When she first moved to Japan, American Katie Green had no idea she would get caught in a battle between the Japanese mafia and the supernatural forces that have governed Japan for most of its history. Despite the danger, Katie is determined to stay put. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But the decision to stay is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control. When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.
Rain (The Paper Gods #2)Featured
The aspects of Ink that I loved are still present, by and large. Katie’s made the decision to stay and Japan, but she does have to deal with the ramifications of that. In her normal life, Katie has to really try to adjust to life in Japan now. At the beginning of Ink, she very much resented being there and wanted to go back to Canada. Now, though, she wants to say, but doing so isn’t going to be easy. Her teacher wants her to either repeat a year of school or transfer to an international school, because her Japanese isn’t nearly good enough for the college entrance exams. This detail was perhaps my favorite part, because, despite the paranormal life-or-death stuff, Katie’s still got to keep focus on her day to day life.
The mythology-inspired paranormal plot line is pretty great. I still find the descriptions of the art coming to life utterly magical and thoroughly compelling. Of course, Harlequin’s gorgeous packaging of the novel, complete with art matching the covers, completes the picture. Like Ink, this book is simply beautiful. The plot itself is quite original, one very obvious twist aside. There’s not nearly enough fiction about other culture’s mythologies and Sun does a lovely job with it.
The romance in Ink didn’t really charm me, because I felt like Katie’s narration got really cheesy anytime she was with Tomo. That doesn’t seem to be quite as much the case any more. She and Tomo joke around and talk less like they’ve escaped from The Vampire Diaries or something. Their gentle ribbing of one another made me like them more than I did before. I also liked the way they’re having to work on their relationship for real world reasons, not just paranormal ones; the cultural difference isn’t insurmountable, but it does take work.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Unfortunately, as their romance improved, other drama seemingly had to arise in its place in the form of Takahashi Jun. He still has a crush on Katie. He also has information. She does the typical romance thing of sneaking off to meet with him just to learn from him, not telling Tomo because it will only hurt his feelings. This always ends well, of course. The love triangle aspect felt so forced, particularly in Sun’s half-hearted attempts to sell Katie being somewhat drawn to Jun. Though I don’t strongly ship Tomo and Katie, I have more faith in Katie’s attachment than that.
The ending was perhaps my biggest issue. There’s a climactic scene, which is quite cinematic and seriously this series would make an amazing anime. Anyway, a character emerges to explain all of the confusing things that have been happening. I do not like this trope and it was all just so damn convenient. Like, this was all stuff they could have learned for themselves with research, but ugh research is hard.
The Final Verdict:
Though Rain wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped, I think if you enjoyed Ink, you’ll want to continue with the series. I will most definitely be sticking around for the next book, because I’m definitely curious what’s next.