Author: Amanda Sun
Format/Length: eBook/304 pages
Publisher/Date Published: Harlequin Teen/June 24th 2014
Category/Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
Source: Netgalley — thank you!
Description: American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She’s started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can’t imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she’s fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She’s flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.
When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo’s dark ancestry, as well as Katie’s, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.
2/5 stars —
I need to first say that these books have so much potential. But . . . unfortunately, I found as though it did not live up to my expectations. I’m not sure if I ever actually reviewed Ink, the first in the series, but I wasn’t super impressed with the novel. I thought as though it was simply another Twilight, just set in Japan, but I’m going to tackle that part later in the review. Also: this review will contain thoughts from the first book as well as its sequel (Rain) just so you know. However, there are no spoilers to get your panties in a twist about. First, I want to highlight the positive notes of this book.
1) The setting is unique, different, and fresh.
2) I loved the inclusion of Japanese mythology.
3) The pictures.
Alas, those were the only positives I found whilst reading Rain. I really loved the fact that this book was set somewhere outside of America — which, let’s face it, most books I read are — and I really enjoyed reading about their culture, language, and customs. It was really refreshing to read about something I’ve never experienced before, and it was interesting to see how Katie adapted and changed from an American lifestyle to a foreign one.
As you might or might not know, the story is based around the myth of the Kami. This was the element of the novel which I enjoyed the most, as I love reading about different cultures and mythology. The story involves sketches coming to life and so on — the first novel was pretty much Katie’s introduction to the knew world, and knowing that she was somehow connected to it. The second novel focuses more on this element and how exactly she is connected with the ink. Is she Kami? Is she not? This novel explains.
Hey, everyone likes pictures, yeah? I thought so. One of the best elements in this novel was the inclusion of water painting-styled images (similar to the covers, just in black-and-white), which were skilfully drawn, and added to the story. Sometimes I can find it hard to picture in my mind what it is exactly that the author wants me to see, but the brilliant thing about the drawings were that they were there for me.
That’s everything positive I could find about Rain. So now, I’m venturing into the areas that I liked not as much.
1) The writing.
2) The character development.
3) I found that this was slightly . . . well, boring. I don’t mean to sound intentionally harsh — but I can’t think of another way to put it.
4) The romance.
There was nothing really stand-out about the writing. Apart from the characters and storyline, I feel as though a novel needs to have solid, hooking writing. I’m not saying that the writing was bad — because it wasn’t — it did its job; it told the story, but neither did it leave me wanting for more.
Now I’m going to talk about the three main-ish characters: Katie, Tomo, and Jun. None of them were likeable in my opinion. I found myself cringing at some of the decisions they ended up making, and their character arc didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I like to see changes between characters as a novel develops, especially between two books. They seemed flat and forced most of the time in my opinion.
I felt like, for most of this novel, nothing happened. Of course there was a climax at the end of the novel where big things were revealed, fights took place, but up until that point I felt like there was something missing. There didn’t seem to be much pushing the move forward, save from boring teenage drama, and the occasional enticing incident.
Oh, the dreaded love triangle! Here’s something about me: I don’t hate love triangles. I really don’t. Not when they’re done well and when they’re believable. Neither were in this novel. Of course, the introduction of Jun in the first novel begged for a love triangle, and I was not surprised to see that Katie’s emotions were once more torn in this novel. And considering this is a young adult novel, it was no surprise to see that Katie was beginning to have split feelings about the two boys. My problem was that I didn’t care for either of the love interests. Especially Tomo. I kind of just wanted him to vanish from the novel he was so flat.
Overall: Not great, but the pictures were cool.
Have you read Ink or Rain? Let me know what you thought of it in the comment below!