Review: Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun

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Rating: 2 / 5
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Published June 25, 2013 by Harlequin Teen
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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.

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?

THE POSITIVE (*´▽`*)

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.”

(#`Д´)ノノ┻┻;:’、・゙

NO. IT’S HIS LINE. IT’S HIS FUCKING LINE AND IT’S FREAKING JUSTIFIED!!!

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.

(´;Д;`)
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?!?!

*HUFF PUFF HUFF PUFF*

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: 2.5 stars

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    You hit this book right on the nose! It was totally written for people who have experience with and/or move anime and manga. When I read this I totally pictured it as an anime… but real life in Japan isn’t an anime and as a foreigner living in Japan I had some MAJOR beef with the stereotypes and uses of Japanese in this book.

    Katie drove me insane and offended me on so many levels (female, American, foreigner in Japan, foreign female in Japan…). I LOVE all of your ranting about her. ( ̄^ ̄)ゞ nice job!
    (=´∀`)人(´∀`=)

    • FayeFaye says

      Yes. Its audience is definitely the people who love watching anime/jdrama or reading manga (or as a friend of mine has put it, for high schoolers who hang around drawing and calling each other name-chan).

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. says

    OMG this is so funny xD seriously, I can’t believe you finished this. The book I just DNF’ed suddenly seems so much better. Such a shame that the potential is overshadowed by the stupid heroine. And God, this book actually sounds like Twilight in Japan. Lol, you deserve a cake or cookie — or anything, really — for finishing this :3

    • FayeFaye says

      LOL! Thank you for reading! Much much appreciated :D Its cliches definitely made me think of Twilight. I think this review explained that with more depth.

      Thanks for commenting :D

  3. says

    This book could have been everything I wanted. But Katie just had to go ruin it!! The negative part of your review had me laughing so much and I agree with everything. I hate this insta love and liked Jun way better! Katie is just so pushy and irrational!! *shakes head*

    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah, Katie really ruined everything. She was like the accumulation of everything I hate in shoujo heroines! Haha!

    • FayeFaye says

      Nope. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOOOOPE. I’m tired of Katie’s monologues. She’s really really irritating. I will read other books by Amanda Sun, but not from the Paper Gods series anymore.

  4. says

    Irritating heroines Bella-style are so infuriating! Then can just ruin a story! guess you won’t be reading the next book in the series?

  5. says

    Oh BLEH. What a waste of a pretty cover. (I seem to always say that when I see a review of Ink) But yeah, the writing and setting were magnificent but the romance and harassers ruined this book completely. Instant love at its worst. *gags* Great review, Faye! <33