Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Hana Yori Dango ~ Ink by Amanda Sun ARC Review

Rating: 4.6/5

'There's a saying in Japan, and it has to do with cherry-blossom viewing - hana yori dango. Dumplings over flowers.

It basically means that someone should value needs over wants, substance over appearance...Don't get carried away by beauty if it leaves you empty...'

The most beautiful places - and people - can be filled with the darkest secrets. Behind friendly faces, smiles and facades of happy lives can lie an emptiness that can't be filled.

And no one knows that better than Katie Greene.

The loss of her mother doesn't make it any easier for Katie to move to Shizuoka, Japan. There's the new language, the new culture, the new people...all Katie wants to do is be back home, not stuck with her aunt in Japan with Amerika-jin all but stamped across her forehead. Without Katie uttering a word, people have already decided that she's a foreigner - out of place from her bright hair to her limited knowledge of Japanese. 

And Katie's fine with that. She has no plans on remaining in Japan for long, anyway.

'My heart was glass - easy to see through, simple to break.'

But Fate has more in store for Katie, whether she likes it or not. Tomohiro - handsome, scathing and distant - seems to be on a collision course with Katie, cropping up near her when she least expects it. And wherever he is, trouble follows.

But it's not the kind of trouble you can deal with. Not when it's the stuff of nightmares.

Because whenever Tomohiro is around, ink - drawings, pens, sketches - come to life, springing from the page. Sometimes harmless, but sometimes vicious, they seem to be everywhere Katie looks. Tomohiro insists that he has nothing to do with it. He tells Katie it's all in her head. But Katie isn't going to be put off that easily. Tomohiro is an ink well of secrets - secrets that may be darker than Katie expects. Secrets that have links - not to mundane, ordinary powers. No; secrets that have links to the gods.

Katie and Tomohiro are drawn together, but his secrets and his destiny may just tear them apart.

My thoughts:

This book was incredible. 

Not only the story - but the attention to detail and how the author, Amanda, plunges you the reader into her world thoroughly. You don't feel disconnected. The drawings and sketches littered throughout the pages (which are of an outstanding quality), the use of Japanese terms and phrases (which are accompanied by brief explanations!) and the balance of fiction with reality are all key elements to what makes this book great.

Japan has such a rich, wonderful culture - and Amanda has treated it with respect, even through Katie's 'foreigner' viewpoint. Japanese culture is so much more than Japan the country, its food, its sites and its entertainment. The way people react to situations (e.g. hugging is often a 'no-no'!), how how you say a person's name gives so much insight into your relationship with that's overwhelming, but beautiful. 

We as readers are treated to a slice of Japan, mixed with an incredible take on Japanese mythology with characters that are many-faceted and who you will grow to love, and even hate! 

What really grabbed me was the detail with which Amanda describes the ink coming to life - as if she herself has seen it! It's so vivid that if you close your eyes, you could imagine it straight off. That is writing magic right there!

A big thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen (and Amanda) for giving me the chance to read and review this book :)

1 comment:

  1. I have seen some great reviews of this book, I am so excited about reading about Japan considering not many YA books have this setting. thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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