories and more. It's like Amanda Sun had a pile of clichés and very poorly stitched them together. The main character, Katie, not only moves into a new town, she moves into a new country and continent.

Wow, way to take that nice and far.

While you can't often escape clichés and tropes, I really hate when the entire book is such walking cliché like INK is. There isn't a single point that makes this book even sort of redeemable unless you count the fact that it's set in Japan. Katie is an extremely annoying character and the romance is so insta that you just need to add water.

Katie is, for the most part, a bland Mary Sue. She can't lie at all. This character point is actually really depressing if you count the fact that it's one of the first things that come to mind when I think of her. She loves to endanger her life - y'know because you obviously it's a perfect idea to stalk a guy who supposedly beat up his best friend. She often morphs into possessive stalker a la Lucinda Price. She's also got a habit of being incredibly overdramatic:

I stared at him, my hands shaking. I'd been standing until then, but my legs buckled under me and I sank down to my knees beside him. I opened and closed my mouth, but no sound.
- 21% in ARC

What elicited this response? He told her that his mother is dead. She was having a completely normal conversation and then all of a sudden, she just falls to the ground. Guys, read the passage in a really dramatic voice and picture that. It's so hilarious.

Tomo is pretty bland as a character. He's supposed to be this awesome hunk with an equally awesome personality but tbh, he's more of a hot guy than anything else. He doesn't have any qualities that jump out at you, whether they are positive or negative. He's a nonentity that I really don't care about.

The one fairly redeeming quality that saved this book from a disgusted DNF was the setting and the lore. I am the biggest lore sucker there ever was. I live for it. The lore behind the paranormal aspect of INK was interesting enough to keep me reading. If Sun had focused on this aspect instead of the romance, the book would have been so much better and actually would have lived up to the hype.

The writing was fairly average for the most part but I really enjoyed the sequences that described Tomo's art. They really felt like what I thought the book would be like. The was so magical and really, truly awesome. It was moments like this that kept me turning the pages quickly.

This book has so much wasted potential that it almost makes me sad to think about it. It could have been so amazing if it weren't for the averageness of the story, it could have gotten a much higher rating. I cannot recommend this to anyone and I won't be reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Jeff.
143 reviews401 followers
November 5, 2017
Beautiful.......even more beautiful............i'm crying now..........amazing..........Tomo!!!!!!!
** Excuse me for a moment as I squeal my lungs out***

This book was awe-inspiring, awesome, funny, you name it! Ink stars a foreign girl named Katie who moves to Japan. There, she tries to fit in with her surroundings, whether it's actions, language or people. And that's where we bring in Tomohiro!
Katie finds him fighting with someone and decides to follow him once school has let out. But, instead of discovering why he's so mysterious, she gives him a full view of whats underneath her skirt.
Now that's something you don't see everyday! ;)
But kids, don't be a pervert. She's obviously wearing underwear. Gosh.

After humiliating herself in front of a cute guy, and (also discovering he's not on drugs), Katie learns her lesson.
And for main characters like her, we all know that her lesson is to keep following him like a stalker.
That's right, persevere.
But what does this lead to? Hehe, you'll never know unless you read the book. :)
Profile Image for Anzû.
548 reviews1,108 followers
May 31, 2013

This started out as a pretty good book. I liked the setting, I love Japanese culture and yes I watch J and K dramas so I was hoping this one will shape out as one of them. But cooler. Don’t judge me. The author did a very good job with the feel of the culture and people. At least at the beginning of the book. I wanted to have a better description of the city, though. I didn’t manage to form an image for it in my mind and it kind of frustrated me, among other things that I will mention as we go on.

As I mentioned before, the book was pretty good for about 2-3 chapters. Then Katie, our lovely MC, meets Tomohiro, the hot Japanese dude, and she becomes obsessed with him. Literally obsessed.

I can’t believe the amount of stupid shit this girl did. Climbing a tall wall and screaming after a stranger like a lunatic only to remember that you’re wearing a skirt and half the school can see your underwear. Buying a bike just to stalk your current obsession BECAUSE you’re sure he’s up to something! What the hell?!
What he was hiding, why he was pushing me away.

He’s just a stranger who wants nothing to do with you. And you are a stalker who keeps on bothering him. It’s that simple.
Maybe he was onto me. Maybe he was messing with me again.

Another thing that pissed me off about this book is the love triangle. Of course we had to have a love triangle. And it’s forced as fuck. What would a Young Adult book be without a love triangle? Our lovely Katie Greene gets not one, but two guys with overly sweet smelling hair gels. It’s Japan after all; they all have hair gels and ear rings. It’s a thing there. So yeah, you get the too sweet, too kind, always there to help third wheel. You need to teach young girls to friendzone the good guys and go for the dicks. That’s how life goes.

Another thing that bothered me, small as it is, is how easy the Mc managed to have complex conversations in Japanese only after a few months of studying the language. As far as I know Japanese is a difficult language and requires a lot of time to master. Is she a genius for managing to achieve this so fast? She didn’t act like a genius throughout the part that I barely managed to read. Just sayin’.

What else didn’t I pick on? The story is silly and boring, the characters are cheesy and boring. There were some drawings in the book – they looked cool. Not really impressed for some reason. And Katie and Tomohiro’s relationship “evolved” way too fast.
“Warui,” he whispered in apology, and I knew then that I couldn’t live without him, even when he was infuriating. Which was pretty much all the time.

And the drop that filled the cup
“Suki,” he breathed, I love you, and then the softness of his lips pressed against mine and the world caught fire, everything light and f lame and burning.

Ok, so first of all, from what I know, Japanese people take their time with dropping the “I love you” bomb more than Westerners. They go more for something like “I like you” first and “I love you” when it’s really serious. I’m 50% in and he’s already declaring his love. This is complete bull.

After this point I couldn’t make myself go on with the book and I had to drop it. I have no idea if things get better later on, and to tell you the truth I don’t give a monkey’s ass if they do, and I really don’t care about any of the characters. If it were to me they should all die and save ourselves the trouble of reading these silly books. Cancel a series, save a tree. You know, important stuff.

Review also posted on
Profile Image for Taschima.
860 reviews394 followers
April 6, 2013

I am not going to lie, Ink may as well be the one of the best debut titles of 2013, if not the very best. It has everything, EVERYTHING I didn't know I was looking for so badly. Mixing the old with the new, Ink gives us the dangerous heart stopping tale we always crave in a completely new setting that involves paper gods, kendo clubs, and sizzling Japanese style romance.

Katie lost her mother, and soon after her homeland. With her grandfather battling cancer Katie has no choice but to move in with her aunt, Diane, who is an English teacher living in Japan. Now Katie not only has to deal with the crippling pain of losing her mother, but she also has to learn three different alphabets and try not to embarrass herself on a daily basis. From this point forward her life shall never be the same. Then she meets Tomohiro, a kendo star and a secret artist, and her life gets double complicated. Soon after she starts seeing drawings start to move and all hell breaks loose. Is she crazy? Or the more frightening option, what if she is not?

Katie is a likable main character. Right off the bat I liked this girl, she is lost, so totally lost in her new home, but she really tries. Although some times I was a little frustrated with some of her reactions when it came to Tomohiro (girl is slightly obsessed, with a sort of good reason but not even I would have gone after Tomo like that). I like how she embraced the Japanese culture, made friends, and even managed to fall in love, all while never losing sight of her inner pain. Amanda Sun handled the situation beautifully, not making it seem like Katie completely forgot about her mother but still letting her fall hard. Which leads us to...

Tomo, and the sexy ass romance. I have watched this show called Playful Kiss (South Korean romantic-comedy series) so when Tomo at the beginning was all hot and cold and seemed not to make sense I instantly connected him with the main male character from the show Baek Seung Jo. Which is why I wasn't too mad at him I guess? But in all seriousness this guy avoided telling the truth even more than Edward Cullen. It was frustrating, but then again it adds to the intrigue. Tomo is at the end of the day just a sweet sexy guy with an incredible connection to the dark side. I loved him! He is just so... complicated, and kind of a jerk at times true but overall he is a good guy at heart. They can't all be perfect, then again who wants perfect?

I know he is not Japanese, but he is just the person that came to mind while reading Ink.

And oh gosh the romance!! When even referring to someone by their first name is proof of intimacy you know you have another thing coming! A mere touch is enough to make you swoon. It's so romantic, and everyone is blushing and and...


AHHH!! There is also some very steam worthy scenes so be prepared and brace yourself (see picture above for confirmation).

But, I would have to say one of my favorite parts of the whole book was Japan. The way that Amanda Sun describes day to day Japan just makes you want to be there and experience it. After reading the book I went online to look for a way to learn Japanese, because it is just so intriguing! The food (the food!), the sights, the devious men (would it make me a horrible person if I said specially this? Oh Tomo)... I too want to spend a day watching the Sakura with friends while eating a picnic. I also liked how we get to experience Japan through Katie's eyes (an Amerika-jin) which helps us not only to connect with her in this completely new experience/difficult time but also to be able to dive into the culture little by little thus helping us not get overwhelmed with information.

At the end I had a lot of unanswered questions of course. I wanted some more background story on Katie and her parents (where is her dad? who is her dad?). I also had questions about the Paper Gods and how is Katie exactly connected to them, why? But I am guessing these silly things shall all be answered in the next books so I am not letting myself obsessed about it and just go with the flow. Amanda Sun will take care of it, I know she will.

You guys HAVE to read Ink. It was just too good, and refreshing to pass up! You will stay up hours into the night reading this book, I guarantee it.
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,116 followers
June 29, 2013

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my thoughts in any way.

Disclaimer: This can be very rant-y. And maybe a little spoiler-y.

Like a lot of people out there, I love Japanese culture. I've read a LOT of mangas, edited and translated a few, have my own scanlation group, watched a lot of JDramas, sang so many of their songs, watched animes (ONE PIECE FTW FOLKS), etc. etc. I mean, I'm far from being the ultimate otaku, but there was a point in my life that I listened, watched, and read Japanese material exclusively. So, yes, aside from the delicious cover, Ink drew me in simply for its premise. Sure, it's already riddled with clichés (new girl moving to town, paranormal guy who doesn't want the heroine near him 'cause he's dangerous...), but the execution is what's important. And the characters. The characters have to be likeable. Or else. I go grumpy. Like a mean cat.

Unfortunately, what this book garnered is having the most status updates from me. Check out this review and scroll down and you'll see a WALL of text of ranting and just me being overly annoyed with the heroine's stupidity. I tell you, she's the most obnoxious little thing EVER! But first, let's get to the good stuff before I transform into the angry Hulk, yes?


Okay, first, Sun's writing is pretty refreshing. She really knows how to write and I applaud her for that. Her prose, although awkward at times, was a delight to read. I think there needed more build up in some certain areas, though, but generally, it's pretty good. And I love how well-written and researched this book is. You can really feel you're in Japan, and needless to say, it felt like watching some animes and reading some mangas all over again. She got the attitudes right, the honorifics right, the language right ("Sonna wake nai jan!" really got to me. You hear that in every anime/jdrama), etc. It felt like it's a tribute to a particular audience, y'know? For those who love Japanese culture... because it felt too familiar to me, so I kind of understand why other people can't really get into it. The sprinkling of Japanese words did seem a little too much (and weren't they already speaking Japanese? So why put Japanese words in the dialogue?). My only concern was that the glossary was a bit underwhelming. I definitely think a few more solid explanations could've been put for some words.

THE NEGATIVE ( ゜∀゜)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ / \

Whoo boy... here comes the negative...

Okay. The only negative factor that I found here is the heroine, Bella swan Katie Greene. She's a blonde American who traveled across the globe to live with her aunt after her mom died and her grandparents are still not in the condition yet to care for her. so here's sulky Katie Greene, who wants nothing of Japan and only cares about going home to the land of the free. THEN... she meets elusive, dangerous, but cool Yuu Tomohiro, and here is where the shit goes down down down down down...

I hate Katie Greene. Or Greene Katie. Whatever. I HATE HER.

My wall of text of status updates is dedicated to this stupid, impulsive, silly girl who can't make herself to stay put for 2 seconds. I initially liked this gaijin who felt lost in an all-new world, but after meeting the love interest, she started becoming so obnoxious that I couldn't help but rage every fricking chapter. So, why do I hate her?

One, she's very impulsive and obnoxious. She was so curious about Tomohiro that she kept on stalking him and bothering him. She made it a point to always find him in the crowd, and when they do find each other and he goes all cold on her, she would say, "That guy has it for me! What a meanie! He should stay away from me!" THE FUCK?? Isn't that what you should be telling yourself? You eavesdropped on a private conversation, made a fool of yourself by climbing a fucking tree to "make war", and you have the gall to say that he was the one bothering you? After climbing that tree of her own will "half" of the school saw her skirt AND SHE EVEN BLAMED IT ON THE POOR BOY!! Like seriously? If I were Tomohiro, I'd be running away from you, too. Why? Cause you're a crazy dumbass, that's why!

She's so curious about him she stalks him day in and day out.So, there was this scene where she followed him to this garden, and another where she bought a bike because she saw him ride a bike and decided it was smart to follow him in the same manner, etc. etc. And then when they met again, she was told, "Stay away from me." and she thought to herself, "That's my line."



And then not to mention she would be so wishy-washy after...
I want him to leave me alone... didn't I? I never wanted to see him again... right?

(ノд-。) OMG. Make up your own damn mind. Just admit your eyes went Ka-Ching Insta-Love! and leave us out of your torturous monologues. And then she went on to say that it was Tomohiro who wanted to mess with her head. She was so fucking certain he's out there to get her when she was the one who's been trying her damn hardest to get his fucking attention. See the inconsistency? Nah, you're just a dumbass, Katie. A big, big moron. It was like this for the first 20% and needless to say, while I was reading that much, I was soooo tempted to just drop it then and there. I can't stand the heroine. I just can't.

So cue in another hot guy who (gasp!) told her she was beautiful and she felt like she betrayed Tomohiro somehow by liking that. LOLOLOLOLOL. Say what? You felt that when just a few moments ago you were chastising him? WHAT. You guys weren't even a couple yet and she felt like she betrayed him... Uh-huh...

Second, she's so forceful and selfish. Obviously, our dear love interest had his own secrets up his sleeves, precious secrets he wasn't not ready to tell anyone yet. But Katie? Wait? She ain't got time fo' that! So what did she do, you ask? Why, she went on forcing him to spill his beans! And every time she did this little stunt of hers I get so upset because she didn't seem to care about what those secrets could mean to him. She just wanted to satiate her own curiosity. Like, girl. The dude has secrets, we get that. Let him say them to you in his own time, okay? Give it a rest! He'll eventually tell you!! CHILLAX. THE WORLD AIN'T GONNA END, YO! ( ≖_ゝ≖ )

Third, she overreacts. A LOT. She overanalyzes the simplest of things like everything fucking revolves around her. One scene that made me see red was this Kendo match. Tomohiro and Ishikawa were sparring each other, and she saw how focused Tomohiro was, and then she went, Perhaps Yuki and Tanaka were right... maybe I shouldn't get near him. Maybe he really is dangerous. LIKE LOOOOOOOL!!!!! DUDE!!!! DUUUUUUUUDE!!!! LOOK AROUND, WHAT DO YOU SEE? THAT'S RIGHT! A KENDO MATCH! Of-fucking-course he'd be focused as hell and be all "HAAAAH!" Do you want him to do jump ropes or something or do ballet? HECK NO! It's a fucking contact sport. Good god.

And when they did finally get together (ugh...), there would be moments where she'd drop lines like "she can't live without him", that the guy "want her like he never wanted anything". Like, whoa. OK. And when she suspected he was avoiding her, she felt like the balance of the world was tipping. LOLOLOL! Gosh, girl...Obnoxious much? You need to slow the fuck down. Seriously.

And here's what sealed the deal of why she's my most hated heroine ever.

So when everything was going apeshit, Tomohiro brought her to a love hotel and tried to rape her. She was all hurt, and ran away. THEN... eventually, she got to the realization that it was all an act!
I was a moron. An absolute, total moron.

It wasn’t like Tomohiro to take me to a love hotel, to say the things he’d said. He was messing with me to get me to hate him.

To save me.

Girl... girrrrl. Are you listening to yourself right now? That IS not romantic at all, and that is not the right way to think. Whether or not he pretended to rape you to protect you, it's still downright wrong, and I can't believe you're thinking you were the stupid one. Hurting others to protect them is not cool, okay?!?!


Okay. This has gone a wee bit too far.

Overall, the heroine ruined everything for me. As in I couldn't help but seethe every time she does something that annoys me and it totally ruined the reading experience. And as others have said, it's a clusterfuck of clichés, too, so that also influenced this rating. I'm unsure whether or not I'll read the next books, but I'll definitely read other books from Amanda Sun that's not in this series. If I have to endure one more page of Katie yapping, I'll go insane. Seriously.

Final verdict: 2 stars
Profile Image for Debby.
583 reviews540 followers
April 16, 2021
2 stars

It is with a heavy heart that I sit down to write this review. You see, Ink was my most highly anticipated debut. In fact, it was one of my most highly anticipated 2013 releases. A book, set in Japan, about a fantasy world where ink drawings come to life? That sounded like everything I could ever want and more. And yet, it turned out to be something totally not for me. And despite how high my expectations were, it would have been no different if I had absolutely no idea what this book was about beforehand.

Let me start by saying that this book is stunning, design-wise. Not only does it have that beautiful cover, but given that it's a story about ink drawings coming to life, there are illustrations within the book and flip-book animations as well. The chapter headings are also stunning. All in all, it's one of the most beautiful books I've ever read - the design is truly a work of art.

Two of the best things about this novel are the setting and Amanda Sun's writing. She showed a deep understanding of the Japanese culture, and descriptions of the setting truly painted a beautiful picture. I felt like I was there, even though I've never been to Japan before. Her writing is beautiful and easily digestible. After reading so many debuts this year, I can only say the same for about two other books. I wouldn't have expected this to be a debut. So I'm excited to read more of her work.

But... perhaps not in this series.

Let's start with the characters. Katie, the main character, is, to me, rather unlikable. She is impulsive and extremely love sick. But we'll get to that second one in a bit. Her impulsiveness just caused her to make all the wrong choices. Aside from those two personality traits, she fell flat. She lacked character depth and considering her back-story of being thrust into a vastly different culture and just having gone through the death of her mother, I did not expect that. Tomohiro is... well, picture your basic drool-worthy anime character. Then minus some of the drool, because he also lacked the kind of depth that would really make him attractive.

The concept was still wonderfully unique and relatively well-executed. Amanda Sun's fantasy world had a ton of potential, which made for an intriguing plot. However, I felt like it was over before it began - and for 377 pages, that's a weird thing to say. I felt like the plot centered way too much on the romance. When the action scenes arrived, they were over just like that. The fantasy world was still left largely unexplored. And at the end, I felt extremely cheated. I didn't feel like I ever got to a climax, though it may have also been due to the fact that around 50 pages at the end of the book consist of the glossary, acknowledgements, interview, discussion questions, preview of the next book. The ending was completely unexpected, because I thought I had a lot longer to go. It just fell flat.

I feel I must also warn you that Ink features a lot of romanized Japanese dialogue. And even as someone who has watched so much anime and J-Dramas that I can understand all those phrases without a second thought, I found it to become a bit irritating. I feel like it often got in the way of the flow of the dialogue, especially as the Japanese phrases were usually translated into English right after. I appreciate the effort to include those phrases to make the setting more authentic and to show how Katie was still learning the language, but I can't help but wonder if there was a better way to accomplish that. If it even got on my nerves a little, I can only imagine how it feels for a reader with no knowledge of Japanese.

What bothered me a lot throughout the novel was the constant use of YA stereotypes. You have the helpless Katie, who is head over freaking heels for Tomohiro (we'll get there). You have Tomohiro, who seems like he has split personalities - is dark and scary one moment, and then the most romantic guy ever the next. You have the absentee parent - in this case, aunt. (I really didn't understand that - Katie's aunt gives her a cell phone, and then later, when Katie need to call someone for help, she doesn't have her aunt's number - are you kidding me?) You have the obnoxious best friend who almost yells to the whole school that Katie slept over at Tomohiro's house (seriously??). The list goes on. These all just give me a massive urge to *headdesk*.

Now, let's get down to business. The romance to me is baffling and ultimately the biggest reason for my disappointment. Let me take you through a chronological order of this romance, actually: Katie sees Tomohiro break up with a girl in a totally heartless way because supposedly he cheated on her and got another girl pregnant. He sees her and glares at her. Katie's friends warn her to stay away from him; he has a bad reputation. But no, she sees something in his eyes that would prove he's not so heartless. So she STALKS him. Seriously. Stalks this guy she's been told to stay away from because he's dangerous.

The more Tomohiro didn't want me to delve into his past, the more I needed to.
Ink by Amanda Sun

But yeah, then the cliché arrives, and he's really got a heart of gold but tries to keep everyone at a distance. At 41% of the novel, this little gem appears.

'Warui,' he whispered in apology, and I knew then that I couldn't live without him, even when he was infuriating. Which was pretty much all the time.
Ink by Amanda Sun

They are barely together at this point. But she can't live without him. Oh hello, Bella, I didn't know you became a blonde and moved to Japan. How interesting. Some odd number of pages after that, they say, "I love you" to each other, and THEN have their first kiss. Is it just me, or does this sound like it's totally out of order? I mean, okay, Japanese culture, confessing before a kiss is common, so I'll give you that one, but the can't live without him? Please. Please. Take your instalove and leave.

Wait-- What-- No-- I told you to leave!

Tomohiro's eyes met mine, and in them there was none of the darkness that I had seen in the hotel, no ugliness or hatred. I saw only our link, the axis that kept our worlds spinning, that kept us in balance. And I knew that neither of us could leave the other.
Ink by Amanda Sun

Clearly, I didn't know what I was getting into. I didn't expect this book to be so romance-centric. And I didn't expect the romance itself to be such sickeningly sweet instalove with poor development. I think part of it stemmed from the fact that some of the more casual scenes where they were spending time together and getting to know each other were skipped (mentioned in passing later) in favor of getting to another scene where Katie annoyingly decides its her prerogative to stalk her boyfriend whenever he seems to be keeping anything from her. That all doesn't really make this an endearing, convincing, or healthy relationship. It totally lacked chemistry. (Oh yeah, did I mention the part where he forced her into a love hotel, acting like he was going to rape her--to try to break up with her?)

Don't get me wrong, I love anime and J-Dramas as much as the next Japanophile, and if this story were told in that format, I may have enjoyed it. But the addition of Katie's love sick inner monologues pushed the cliché and sickeningly sweet over the top, and I couldn't enjoy it anymore.

Summing Up:

I feel awful now. I loved the concept of this book (which was still relatively cool) and I love the author, who is unbelievably awesome. But the book didn't work for me. The romance made it almost unbearable and honestly made me consider giving up. Writing this review was seriously painful. But I always feel I must be honest, so despite my love for Amanda Sun and my hope that a shit ton of readers will love this book anyway, I had to write this review. (`・ω・´)ゞ

Recommended To:

Hardcore animanga fans (which apparently I am not) and people not as instalove-averse.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the contents of the review.
Profile Image for bibz reads.
124 reviews3 followers
April 5, 2013
This one was a HUGE DNF for me.
If I were to sum it up in one sentence... IT'S A BOOK WRITTEN FOR WEABOOS OKAY...

Every single sentence there's some random HAI or SOU DESU KA inserted THAT MAKES ME WANT TO RIP MY HAIR OUT!!! OH GOD. There were sOO many cringe-worthy moments where I actually slammed the book shut and was tempted to throw it into the garbage can.

Don't get me into the FIRST NAME - LAST NAME whole culture thing. The main character (can't remember her name anymore... Greene?) calls the main guy by his first name, saying that in America everyone calls each other by their first names... BUT SHE'S KNOWN HIM FOR HOW LONG? I'M DONE, .. . .

AND THE THING THAT IRKED ME THE MOST... was how her conversations with the male lead were exactly as if they were speaking in English. And it's even stated that she's NOT FLUENT. By the way, why are you even adding random Japanese into the sentences? Isn't that kind of inception like, since they're already speaking in japanese? If you know what I mean.

I tried REALLy hard to finish this one, but I just COULDN'T . I was so excited it for it but it ended up being the biggest let down... EVER. The worst part?

During their make out scene, there are random SUKI-DESUs inserted that ACTUALLY MADE ME CRY TEARS OF AGONY.
I would not recommend this if you have any shred of sanity. I nearly lost mine.
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.2k followers
July 9, 2013
My overwhelming thought process while reading this and upon finishing it was "THIS SHOULD BE AN ANIME!!"*

While walking around a book store with my friend Catriona, from LittleBookOwl (OHYEAHNAMEDROPPING), we found two copies of this book sitting on a shelf with stickers proclaiming 'Signed Copy'. We looked at each other for a moment and knew we couldn't leave the store without these books. The plot sounded interesting, it's a brand new release that lots of people talking about, AND IT WAS SIGNED AND ITS PRETTY WE JUST HAD TO.

The biggest reason I wanted this book (and why I had added to my Goodreads To-Read list a few weeks prior) was because it takes place in Japan. All of the books I read always take place in the states and I want more diversity! The world is not the US and this book showed me the beautiful world of Japan. I would recommend it just for the beautiful scenery and world building of Japan. The author has lived in Japan and that comes off wonderfully when you're reading. But it's not Only the scenery.. It's the culture, the constant use of Japanese (with a helpful glossary in the back of the book), the immersion into an other world through the eyes of an outsider character.

The second thing that I loved was the paranormal concept.. A world of Japanese gods that can turn ink to life was fascinating and fun. So much could be done with it, and it was interesting to see everything unfold with this awesome new mythology. And along with the prose imagery, you get real beautiful art in this book. Getting to see these ink creatures be drawn brought everything to life and added a gorgeous and graceful touch.

As for negatives, there were a few. I really did not feel any character development or growth, and I felt that the plot started to feel directionless. I didn't know where we were heading, what goal we were trying to achieve, and I didn't feel that the characters knew either. I suspect that the author dragged this book out a bit longer than necessary because she's saving more plot and development for the next book in the series.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The setting of Japan was wonderful (I definitely want more books set in Japan now!), the whole paranormal world was brilliant, and the art was beautiful. There were flaws, but if you just focus on enjoying the story instead of trying to pick it apart its incredibly enjoyable.

** As for my Anime comment.. I STAND BY IT. The moments between the characters I could totally picture in my mind as Anime scenes, the scenery could be beautiful, and I would love to see some Anime artists bring the ink creatures to life. Also, for Fruits Basket fans, I kept picturing the main love interest as Kyo.
Profile Image for Steysha.
109 reviews212 followers
October 14, 2014

The dragon snapped his paper jaws over and over, just out of reach, while the jagged gash vanished under a torrent of blood, overflowing onto the paper and the ground.

To be honest, I don`t understand why this book has such a low rating. Imho, it deserves better. Yes, it has flaws, but to compare it with Twilight? It`s too much. Amanda Sun plunges us into Japanise atmosphere, where the drawings literally come to life, and the offsprings of the ancient gods plan to conquer the world. Personally, I really enjoyed the story.

Katie Greene`s life turns upside down when her mother dies and she has to move to Japan to live with her aunt. She doesn’t know the language and Japanese culture, and has no desire to fit into a new society - she wants to go home. But everything changes when she meets Tomohiro – a boy, whose drawings can move!

She immediately understands that something is wrong with him, and wants to unravel his secrets. Despite the fact that he tries to get rid of her, Katie manages to break his iron armor and get him to open up to her. But his secret entails a great danger - Tomo can`t control his abilities, and Yakuza - Japanese mafia - begins to hunt him, wanting to get their hands on such a valuable specimen. And the more he tries to protect Katie from danger, the more she gets involved in the cycle of viscous ink. Moreover, though she doesn`t have the ability to make drawings come alive, they respond very strange at her presence. What a mystery lies in Katie? And what should the young lovers do, when their love carries nothing but trouble?

As for me, the main problem of this book is Katie. At the beginning of the book, she really annoyed me. When the author tried to present her as a strong girl, who struggles to live in her new environment, I saw her as an ungrateful whiner who only complains and behaves rudely with her aunt. When the author was trying to show her as a single-minded person, I saw her as a stalker. Katie accidentally manages to look into Tomo`s album and see that his picture moves. But she doesn’t think that she’s gone mad, as would any other normal person. No, she decides to pursue Tomohiro, watching him at every turn. And you know what's funny? Tomo is blamed of all mortal sins. She saw him only once, but he already infuriates her. She thinks that he’s very suspicious, he's up to something, and she must get into his business and find out the truth. Let me show you a few examples:
I repeat, they are basically strangers.

I just feel like he’s hiding something. Sometimes he looks so pissed, and other times he looks worried or like I’m in on some kind of secret. I don’t get it—I want to know what’s going on.

Congrats, guys, if you like to be alone, you`re definitely up to something.

«Right,” said Tanaka. “He likes his space. My sister told me he’s always disappearing somewhere—a loner or something, right? I know he’s cold, but don’t take it personally.”
Disappearing somewhere? So he is up to something.»

Tomo has a kendo practice. Katie also signed up for class. Why? Because:

I stared at Tomohiro. I wanted to figure out why he’d ditched calligraphy for kendo and what that glimpse of him in the park had meant. And anyway, the way he stared at me felt like a challenge. Like I had to prove that I could do it, too.

Tomohiro rides to school a bike? Katie also decides to go cycling, to pursue him on the way to school.

«I watched with frustration as he cycled out of sight. If he was trying to keep me at a distance, it couldn’t be good. I knew better than to spy on a boy who put his best friend in the hospital. I did. But I couldn’t get him out of my mind.»

Yes, the guy runs away from you just because he`s hiding something, not because you're inadequate, of course.
But when someone asks Katie why she is chasing him...

«He’s not bothering me. I mean, he is, but—” The words tangled as much as my thoughts. What exactly was he doing?»

No, what are you doing?!
In general, when Katie finally achieves her goal and becomes friends with Tomohiro, she stops being so annoying. I enjoyed reading about their relationships.

A lot of banter, enough romance, they were a cute couple. But as soon as things got worse, Katie turned into damsel in distress. Yes, in difficult times, she was always there for Tomo. But it's the only thing she could offer him. She was dull and caused more problems that solved. And she cried constantly.
But, guys, no matter how bad it sounds, Kathy wasn’t able to spoil the book.

As for characters, I much more liked Tomohiro.

He vaguely reminded me of Noah from Mara Dyer. From the outside, he was a bad guy, but inside he had a very kind soul. But... but... but... He`s overdramatic. Tomo has the ability to make drawings come alive, but he can`t control them, and because of that people who are dear to him get into trouble. Rather than try to understand himself, the guy is turning away from everyone. And all would be fine, but his sacrifice was fanned into a huge problem. He behaved badly with his friends and his ex. He was a total jerk. Well, and what would we do without our favorite theme of self-sacrifice.

It’s worth my life,” he said. “But it isn’t worth yours.

And that's it. Tomo could easily part with his life in order to protect others. Like I said, it's too dramatic for a teen boy. Personally, I was tired of listening to his noble nagging.

What I really liked was a description of Japan and its mythology. I had never been interested in Japan, and this book was a discovery for me. I could not tear myself away from the descriptions of Japanese culture, customs, interesting places - it was written in a very detailed way and it fascinated me. The myth about the paper gods was also new to me, I`ve never heard anything about it before. Battles with the revived drawings were quite believable, and the moments when when ink captured Tomohiro`s mind were really epic. But I won`t go into details, because I can`t do it without spoilers.

I can`t understand why it was needed to put a Japanese mafia into this. If you remove them from the book, the main story won`t change much.

But in general, I really liked the book. Can`t wait to read the sequel. Oh, and I really loved the sketches, bravo to the artist!

Profile Image for Julianna Helms.
277 reviews140 followers
January 29, 2013


Actual, full review: Review will be posted on my blog at 12 AM PST February 7th, 2013, here. Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.

I've heard people say that the best books are the ones that make you homesick for somewhere you've never been.

I don't think I've ever felt so much yearning to be in Japan than I have while reading Ink.

Amanda Sun is my new hero. So often--too often--you read books in foreign settings that are under-researched, not fleshed out, extremely stereotypical, or just plain misleading. But it's clear from the details in the streets to the careful dialect all the way to the food, the culture, the education, the clothing, the style, that Amanda knows what she's talking about. It's amazing. I was listening to the furin wind chimes the other day, and it, among with a few other things I searched up on Google while reading the book, was exactly as Amanda described. Honestly, I don't think I've ever read a book set in modern Asia so well researched.

Not only that, but Amanda's prose is effortless to read. It's not overwhelmingly purple, and it's not disastrously bland. It has the same impact as Rick Riordan's: often humorous, often serious, and too commonly heart-stopping, with the masterful ease of a storytelling guru. I loved the plot and characters so much. Katie is an amazing heroine. In the beginning, there were a few problems with the book that I had, mainly surrounding Katie's almost unrealistic irrational responses to Tomohiro's actions, and the ending was a bit too anticlimatic for my taste. But I got to really see Katie as a real person, and this book reads like an epic soap opera that is just stunning and savory.

Of course, we can't forget Tomohiro. Ahhhh Tomo. TOMO. AHHHH!!!!! I'm sorry, excuse the flailing for a moment. But- OH MY GOSH. I love Tomo so much I can't stand it. He's a jerk, a giant jerk, and that's not cool, but he has extremely good reasons for it and he makes up for the jerkiness with bravery, selflessness, and a desire to change. The number one thing that makes unlikable love interests is their inability to recognize their flaws, and also their unwillingness to change for the better. But Tomo is the complete opposite. And it's just- HE IS SO ADORABLE. AHHHHH. I wish I have a quote to show you, but since I mailed the ARC off already I can't. :( But there's this one part where Katie and Tomo are together and Tomo was injured, and he was talking about how Katie wasn't helping his blood flow recover. A few pages later he's falling asleep, and he just looks at Katie and smiles and says, "the blood flow." It's so cute I think I'm going to die from the adorableness. ^.^

Basically, I loved Ink so much I could probably just blissfully tumble off a cliff just for the sequel now. Hopefully it won't resolve to that...

There are books that you like, books that you love, and then books that make you so happy you just want to drown in chocolate. Ink is that last one, plus a few cherry blossoms just for hints of poison and beauty. It's truly a remarkable book. You absolutely must should check it out. Preferably now.
Profile Image for majo .
653 reviews281 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 5, 2017
DNF AT 29%

I can't read this anymore. and its so sad because the concept was so cool and i thought i'd like this a lot. But the main reason i can't do this anymore is because of Katie Fucking Green, the main character in this book. UGH. she's so stupid i can't stand her. The plot was really interesting and the other characters too. but Katie ruins e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I hate you, Katie.

So let's see. Katie is a 16-year-old girl that has to move to Japan because her mother died and the only person who could take care of her was her aunt, who happens to live there. In her new school, she meets Tomohiro, the most handsome and dangerous guy, when he's breaking up with his girlfriend. And then Katie sees one of his drawings moving and, obviously, she remains shocked. And then, she became the most creepy stalker OF ALL FREAKING TIMES, because she's determined to know why his draw moved. And she starts following him, chase him, and ask people about him. And she discovers some "interesting" things about him. And by "interesting" i mean dark things about his past. Like, you know, that he got a girl pregnant while he had a girlfriend, that he has a friend that is related to the Yakuza. And she starts to "falling" for him. AFTER LIKE ONE WEEK.

the hell?

These are literal quotes from the book:

""Tomohiro headed out first, twisting north out of the Suntaba gate to throw everyone off. “I don’t need any more stalkers,” he said. “One’s enough.”
I rolled my eyes, until he added,“At least she’s a cute one.” He grinned and set off.
Oh, jeez. I was definitely in trouble."

""God he was beautiful. Dangerous things usually are""

"“Greene-san,” he said in accented English, giving me just about the politest suffix he could, “I assure you, I don’t have the time or the intention to scare you. I’m third year, yes? I have two cram schools to go to and I have university entrance exams to take. If you don’t want to see me, then don’t look for me at the school gate every morning.”" <----YOU GUYS THINK SHE LISTENED TO HIM!?

"Why did all my thoughts have to turn to him? He wanted to mess with my head and he’d managed to do it. I decided to kick him out. "

"You just don’t get the message, do you?” he said, his pen curving around the back of the wagtail. (...)
“You told me to stay away from you,” I said.
“And so you followed me to Toro Iseki.” He looked up at me
" <--- WHY, KATIE, WHY

Tomohiro told Katie for a millionth time to fuck off, and she didn't receive the message because she just wanted to know his secret. I couldn't stand the romance because it wasn't credible. The thing that pissed me off the most, was that Katie acted like she understood a boy she just met. She told herself she was seeing him as no one else could, that she could "see" things in his expressions that no one could, that she understand him when she. didn't. even. know. him. She's so immature.

As always happen when i dnf'd a book, I'm not going to rate this. who knows? It could get better. Too bad I don't care.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,652 followers
May 25, 2016
I really did not expect to like Ink. Obviously, I did when I requested the book (Japan! Fantasy! That cover!), but reviews started pouring in and almost all were negative and listed the sorts of reasons I generally agree with, like relationship dynamics and instalove. Here I am, though, having really liked Ink, almost loved it, in spite of all of that. While I can see why a lot of my trusted friends haven't enjoyed it, I had a ton of fun reading it and, minus some hiccups on the romance side of things, thought it was a strong novel besides.

To explain this disparity between my opinion and those of others, I have to explain just how much of a nerd I am. In 2008, while interning at a public library, I picked up a love for manga, which has since bloomed into a love for anime and kdrama. Even before that, Asian culture fascinated me, but now it's verging (if we lessen my crazy) on obsession. There are a lot of upsetting elements in the average kdrama/manhwa/anime/manga/jdrama. Men tend to be dominant; women weak and easy to tears. Boyfriends tend to be overly physical, verging on abusive, with their girlfriends. I see this, but, for some reason, it's not as much of an obstacle to my enjoyment as it is in American pop culture. Now, I'm not saying that the romance is necessarily like this in Ink, but I'm trying to explain that my standards are subtly different for the stories set in this other culture.

For those of you who are big fans of manga (which will be my shorthand for all those permutations listed above), Ink is delightful. Amanda Sun peppers the text with those classic scenes to be found in almost any shoujo manga: the wrist grab, the boy carrying the girl on his bike, the close stares that don't end in kisses but leave the heroine a blushing mess, the yakuza, the sakura. There were so many moments that made me laugh giddily because I recognized them from pop culture. Ink really does read like a manga, which is made of win.

The premise, too, is fascinating, and I really think Sun does a marvelous job with it. I was impressed with her writing in general, but her descriptions of the ink coming alive really do burst off the page. In fact, her love for Japan, for kendo, for art, and for Japanese history really do shine through. Her twist on the mythology of the kami, Japanese gods really worked, and seemed pretty sensitive to Japanese culture thus far; I am so glad Katie, a white girl from the US was not a kami. Also, the plot takes a Death Note sort of turn near the end, which is going to become more of a factor in later books I think, that makes me want to take a chip and eat it...while cackling malevolently.

Katie does stalk Tomohiro quite a bit in the beginning, but, even that, I'm okay with, for the most part. She's a bit of a creeper, but she does have reason to be curious: she saw his pictures moving and ink dripping seemingly from nowhere. Plus, she was really homesick and lonely, and the mystery of what was going on with Tomohiro was a good distraction. Getting caught up in that is what helps her transition from a foreigner to someone who really belongs. Once she gets more involved in life there, her Japanese improves much faster and so does her general quality of life.

About the romance, I really wouldn't categorize it as instalove personally. For one thing, Katie and Tomohiro really do spend a fair amount of time together, and time elapses between their initial meetings and their declarations of love. They do move too fast once they start the relationship, and do the whole inexplicably drawn to each other thing, though. However, I'm willing to mostly let that slide, since Katie and Tomo do actually have chemistry and are occasionally quite adorable together, like when Tomo blushes. I won't say I'm shipping them hard, but I don't hate them as a couple either.

The downside of their relationship was how serious their bond became. They do the whole "I'm ready to sacrifice myself for you" and "can't live without you" thing, which is really getting old. I really don't think most teens are this willing to die for love. Not only that, but the dialogue at these points always gets so hackneyed and melodramatic. Tomo definitely tries to do the manly keep Katie in the dark and protect her thing sometimes, but, what saved this book for me, Katie doesn't let him. Both Katie and Tomo know about the imperfections of the other, and they call each other on their bad habits. Katie calls Tomo out several times for not telling her things or for being a jerk, and Tomo does the same when Katie keeps stalking him. They're accepting one another's bad qualities, not unaware of them. Even if Tomo tries all that masculine nonsense, Katie doesn't let him. Though I don't approve of a lot of Katie's decisions, they are at least real choices, and not her being forced one way or another by other people in her life.

Ink turned out to be a fantastic book, despite my expectations to the contrary. If book two were available now, I would not hesitate to read it right away. I highly recommend this one to fans of Japanese or Korean pop culture!
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
593 reviews3,541 followers
December 14, 2014
2.5 stars

Oh, Ink, where did we go wrong? You were one of the most hyped about books in 2013, garnering hundreds of to-reads before you'd even offered ARCs. Then, the reviews started trickling in and they were far from encouraging to say the least. But I stubbornly believed that I would love you, because duh, Japan.

Ah, Karou and Hikaru...the Japanese Weasley twins

Unfortunately, it let me down. Dreadfully.

Yes, I know. I was warned.

First off, Katie the heroine. At first glance, she's all right. Quite witty at times...

Yeah, I got nothing else.

But the biggest problem I had with her was how suspicious she was of Tomohiro in the first couple chapters. Especially when there was no concrete reason for her to be.

The only evidence she had was There's this scene where they're discussing Tomohiro and how he disappears for a couple hours. And she thinks : "Disappearing somewhere? So he is up to something."
It's like she's determined to find a conspiracy.

Also, the insta-love. Granted, it's not as severe as Twilight or Halo. I would imagine it's akin to Ash and Meghan's relationship from The Iron King. But 10% in, she's already declaring that she has feelings for him and commenting on the softness of his skin...

And I didn't like Tomohiro either.

One thing I did like was the extensive mention of Japanese culture and use of Japanese words within. I gave Ink one extra star for that alone. What can I say, I'm a manga/anime junkie.

I was fond of the ending too and tacked on half a star for it.

All in all, Ink was a bit of a disappointing read for me, but it did have its redeeming points. And I think fans of Japan will definitely enjoy it if only for the culture.

Yeah, maybe not that kind of culture. I don't read Yaoi by the way. Just sayin.

And I'm out.
589 reviews1,031 followers
June 16, 2013
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Thank you Harlequin Australia for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review.

'The liquid dropped down the stairs, and after a moment of panic, I realised it was ink, not blood.'

Sometimes I wonder of Ink was inspired by Taylor Swift songs. We have our sad undertone which is the loss of Katie's mother, the overpowering love contrast which is our cheesy romance- equally as overpowering- and the occasional angst, jealously or confusion. Yup, I think they are nearly identical. However, there were some aspects that made Ink somewhat more tolerable.

Katie Greene hasn't exactly had it her way for a long time. After her mother's untimely death, she moves in with her aunt- Diane who is in Japan. With the complicated dialect and foreign aspects, Katie's life just got more arduous. Tomohiro, dark one minute, cheerful the next. He's hiding something that could possibly explain the odd happenings to Katie. Like drawings coming to life and ink exploding whenever he is around.

Ink pretty much checks all boxes for a potentially battering breathless debut. From cover to synopsis to story line to the setting and the cute animations, most of us have drawn an expectation line, that sadly, for the most part never touched. Per contra, Ink did successfully illusion an atmospheric Japanese setting that captured the essence flawlessly. Amanda's incredible writing skills are something not to be obliterated, as I relished the descriptions which were in fantastic accomplice of the setting. If anything, the framework of Ink brightened up the novel the most.

Katie is a character that astounded me. In a negative way. She's the only white girl at her school and Amanda attempts to create a relatable or even poignant character. While I could observe a minor character development, she was still dauntingly impulsive and easily paranoid. Her rash decisions and out-of-the-blue actions left me off guarded as they were ludicrously illogical and dumb. Our supporting characters no better. Underdeveloped and artificial, they are cliché to the point where I had no emotions towards them. Our best friend here is literally like a robot- doesn't have a mind of its own and fails to process thoughts rationally.

But what could be better to have a typical love interest? Tomohiro dark and mysterious one minute then outgoing and comical the next. Not only is this a trite stereotype that majority male antagonists provide, but also makes it complex to fully sympathise or fangirl over. Which is awfully disappointing as Tomohiro was predicted to be gush-worthy. Leading to our romance, which obviously was no gold star wielder, practically dominated the first half of the book. It was a pointless waste as I was no near shipping them due to lack of build-up and realism. Ultimately, this incorporated instant-love. Bleh.

For the last half or third, I really enjoyed it. Everything was so well paced and the mysteries began to unravel. However this was short lived as I needed more of it. Unsatisfied is the word.

A disheartening novel that contained underdeveloped characters, romance and plot, still ended up to be a bearable read for the beautiful setting and writing was something not to be missed. By all means, anime fans jump for your chance, as I'm sure you'll enjoy this to a greater extent. Yet if like me, you have never seen anime in your life, it'll be of great difficulty to appreciate Ink.
Profile Image for Leah Petersen.
Author 8 books64 followers
November 28, 2012
I obtained an Advance Reader Copy of INK at World Fantasy Con in Nov, 2012.

The beauty of INK is subtle and seductive, from the cover to the conclusion.

It didn't take me long to get into this one. The cover is luscious and, really, how can you not be drawn (Snicker. See what I did there?) to a story set in Japan that promises you "Paper Gods."

Sun creates great characters here, each nuanced and realistic. Katie is a strong female character while still being a teenage girl who gets lost sometimes between her heart and her head. Tomohiro is cute and broody but Sun never asks Katie or the reader to abandon all sense and fall in love with the guy just because he's cute and broody and a little bit dangerous, consequences be damned. And yet the characters are not mini-adults, making choices and viewing things through an over-mature lens.

The best part of the novel for me was being taken to Japan to experience a place I'd never been and live among a different culture for a while. My copy of INK has a glossary in the back. It's a testament to Sun's skill that I didn't realize that until the end. In spite of the fact that she doesn't whitewash or English-ize the setting and characters, she unfolded the world like one of the flowers on the book's cover, slowly revealing the whole without swamping you with too much detail all at once and sending you looking for a list of definitions and explanations. You can't ask for better than that in a multicultural novel.

It felt less like a fantasy book than I expected, which is funny, because the fantasy element is completely intrinsic to the plot and is part of the whole from the first pages. I could see non-fantasy YA readers enjoying this one as well. Though if you're looking for a fantasy read for the lost-in-Narnia feel, this isn't where you'll find it.

A great debut and thoroughly satisfying story for any YA reader. The multicultural elements really put it above and beyond and make this one you'll remember.
Profile Image for Rayne.
862 reviews287 followers
September 26, 2013
Mini Review: Ink by Amanda Sun I've been looking forward to this book for over a year. Not looking forward like 'hey, that book sounds nice', add it and then forget about it. No, I mean looking forward in the 'pre-order a copy a year before its publication, stalk the book's pages for updates and reviews and checking for ways to get an arc almost daily' sense. So yeah, I was pretty damn excited for this book, so you can guess what my reaction was like when I got an arc. After reading it though, I am sad to say that this book didn't deserve much of my enthusiasm. First I want to make it clear that Ink is, by no means, a bad book. It is actually nicely well-written, and absolutely original, imaginative and amazingly beautiful (in terms of the supernatural only). But Ink is pretty much every YA paranormal romance all wrapped up into one and taken to Japan. The storyline, characters, development, the progression of the romance, the tropes and cliches are the same as in every other YA P/N romance out there. If you are a fan of the genre and meek, stalkerish female protagonists, jerks with a soft side romantic interests, cardboard cutout friends, absentee parental figures, token friendzoned hot guys for the love triangle, instant love connections and cartoonish bad guys are your cup of tea, then Ink is definitely for you and you'll probably love it, but, quite truthfully, I am tired of them.
December 23, 2016
I really wanted to like this book.

I loved the setting- the descriptions of the background of Japan were very pleasant to read. Some of the Japanese characters were a bit too "anime-like". Katie picking up Japanese a little too quickly and easily to be realistic. I could deal with those things.

I was irked by Katie stalking Tomohiro-- it's just as creepy when girls stalk guys.

I don't know, something just seems to be missing, and I'm not sure what.

Maybe two stars is a little too harsh.

Rating: 2.5(?) stars

Maybe I should read the next book, it might be better. I don't know. I wish I could figure out what seems to be missing for me.
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,206 followers
December 3, 2013
Anyone who is a fan of Jpop/Jdrama/Manga will find the setup of Ink really familiar. Except, in this case, the main character is a foreigner. A “gaijin,” as authors seem fond of saying. I am not saying I understand the context the word is used in in Japan but in Fiji, when we said the word equivalent to “gaijin,” it really wasn’t in a complimentary tone. Anyway. Katie Greene finds herself in Japan after the death of her mother. She’s a stranger among people who do not look like her, speak her language or act in a manner she’s familiar with. Then she happens on arguably the most gorgeous boy in school breaking up with his girlfriend in a very callous manner and she is fascinated. Yes, I am still wondering about that but more on that later.

I recently wrote a research paper on cultural appropriation in children’s literature – it is not something that is generally discussed. At all. I plan on changing that. But my point is, I am sensitive to issues of cultural appropriation but unlike in Stormdancer, I felt that the author respected the culture she was writing about and used the language appropriately without trying to redefine words and traditions to suit her ambitions where the plot of the novel was concerned. Somewhat. I felt that she researched her topic and skillfully wove some of that research into the narrative. Somewhat. I want to give credit where its due so I will say that it was handled with a lot more finesse than in the other book I mentioned. That said, there were more subtle and equally problematic discourses in the subtext of this novel.

First are the threads of post-colonial discourse implied in the novel. Katie Greene is white and shown to be “superior,” because she’s the one who will be deciding the course of the novel. She’s the one who comes in from outside and is somehow more important than all the natives combined. Yeah. No. Her refusal to care about the traditions gradually peters away to her accepting the culture and she does accept Japanese “culture” as the author defines it but that, too, is problematic.

There are several times in the novel when Katie speaks of “shame” in her interactions with Hiro. I don’t understand what she means by shame – unless she is insinuating (and thus creating the Oriental woman) that since she has absorbed the Japanese culture, she is reacting as Japanese women are usually portrayed as doing (submissive, timid, timorous, you get the idea) which doesn’t make sense because she has been brought up in North America and there is no way she has completely assimilated in the Japanese culture in a matter of months. Apart from exoticizing women, this is problematic for the feminist in me.

I also found it extremely bizarre that Katie was accepted so wholly by the friends she doesn’t really treat very well. Anyone who has any sort of familiarity with Japanese culture will know that your peers will not accept you without question or without hesitation and reservation – more so in a culture so emphatically closed off. Katie is also a bit of a Mary Sue. There are three boys extremely interested in her and she chooses the dangerous one, of course. There is barely any character development. Katie goes on vacation with her one friend just so that friend’s brother can move the plot forward by revealing some information. The brother remains a cardboard character.

Katie makes all these proclamations but the one I found most ridiculous was one that occurred on the vacation where she hears the name “Amaterasu” and her “blood runs cold.” Like really? She knows nothing about this goddess, there has been no information or world-building and why would the name of a goddess make her blood run cold? It’s bizarre how everything is all about her. Katie seizes the notion that she is somehow part of this “kami” culture or population even though her obvious foreignness makes it impossible. This unexplained connection is used to delineate Katie’s special snowflake status and is reiterated (usually by Katie) once and again.

The mythology could have been fascinating if handled more deftly than it unfortunately was. The romance is troubling because Katie does not consider that this boy broke up with his girlfriend seconds earlier in a notsonice way. The ex-girlfriend’s absence is also puzzling because considering the manner in which they broke up, I’d think the ex would have some bones to grind with Hiro. The ending has the most ridiculous cliffhanger I have ever come across and rather than make me want to read the next book, it made me roll my eyes and swear “never again.”

I went into this book with great expectations. I expected it to be good. It was researched acceptably where daily life and traditions are concerned. However, the novel is extremely unconvincing in its creation of a mythology that buoys the novel. The main character is entirely unlikable and the subtext is problematic. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Profile Image for Arooj .
529 reviews317 followers
July 5, 2015
Review after re-reading from Sept 17th-20th, 2013:
And Jun - I expect to see more of you in the next book. =P

Review after reading for the first time from July 9th-11th, 2013:
So. I finally read it. After all the waiting, I finally read it.


First and foremost I want to say that I absolutely LOVED the fact that this book was set in Japan. It was the main reason why I was so excited to read this book. It's just so different than most of the other YA novels. Now, I've never been to Japan and don't know much about the Japanese culture so I don't know if the author got everything right. But I do watch Asian dramas, which includes Japanese dramas, so this book didn't feel too foreign to me. I really enjoyed reading it, and the author did a good job of making me feel like I was in Japan myself as I read. I also learned quite a few new Japanese words and phrases, thanks to the mini glossary provided at the end of the book. Remember to check that out, otherwise you'll be really confused while reading this book.

The plot was fantastic. I loved this idea of ink drawings that came to life. Funny thing is, me and a friend were actually thinking about writing a graphic novel with a plot similar to Ink. We pretty much abandoned the idea because, well, let's just say it sounded pretty complicated. And we were too lazy. So when I read what Ink was about, I got super excited. Amanda Sun did a much better job at it than I could've, haha. The only thing that made me take .5 stars off is that the pace was a little slow for my taste. I was halfway into the book and still didn't know what the main conflict of the story was, what exactly was going on. But that was the only thing. Other than that, I loved this book to death.

Now, to be completely honest, there were a whole bunch of clichés in this book. The main heroin who feels like an outcast (well, in Katie's defence, she is living in a foreign country), the typical love interest who hides behind a tough "bad boy" mask, the "we can't be together because of such and such" romance...this book had it all. But. BUT! While I wouldn't have found it to be anything special if it were any other book, I liked it in Ink. At least it wasn't too cheesy.

I admit, when I saw the rating and reviews of this book here on Goodreads, I did start to have second thoughts. But this was one of those books that I had a gut feeling that I'd like, which is why I bought it. And so far, my gut hasn't failed me. I would recommend others to just give this book a try, because you never know, you may end up liking it. I don't know about you guys, but I will definitely be re-reading this book one day.

OH! And I forgot to add - the cover design and art. Guys. Oh my fucking gosh. This is one of the most beautiful books (appearance-wise) that I have ever read. I LOVE the watercolor art that is displayed on the cover, and even inside on the flaps. And there are even a whole bunch of black and white illustrations inside the book. It's really breathtaking. The artists are amazing. There's a little bio about them at the end of the book so you can check out more of their work. Even of you don't like the book, you gotta admit that this book is gorgeous. I want to eat it.

Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
January 14, 2014
Pre-read:The cover on this is so beautiful, and I love the premise. I'm looking forward to reading it when it comes out.

Post-read: Review to come. This is one of those times when I think I deviate quite a bit from the majority of opinions on this book, and hopefully I can explain that in more detail in my full review. I thought it was decent and well-researched. The novel held my attention throughout, but there were parts of the story that grated on me. I'm definitely willing to see where this series goes in the longer scheme of things, though.

This is probably either going to get a 3 or 3.5 star rating from me.

Full review:

I think Amanda Sun's "Ink" might be one of the surprise reads for me this year because I went into this book thinking that I would not like it and came out completely surprised - both by the book itself and my reaction to it. Sun did a great job with the research into the Japanese terminology and mood of the work. I was very impressed by that (I didn't really even need to use the glossary that much because I knew what the terms meant in the romanji that was provided.) But if there's something to be said about Sun's first installation into the "Paper Gods" series - there was something missing in this narrative, and I couldn't quite figure what exactly it was.

The way that I think of this novel feels a lot like the J-dramas (or even romance anime series) that I typically watch and find myself complusively drawn into from time to time. The scenarios feel familiar, sometimes cliche, but ultimately I follow them because I like the mind of them, and the stories engage me for some form/fashion that I genuinely enjoy returning to. "Ink" really felt like a J-drama in itself, about a gaijin girl named Katie who moves to Japan from the West and has to adjust to the customs and society away from her family. It's difficult enough to deal with the aftermath of her mother's death and being away from her family, but moving to another school in another culture in which she's still adjusting is difficult in and of itself.

Katie connects with a friend quite well (Yuki), but also finds herself in the company of the resident brooding bad boy (Tomohiro Yuu). It would not be surprising that these two would often meet and clash with each other given the typical structure of such a story. I was okay with Katie trying to get her feet wet in the beginning and standing up to Tomohiro, especially when the guy seemed like an obvious jerk for what he did to someone he knew and figured out was pregnant with child. Tomohiro's not that likable, particularly in the beginning, but it seems he does have reasons for pushing people out of his relationships and keeping his distance. Not just with respect to being an artist, but what he can do with art as it's revealed over time. The moving art focus and selective pieces featured in the book were beautiful and had a talented pen hand (even in my digital copy).

But Katie has a way of showing up in convenient places with Tomohiro, which is kind of a staple of J-dramas as well (hero and heroine often end up running into each other and clashing in ways that mimic the antagonistic and later turn affectionate, even just by tolerance of vicinity). Some of this is coincidence, some of it is intentional, as Katie's trying to figure what Tomohiro's connection to the moving art is. I took it as more of her headstrong personality in the pursuits and incidental coincidence, but I was not surprised to learn that Tomohiro accused Katie of being a stalker.

Did I think of this story in the romantic sense? Ehh. To be honest, I didn't really think of Ink as a romance, more like in the stages of becoming one that hadn't been reached yet, and even by the end of this novel, it still hadn't reached a point where I felt like Tomohiro and Katie really reached that point. Sure they have chemistry and you can tell they care for each other, but their relationshilp has yet to be realized, much like the first episode of an ongoing series. That both makes me curious and also weary because it felt like it was incomplete, even with the drama. I think it had romantic elements, but I don't think it really reached beyond a drama with some supernatural and whirlwind collision points (especially considering Katie and Tomohiro are on the run from the Yakuza in one part of the narrative.)

I'll admit that I felt like there were parts of the story that could've been more vetted out, such as the history of the Kami and perhaps more of where Tomohiro's link to the dynamic ink was concerned. Especially since that would've helped flesh out the supernatural links more to make it feel fuller. The environment, setting, and dynamics were drawn well for culture, but it still felt like the story didn't realize its fullest potential, and I still felt like saying "I can buy these elements, but you still need to bring more to the table to make it stand out more."

I don't know if I can explain my thoughts on it better than that, but for what it was worth - when considering the whole of "Ink" - I liked it, but I still think it could've offered more to the table. I'm intrigued enough to see where the next installment goes, and I'm optimistic that it'll step up the stakes since this was just the stepping stone into the series.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Harlequin TEEN.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
June 27, 2013
Really 2.5 stars.

To see full review click here.

Okay. This one. I was really excited about it. So much that I preordered that despite reading some dubious reviews from some trusted sources.

I should've relied on my friends.

I didn't hate this one. It had a nice idea that sort of succeeded and I think it captured Japanese culture pretty well. Grant it, most of my exposure to Japanese culture has been limited to sushi, Hello Kitty, and Nancy Drew, and all those Karate Kid movies; but the book made me feel like I wasn't in America. And I liked that. That part of the book really succeeded.

The drawings in the book, though slightly random and sort of sparse (there were only like four of them and the book was like three hundred plus pages long) were pretty kick ass too. That being said, this book had issues.

It was just a walking cliche.

That's the best way to describe it. That sounds horrible, but it's true. And yes, I know YA especially YA paranormal is a genre that is filled with cliches but come on Twilight came out almost ten years ago it's time to move on.

It's especially painful when your book has so many original elements like Ink does. The Japanese mythology was refreshing. I really feel like most of the genre is filled with Greek and or Judeo-Christian mythology as bases for their various worlds and that's a shame. The world is filled with many different religions and mythologies and I think its about time that they're incorporated in YA. So plus to Sun for that..but at the same time the mythology at times felt a little weak. I get that Sun didn't want to info dump and I thank her for that but I wanted to know more. And what I did see, I didn't understand why it basically had to be used for a replacement for vampires. Just ridiculous.

So how many Twilight cliches are in Ink? Let's count them shall we?

1) Our darling main character has a nontraditional family and is moving with a new relative in a far off land.

2) She has friends almost automatically and sees a boy with a bad reputation (which btw, am I the only one that finds it disturbing that she stalked a guy who she thought had a child on the way. Really? You think he'd want a new girlfriend when he has a kid on the way-priorites).

3)Bad boy turns her down but she keeps stalking even though he's nasty. She meanwhile suspects he's not normal and turns to Google for help.

4) They unexpectedly get together usually when there's bad weather and she confronts him.

5) He reveals his dark secret but since she's "the one" she doesn't freak out and says she can handle it.

6) A big bad usually comes at this point and fucks things up

7) Our damsel in distress meanwhile meets a new hot friend to set up a love triangle for the second book.

8) She then finds herself in peril that a sensible person could've avoided with pepper spray, taser gun, and/or a loud set of lungs and a good kick in the groin.

9) She has to be rescued.

10) She ends in bittersweet misery because even though she and her love are safe darkness or scary redhead vampires surround them (i.e. there's going to be a sequel).

That's Ink minus the scary redheaded vampire. It's original enough. It involves Japanese mythology and there's no Cullen family, but it follows the Twilight formula which I find just to be lazy. But then I read the rest of the book and it's obvious she did research and I'm just....


Though, according to Nessa's review some of the Japanese elements weren't even researched that much. However, for the Japanese novice that I am I didn't notice this much.

To be honest I probably would've given this one a solid six on my own review scale (three stars Good Reads) if it wouldn't have ben for a certain fight that our main characters have. Tomo you are an ass. No means no and you need to respect that. And Katie, you do NOT rationalize that he only did that just to protect you he was out of line regardless.

Yeah, I had to use the mind bleach after those scenes.

Best Feature: Japan. By far the best feature. I actually felt like I was sucked into the country when reading this book. Grant it, I don't know squat about the country other than from my Nancy Drew games/books, but I really felt like I learned a lot from this book. And not in the dorky educational type of way.

Worst Feature: Cliches. Oh. My. God. As I said before, this book reminds me of a lot of other Twilight ripoffs I've read, but I like it slightly better because it involves Japan and the mythology is fairly unique. But that being said, remember Carrier of the Mark? If you don't, I don't blame you but it's essentially that shitty Twilight wannabe book that took place in Ireland. This reminded me of that book except it was better written and Sun didn't go as far as to ripoff the Cullen family and its five thousand super powers. The structure though and the main characters are a riff on the Stephenie Meyer series. Honestly, I was able to tolerate a lot of these cliches. It's YA. I almost think publishing companies require cliches to be in the book , but in this book what would've been an awesome story is just overpowered by them. And I really can't help but feel sorry for it and it's a book and books are in-animated objects that I shouldn't feel sorry for.

Appropriateness: There are a few f bombs here, some violence (which includes dating violence). It's fairly typical to what you see in YA today though.
Profile Image for Karleigh.
279 reviews12 followers
April 20, 2015

I purchased this book off of bookdepository a couple months ago after I had seen it being hauled by booktubers. I didn't even think twice as soon as I heard that this book takes place in Japan. I may be a bit bias on this book because my undying love for Japan. If you don't know me then you wouldn't know that the whole reason I am attending university is so that I can teach in Japan.

So first of all can we just take a minute and look at the beautiful cover, now for those of you who have not seen this book in person you wouldn't know that the cover actually looks and feels like a canvas for painting. Every little detail in this book is amazing. I love that Amanda Sun got herself an artist to draw little things on pages. I enjoyed that there were falling sakura leaves in a flip-page animation, as well as the falling bird to go along with that part of the story. You can tell just how much love Amanda put into this book.

So this story follows a girl name Katie Greene, who has just recently moved to Japan after the death of her mother. She is forced to live with her aunt who teaches in Japan because her grandfather is dealing with cancer so she was unable to move in with them in Canada. Katie is put straight into a full Japanese school where her aunt believes that she will catch on to the language easier if she is completely immersed. There she meets Tomohiro Yuu, a tough looking guy who keeps telling her to stay away. Katie is so stubborn and bold that she doesn't listen because something about Tomo keeps pulling her in. Katie also starts to see that anything that is drawn on paper starts to move, from little doodles on her pages at school to sketches that Tomohiro does. First she thinks she is just seeing things, going crazy, but she soon realizes that there is more to Tomohiro than she thinks. Tomohiro happens to be a Kami, a descendant of the sun goddesses Amaterasu. Not only that but the Yakuza are after her and him as well.

From the first page, the detail in the story made me feel like I was right there in Japan with Katie. I loved every moment of the story, all the details from the way the cherry blossoms looked on the trees to the fact that she uses Japanese words to explain things like Conbini instead of Convenience store. Amanda did an amazing job immersing her readers right into the amazing world that is Japan. This book has made me want to find even more books written around/about/set in Japan, I don't know why there aren't more. I also didn't hesitate to pick up the second book in the series and preorder the third.

If you love Japan like I do I suggest you give this book a try, or even if you are looking for a good fantasy type novel that takes place in a new type of setting, you should check this one out as well. I highly recommend it!

5 out of 5 stars!!
Profile Image for Suzanne .
616 reviews165 followers
June 24, 2013
With a mixed bag of reviews for Ink, I did head into it with some hesitation, only to be pleasantly surprised.

After Katie's mom dies, she has to move to Japan to live with her aunt Diane. She's out of her depth. She doesn't know much about Japanese culture and she's struggling with the language. She would have much preferred to have been sent to Canada to stay with her grandparents.

When she accidentally eavesdrops on the break up of Tomohiro Yuu and his soon to be ex-girlfriend, and sees one of his sketches move, her life is about to take a very unexpected turn. Tomohiro is rude, mean and dangerous, with a bad reputation and secrets in his past. But after what Katie has seen, she just can't forget it. And does become a little obsessed about it. She wants to know where he sneaks off to everyday and did he really cheat on Myu and get another girl pregnant? I admit that Katies obsession and actions around this point was a bit over the top.

I really enjoyed Ink though. With the mysterious Tomohiro, a twist of Japanese mythology, involvement with the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia, and also the Kami, who plan to take over and rule Japan, there was a lot going on, and after getting over a few glitches in the beginning, I was thoroughly entertained throughout. I also found that the romance was really sweet and I enjoyed it a lot, with some nice little moments.

Katie, while a likeable character, I felt had the potential to be an awesome character. But some of the things that she says/thinks are just really stupid and I felt should have been edited, as they didn't seem to fit with the character that the author was trying to create. These were mostly at the beginning of the book so it wasn't as annoying as the story continued. Katie was mostly a tough, strong character who was snarky at times but maybe just a bit too inquisitive.

I really liked Tomohiro. He was a really enjoyable character who lives under a facade, to prevent people from becoming close to him and being harmed by the monster that he feels is within him.

Katie makes some friends in Japan, Yuki and Tanaka, but they play very little part. They seem to be only brought into the story to serve another purpose. They're not well fleshed out and I didnt' build an opinion of them either way. But Katie makes another friend, with a guy she meets at the station, Jun. He is a mysterious character who I wondered about but liked, and who played an interesting part.

Obviously, this book is not for everyone. In most reviews I've read, people didn't like that it had a lot of the usual cliches. Maybe it's that I haven't read enough of them yet, but they don't bother me or hinder my enjoyment. I really enjoyed this book and found that I didn't want to put it down. But if the cliches would prevent you from enjoying a book, then this one probably isn't for you.
Profile Image for Hermione.
596 reviews206 followers
August 18, 2013
2 stars. I thought I knew what disappointment was.

Boy, was I wrong.

Every other disappointment I've ever had probably pales in comparison to my feelings of Ink. I was looking forward to this book for a long, long time — the cover was brilliant, the art was brilliant, and the premise sounded enticing. Taking place in Japan? Kami gods? Something revolving around drawings coming to life and destroying the world?


Here's where I will give pointers toward: Awesome use of Japanese dialect. It was used very well!


So much cheese you'll get tired of it.

Let's think of it this way: If any of you have read a shoujo manga series or one-shot, you'd completely understand. This is how this book was like. Katie practically completely disregards what Tomo might be up to — she should at least have some reservations about who this mysterious guy is and just what the hell is wrong with him — and instead focuses on her feelings him.

Well said, Weasly. Well said.

See, here's another thing I was expecting: I was expecting something more ... fantasy-ish. Certainly not something about the Yankees or Japanese mafia wanting to use Tomo's skill for some evil purpose. Nah. Nothing like that. I just wanted maybe a battle of the paper gods vs. the drawings themselves. Or something. Just you know — fantasy.

In the end, Ink was more of a disappointment than I'd like to admit. But hopefully you, reader, have been warned enough times and you decide to dive in with much lower expectations than before. So be warned.


Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,532 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.