A huge thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for providing us a copy of this book!
WARNING: There are some minor spoilers in this review. You have been warned. HUZZAH.
You know that saying, don’t judge a book by this cover? Well I’ll admit it, I wanted to read this book because of the cover. But really, can you blame me? This cover is gorgeous! I mean look at that beauty!
So things were looking good for Ink. That is, until the romance appeared.
Katie is the new girl at high school. She meets the mysterious yet beautiful Tomohiro. He turns out to have supernatural powers. They fall in love.
Does that summary remind you of anything? Say, I don’t know… every bad paranormal romance to exist ever? Stripping away the Japanese element and the supernatural power in question; we have your boring, high school romance where nothing happens except our oblivious main character obsessing over some random jerk she just met. And the first half of the book, with the odd supernatural occurrence, was just Katie thinking about Tomohiro. And then talking to Tomohiro. And then staring at Tomohiro. And then thinking about him some more. And it got boring very quickly.
The only time I actually felt that they had some sort of romantic connection was near the end of the book, at which point it read like a school crush. Except we are supposed to believe, by this point, that these characters are so in love with each other that they would die for one another. Their relationship moved unbelievably fast.
Katie felt very bland, as her whole personality seemed to consist of being in love with Tomohiro, which left no space for us to see anything else about her. And none of her other relationships seemed real because of it. Unfortunately, the minor characters had barely any screen time with Tomohiro taking up all of Katie’s thoughts. However, I will say that Katie, at least, had some common sense, which is more than I can say for most of those lead female characters out there.
And Tomohiro was creepy as hell. Sure he was certainly a lot nicer than most of the guys in paranormal fiction (*cough* Patch Cipriano *cough*), but the one attempted rape scene certainly changed my opinion about him. I know it was an act, and I know he didn’t mean it, and I know he was doing it for Katie’s good, but holy waffles did it make me uncomfortable. I mean, was he not the slightest bit worried about how Katie would feel afterwards, almost being violated by someone she thought she could trust? I didn’t get any inclination that he felt uncomfortable trying to rape her. And I didn’t understand why he could have just told Katie, straight up, that he was too dangerous to be around. Nope, his first resort was sexual assault. Creepy.
The minor characters really were lacking in personality. Jun was flirtatious. Yuki gossiped a lot. Tanaka… was there. Diane was sweet. There was a very obvious lack of subplots in this book, which would have helped greatly to make them more developed characters, however we know almost nothing about them and therefore they were mere cardboard cutouts of people.
The Writing Style
It was, honestly, nothing special. A lot of clichés used. Someone would say something, and Katie would tell us what they meant, even though we knew what they were talking about each time. It felt as though each fact was being repeated two or three times for us just in case we missed it, which felt unnecessary to say the least. However, the writing did flow nicely and the book was very easy to read, so I’m not trying to say that the writing was bad at all. It was good. It just could have been a lot better.
Jumping to Conclusions
Katie sees her drawings moving on the page, and then sees Tomohiro standing near her. She assumes that he is causing the drawings to move.
That seems like a pretty big conclusion to jump to for a girl who does not believe in the supernatural and barely knows this guy who she suspects to be making her drawings murder weapons.
The Setting and Paranormalcy
It’s nice to see a writer set something in a different country, and obviously know what she’s talking about. I don’t know much about Japan (apart from what I’ve learned from anime) but her facts did seem very accurate and the culture was fascinating to read about. And it did help me learn some more Japanese, which is always a bonus. And the supernatural element? Awesome. Drawings coming to attack you and cutting you yet having no control over it – a brilliant concept but also a nice new take on the old myths. My favourite parts were probably the gruesome yet beautiful images of the ink: pooling out of canvases and people; mixing with blood and to the ground, then suddenly disappearing in the next second.
It was very sparse, but when it was there, it did make me smile. It wasn’t forced, like a lot of humour in books tends to be. And if there had been more of it, it would have made an even more enjoyable read and developed Katie’s character a lot further.
- “My heart was glass–easy to see through, simple to break.”
- “They tell you you’ll forget how it used to be. You’ll get used to it, that it’s better to move on. They don’t realize you can’t. You’re not the same person anymore.”
A brilliant concept yet it was ruined by the unnecessary romance, and the bland characters. However, it was an enjoyable read and the setting and supernatural elements really enhanced the experience. 2 1/2 shuriken stars. Read it if you want a new, good, paranormal romance, or are looking for something quick and easy to read. Or if, like me, you’re a sucker for gorgeous covers.