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In Libris Veritas

Ink - Amanda Sun I barely looked at the summary of this one before I hit request because I saw all I needed to see on that first glance. The words ‘Japan’ and ‘ancient gods’. If you don’t know by now I hold a spot in my heart for Japanese related things like myths/religion, culture, anime, manga, and music. So I guess you could say I was going to love it no matter what but at the same time I have a high expectation so it’s not a given.Ink turned out to be a fantastic read! Katie Greene is an American who due to her mother’s death now has to live with her aunt in Japan. She not only has to deal with the fact that she doesn’t know the language and the culture, but to top things off Yuu Tomohiro (Tomohiro Yuu for the Westerns ;P , last names always go first in Japan) is drawing attention to himself with some very strange artwork. It moves and seems to have a life of its own and despite the danger she feels from Tomo she knows she can’t turn a blind eye to it.I loved the mix of a modern setting and the old Japanese gods like Amaterasu and the Kami. The fact that each drawing and calligraphy mark holds such potential and creation is just awesome. (For video game geeks think along the lines of Okami). We get to see Japan like a contemporary at times with it’s sakura blossoms, rigorous schooling, and even the crime. It touches on a few darker topics as well, like what kind of effect that rigorous schooling has on some kids. I also enjoyed the fact that Amanda took the time to include the Japanese language in the dialogue. It sounds a bit daunting but most of the words are translated a little later into the text or the context clues are rather strong, however if it still seems like you’re not understand some of the words then there is a glossary in the back to help you.Katie was so-so for me. I didn’t quite connect with her at times but I enjoyed her personal journey in the story. She grows to love Japan and all the problems she had adjusting in the beginning fade over time. There were times when I didn’t get her reasoning for some of her decisions, like openly talking about pictures moving…I was wondering if someone was going to make her go see a therapist at some point. The character that drew me in was Tomo. He’s mysterious (of course) and he likes to keep it that way, for a very good reason. He works hard to keep people away but we get to see his goofier/softer side, and his love of art is apparent. Tanaka and Yuki are some of the best side characters I’ve read in YA fantasy lately, they are so cute. There were very few times where I didn’t want to squeeze Tanaka.I’m definitely going to check out the sequel when it’s available because I have to know what Katie is going to do next. I’m hoping to see more Japanese related YA in the coming years, especially if it has as much creativity as Ink does.