I originally purchased Ink on a whim at a local book shop. It has a GORGEOUS cover, and I loved the idea of moving drawings. I'd never heard of the author or story before, but still thought it sounded like a story I'd like.
And then I opened it and found out it takes place in Japan! I was STOKED. I love international stories and Japan is one of my top three travel destinations. I love sushi and calligraphy and all things Japan, so this was a major WIN for me.
However, this book wasn't the slam dunk I was hoping it would be. We first meet Katie at school in Japan, when she's an outsider struggling with language, culture, and food. She overhears a schoolboy Tomohiro being a super dick while dumping his girlfriend, and in the chaos, she sees one of his drawings on the floor. And it's moving!
Sadly, Katie and Tomohiro start an enemies to friends to lovers kind of thing, but they were already super in love by page 60. Katie's main interest in Tomo seemed to stem from his ridiculous good looks and general dickheadedness. The flicker of hope here is that Tomo and Katie both lost their moms in similar fashions, and therefore bond over the grieving processes. It's not much to build a relationship upon, but hey, it's better than nothing.
Otherwise, the romance felt pretty insta-love. There are a lot of times when Katie needs to know something and simply doesn't ask or Tomo gives a vague non-answer when he just as easily could have given a real answer. The whole plot had a Twilight feel with lines like 'You need to stay away from me for your own safety' and 'I'm being a dick for your own good' and such.
The world building and ink magic was SUPER COOL and I really loved the idea of Kami and using calligraphy to alter the physical world. I was less sold on the idea of Katie (an American) somehow being tied to ancient bloodlines and cultures in Japan, but I guess there will be more explanation in later books in the series.
This book would have been a HOMERUN if:
1. There was more development of the relationship
2. Katie didn't cry in every scene
3. Tomo wasn't a total wishywashy fellow
4. It didn't feel like a sales pitch for Julie Kagawa
I guess I can see why the publisher put JK all over this book. They have similar issues, and readers that don't mind them will be happy with both. However, there are several pages of promotion for JK and blurbs and it's really an in-your-face sort of marketing tactic. I wish they'd been a little more subtle here.
I don't think I'll be going on to complete the series, at least not anytime soon. Just wasn't for me. What did you think?