Modern Fantasy · Review · Young Adult

Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink by Amanda SunSynopsis from Goodreads:

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.


Katie Greene is forced to move from Canada to Japan after her mom passes away. Now that she is a few months into her new Japanese school and has two friends, Katie freaks out when she sees Tomohiro’s, the star of the school’s kendo team, drawings — they move. She follows him and solves the mystery of his moving drawings: he is a descendant of the ancient Japanese gods. His new found friendship and honesty with Katie is causing his powers to spin out of control, which doesn’t help with his efforts to keep them hidden from the wrong people.

I loved Amanda Sun’s Ink. At first, it only looked and sounded interesting (one doesn’t see a lot of Asian mythology mixed novels), but I expected it to be unspectacular. This is yet another book that I’m happy to be proven wrong about.

Developed the most are Katie and Tomohiro. Katie grew from a reluctant transplant to a girl who is happier with her new home, as shown by her quicker acceptance of culture is once she follows new interests and makes some friends. She shares my thoughts sometimes. I love that she will think things like: “I’m sorry, was I the only one who experienced the past two days?” (pg. 306). Tomohiro learned to trust at least one other person with his secret. It was bittersweet to see Tomohiro and Katie start to get along when they learned that they both experienced their mothers dying. Ishikawa developed to the extent that he realized the true value of friendship.

The culture and language was perfectly mixed. The traditions, such as the viewing of the cherry blossoms and the constant changing of shoes when entering and leaving a building, were integrated at the perfect time and with great explanation, lending support to Katie’s identity as a gaijin (“a person from a foreign country”). The glossary was wonderful. This coupled with the story line made me want to learn Japanese when I had a very mild interest in it before. I only wish that my e-reader would always send me right back to the page I was on two seconds ago. For this reason, I prefer print glossaries.

For the e-book, the format was good minus flipping back and forth between the story and the glossary. I loved the artwork on the cover and at the start of each chapter.

I found the imagery to be great. The especially vivid pictures are when the ink comes to life (there is a picture provided of a bird Tomohiro drew) like when Tomohiro became a canvas for the ink. The scenery was described well too.

One theme is to practice, develop and control your abilities or else they will control you. A second theme is it is important to protect those you love from danger, even if it comes from a group that claims to want to help them.

I recommend this to Manga/Anime fans, to people who would like a taste of a non-Greek mythology and people who like urban fantasy.

Genres: Urban Fantasy, YA

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

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