Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun YP FIC SUN

This is the first book in the Paper Gods series by Amanda Sun. Katie Greene is still reeling from the loss of her mother and moving thousands of miles away to live with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan. Her aunt thinks it best for Katie to just dive in to feel more comfortable in her new surroundings, by attending  public school, eating local foods, and visiting local places. Katie knows that she is struggling, though, with everything, but she has managed to make a couple of good friends at school, Yuki and Tanaka.

Then one day Katie witnesses an argument between Yuu Tomohiro, one of the princes of the high school, and his girlfriend (one of the kind that ends in a breakup). Katie isn't that interested in the fight, but when Yuu (his last name, by the way) drops his notebook, she sees the sketches he made in it move. Katie tries to ask Yuu about it, but he gives her the cold shoulder, even though weird things seem to happen whenever they are around each other. So she decides to follow him around to see what he is up to. Katie finds out that Yuu is a "kami," which in the Shinto belief are "gods" or "spirits" that live among the humans, and in Yuu's case, he can make things happen when he draws sketches in his sketchbook (or sketches out kanji). His drawings can move on the paper and come to life, and ink seems to come from nowhere whenever he is around. No one seems to understand why, but Katie seems tied to the kami, too.

Then another issues comes up between them, the yakuza. Yuu's best friend, Ishikawa, is trying to move up ranks in his yakuza group, and Katie fears that he will bring Yuu (and even herself) into an even more dangerous situation than just dealing with the drawings. The yakuza know about the kami and the kinds of things they can do, and they believe that the power might aid them in their cause. There might also be another group that has their eyes on the two teens, that has even more sinister plans.

I will admit that the idea of the kami is confusing. I have read the Kamisama Kiss manga series, but I still don't have a good grasp on what it means to be a kami. I did a little research, and it seems to me that the kami are similar to what the "nymphs" and "dryads" were in the Greek mythology, but I am not sure if that is what Amanda Sun is thinking when it comes to her characters. I really enjoyed the book, though, and I like the way that Sun paints a picture of the culture, language, and interactions of the Japanese people, especially with an outsider's viewpoint. I am really excited to ready the next book in the series (there is a little preview at the end of this book).

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