Ink by Amanda Sun

YA's the Word WordPress
Standalone or Series? Series. Paper Gods #1
Format: Ebook, 304 pages
Published: June 25 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Author’s Site: Amanda Sun
Author on Tweeter: @Amanda_Sun
Buy:The Book Depository

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.”

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive. 

I loved the beautiful covers; the one on the left is the US cover and on the right is the UK cover. The blurb was intriguing and I haven’t noticed many other YA Japanese folklore stories on the shelves, and being studio Ghibli fan means I had high hopes.

The execution wasn’t quite what I had expected. Many of the scenes that felt less important seemed to carry the same amount of weight as the more relevant bits.

The plot took a while to unfold, and the dialogue didn’t pull me in. The first half of the book is mostly Katie pondering why she’s stalking Tomohiro, him asking why she’s stalking him. The next half of the books is her suggesting he’s stalking her, her telling him yes she did follow him, him smirking yes he knew she followed him, and them discussing her stalking.

The characters are well described – their physical attributes and the way they move, and everything else visual – but the problem their emotions and conversations left me wanting more.

Amanda Sun’s got an amazing talent for creating a setting. When the surroundings, drawings and Kendo sessions are described, it’s almost as though I were watching a slowed-down scene in an anime. It’s beautiful and certainly redeeming as far as my interest in Ink and the Paper Gods series goes.

Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for my advance copy, which I received in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I love those covers! I would buy two copies of this book for them :p I don’t like repetitive dialogues and the characters don’t sound that good.. I do like the world-building, with alt he descriptions. It’s a shame that this book wasn’t as good as expected.


  2. Isn’t it odd that they have different covers for the US and the UK. While I Like the UK one better here, I’ve seen both for Natalie Whipple’s Transparent, and the UK one is downright ugly.
    You wrote a very thorough review. Pacing issues would make this book a no-go for me. Thanks for the review!:-)

  3. I think we were all enthralled with the gorgeous covers for this book but I have not read a positive review yet! It’s a shame, but at least the setting is good 🙂

  4. I have seen so many reviews of this book – all similar to yours. Pity that the cover is so beautiful. it is going to sucker a lot of people into buying it – and being very disappointed. thankfully not me.
    Cheers and thanks for confirming what everyone else has already told me.


  5. I actully prefer the UK cover this time, which is very rare. But ugh, this seems to be seriously lacking in execution, despite the fabulous idea. I have a copy in the mail and of course I’ll have to review it, but I’ll try not to get my hopes up.
    Great review!

  6. The covers for this book are SO pretty! It’s the sort of artwork I’d love to hang up on my wall. 🙂 I’m glad the world-building managed to impress you, but it’s a shame that this book fell flat in so many other areas. Honestly, I haven’t been hearing the best things about this one. Most of my blogger friends have either been indifferent to it, or have hated it. I guess I’ll be sure to lower my expectations. Wonderful review as always!

  7. Nice review. I had similar thoughts about the book. It was really disappointing because it had so much potential. With the amount of hype around it, it just made it so much more painful realising that I didn’t like it :(.

    The cover IS absolutely beautiful though.

  8. Isn’t it sad when you start a book with a great premise that just doesn’t deliver? Great review 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  9. What a disappointment! I’m sorry this didn’t reach its full potential for you, Katja, because it does have a very interesting premise – and those covers are BEAUTIFUL. I don’t think I’d be able to like the book much if I didn’t feel for the characters, or if the pacing was slow and jerky. Your review was one of the first I’ve seen, so it has me a little hesitant if I should check the book out. But thanks for such a helpful review! Definitely gave me a lot to think about.

  10. Characters that fail to inspire feelings are a major fail, I’m sorry this book didn’t work for you despite the wonderful physical descriptions of people and settings. If I see a few more reviews like this one then I may just give INK a miss. Thanks for your thoughts!

  11. It seems like everywhere I’ve seen, this book has gotten mixed reviews. I too think the premise is interesting, and sometimes I have different opinions on characters than other people, so I’d love to give this book a shot.

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