In recent years, mythology-based books have overtaken the world of literature and captivated an entire generation. We’ve seen stories centered around the cultures of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, but we seldom see stories about Japanese culture. Breakout author Amanda Sun has done a marvelous job with bringing life to a vibrant yet overlooked side of mythology.
Her debut novel, “Ink”, follows American high school student Katie Green, who recently moved to Japan to live with her aunt, after her mom has passed away. Between learning a new language, dealing with grief over her mother’s death, and wishing she were living with her grandparents in Canada, Katie struggled to adjust to her new life. The last thing she needed was an unrequited obsession with school recluse and heartthrob, Yuu Tomohiro (often referred to as Tomo).
Despite her best efforts, that’s exactly what she gets. After she stumbles upon an argument concerning Tomo and his girlfriend, she notices something peculiar in the notebook that Tomo is holding. The ink is gravitating from the pages towards her, as though it has been a part of her all along.
It turns out that Tomo is a descendant of the Kami, the legion of Japanese Gods and Goddesses. With the thrills that come with being a descendant of the Goddess of Paper, it also comes with great responsibility. Tomo struggles with himself throughout the novel, fighting for his sanity and to keep his powers at bay.
With Tomo’s ancestry beginning with the Goddess of paper, he has a particular affinity for drawing. However amazing that may seem, it comes with its drawbacks. Anything he draws can jump from the paper and come alive. Though it looks beautiful for a moment, the drawings can quickly turn monstrous and deadly, thus triggering Tomo’s indecision and his tendency to pull away from Katie.
Fans of forbidden romance are certain to love this book. As Katie discovers more and more about Tomo’s past, the pair unconsciously grow closer. Tomo, although mesmerized by Katie and her acceptance of him, becomes increasingly worried for her safety. The reader will continuously root for the couple, slipping to the edges of their seats as darker forces attempt to rip them apart and kill them both.
This series isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill mythological story. It satisfies a craving for adventure, love and knowledge about another culture. Sun’s novel incorporates the Japanese language greatly, making it exceedingly authentic to the foreign eye. “Ink” is fully equipped with a Japanese glossary, containing every word unbeknownst to the reader throughout the book.
Sun has outdone the expectations of many, contradicting theories that “Ink” is just another book about love, or a novel about spiritual figures interfering in people’s lives. Mythology fans will not rest easy until this book has been closed and the sequel opened.