Author: Amanda Sun
Series: The Paper Gods (Book 1)
Who’s it for? Teens
What’s it about? Katie’s mum has just died. With her grandparents unable to take her on straight away, she’s shipped halfway round the world to live with her Aunt Diane in Shizuoka, Japan. It’s not easy. She’s the only American at her school and her Japanese isn’t great. But when she meets Tomohiro, gorgeous and cold, life rapidly gets more complicated as drawings begin to move – and attack her. Feelings begin to develop as she delves more into the mystery of Tomohiro and why he can do what he does, but that only serves to land them both in incredible danger.
What’s good about it? I seriously loved all the tidbits and information on Japanese culture and looking at it all through an outsider’s eyes (Katie) made it all the more interesting for me. It was very well researched and I adored the fact that she had to learn the language first, but then I could never tell whether she was speaking Japanese or English with her friends as they seemed pretty fluent.
The writing style is lovely. Although I could have done with bangs being mentioned less – this is a fairly personal thing though, I’m British, bangs always make me think of explosives.
There were some truly gorgeous moments that were beautifully written.
The Kami are fascinating! I could’ve done with more about them, their history and what they’re all about, but as this is book 1 in a series I expect that’s something that will be covered more as the series goes on. All the fight sequences though were made that bit more interesting by the presence of Kami and the ink.
The art within it is beautiful. Seriously lovely.
What’s bad about it? I really disliked Katie and Tomohiro’s relationship. There. I said it. It doesn’t seem to be particularly healthy. She follows him around a fair bit trying to discover his secrets and then gets annoyed with him if he seems to follow her. A little too instant-love for me.
THIS NEXT BIT IS A SPOILER! SKIP DOWN A BIT TO AVOID!
Tomohiro attempts to force himself on her. He takes her to a love hotel and tries to take off her clothes even though she’s telling him no and to stop. She, quite rightly, hot-foots it out of there and then does an abrupt u-turn when she realises he’s just done it to drive her away and keep her safe. No. I’m sorry, that’s not okay. Especially on top of everything else he gets up to (the Yakuza keep trying to recruit him, he admits himself that he keeps getting into fights and he broke up with his first girlfriend by letting her think he got another girl pregnant … oh and he put his best friend in hospital). So … I can’t say I really liked him.
NORMAL SERVICE RESUMES 🙂
Her friends seemed to serve very little purpose beyond telling her that Tomohiro was no good.
The verdict? I requested this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So I’ll be honest.
On the one hand, the cover art is beautiful as is the art withing the book. The writing style is also lovely and there are some beautifully written moments. I also loved all the information on Japanese culture and really enjoyed Katie’s journey in learning to speak the language. Plus the idea behind the Kami was fascinating and I really, really hope that the next book expands on that more as there was just the merest hint of tantalising information.
On the other hand, I hated Katie and Tomohiro’s relationship. It just didn’t seem remotely healthy to me and the fact that she seemed to fall madly and deeply in love with him in the space of mere seconds annoyed me. Also her friends only seemed to exist to tell Katie that Tomohiro was bad news.
So I’ve mixed feelings on this one. I disliked more than I liked, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid reading book 2 all the same.