I’ve been waiting for Amanda Sun’s novel, “Ink,” to come out for months now, and our library FINALLY had it in! (I’ll say nothing about the fact that I told my friend Ashley about it, and the little backstabber ordered it online and read it before I could. I’m not bitter.) The book is about a girl named Katie Greene, who moves to Japan to live with her aunt Diane after her parents die and her grandfather is put in the hospital. She makes a few friends at her school – Yuki and Tanaka – but she can’t seem to figure out the “now I’m a jerk/now I’m a nice-guy” senior, Tomohiro. Why does ink do weird things when he’s around? Are his drawings really coming to life?
I keep up with what YA books will be released within the next few months, what’s just been released, etc. (I’m a book nerd, in case you couldn’t tell) and this – along with Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, which was completely awesome – were the releases I was most looking forward to. Say nothing about the fact they both have to do with Japan – Ink also has drawings coming to life!
Nothing could suit me better, right? Well, let’s see.
Things I Loved
♥ Japan. The setting was very well-written and it was easy to settle into the feel of Japanese life. The author has spent a lot of time in Osaka, Japan, which upped the authenticity of the novel.
♥ There was a lot of Japanese in it! As in, Japanese words and phrases! It had a glossary!! I unashamedly love glossaries, and I hand-copied the entire thing down for whenever I need some handy Japanese words and phrases to write with. Or just, you know, use. For everyday. It’ll mingle well with my Korean.
♥ Drawings coming to life. If you’re thinking “Sounds like Inkheart,” that’s what I thought, too. It is nothing like Inkheart.
♥ The characters. It was a colorful cast, straight out of a Japanese drama. We’ve got our soft-hearted good-guy who acts like a jerk to protect everyone else, the bouncy puppy-dog guy you can’t help but love, the helpful (and sometimes unhelpful) best friend, the mysterious antihero, the guy you don’t know whether to pity or hate, and the guys you just plain dislike. The main character, while not the deepest character I’ve ever read, had some pretty good moments where she didn’t do the idiotic thing I thought she would and instead did something cool.
Things I Didn’t Love
• There was some insta-love going on here. I mean, I can totally understand being intrigued the mysterious hot bad-boy, especially when you think you saw one of his drawings come to life. But um, Katie sees him one time. One time, and she thinks about him every five minutes until she runs in to him again. Now, really. We also had something that smelled like Love Triangle for a while there, but as it sort of faded, I won’t dock any points.
• The book was a little bit jumpy. Some passages were full of beautiful description and everything flowed well, and the next you blink and you miss six days and you have no idea what just happened. This made the characters seem almost bipolar, because to the reader it feels like one second they’re happy, the next they’re sad, the next they’re angry, and then they’re happy again. Come on.
• The language was scattered and minimal – most of it was sprinkled throughout the first few chapters – but there were three F-words that popped up seemingly out of nowhere.
• I know I said the author spent a lot of time in Osaka, Japan and therefore knew better than most what she was writing about, but at times Ink felt a bit…too much like a JDrama. There’s nothing specifically wrong with that – I mean, I love JDramas myself – but it was very obvious. She had the recipe down pat and didn’t do much to alter it. (Note: On her website, she actually states she watches a lot of Japanese dramas, so I’m not just assuming).
All that being said, I really did enjoy the book. What’s going to happen next? Will Jun continue to hunt down Tomo? Will Ishikawa go back to the Yakuza? Why does ink react strangely around Katie? Is Tomo going to be able to control his power? I want to know what happens! I want more Japan and Tomo and Jun and Tanaka and even Ishikawa. I’m ready for the sequel. C’mon, Sun, hurry it up.
Reading the book, I had a very clear image of how I envisioned all the characters, and so for kicks, I created my dream cast for the novel. So, my proposition – make a movie, cast these people. I’ll be a happy duck.
Jun – Miura Haruma. His hair here is almost exactly Jun’s hair in the novel, which is why I saw his face when I read. I actually think he’s the most perfectly cast character in this dream cast of mine.
Tanaka – Yamashita Tomahisa/Yamapi. Bouncy, funny puppy waving peace signs at everyone and saying ‘yo’ when he walks into a room? There’s no one better. I wanted to see more Tanaka in Ink, actually; he was cute and livened up every scene he was in.
And there you have it; purely for fun, so you know the faces that were in my head if you decide to pick up the book and give it a try. Have a beautiful day! ❤