Ink - Amanda Sun Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!*Sigh* I had high hopes for this book. I mean … just look at that cover. It's gorgeous. And the premise of the book was really promising, too––a story that takes place in Japan, people who make drawings that come to life, stuff about Japanese mythology … I had hoped that this would turn out to be super-duper amazing. After reading some fairly negative reviews, I started to lose hope. But a part of me still prayed that this would be great. Unfortunately, this book was just okay for me.I can give this book props for a few things. First of all, as I said, the premise was very cool.I haven't read many YA books that took place in Japan––and by that I mean, I've barely read any YA books at all that took place in Japan. So the setting was something that set it apart from most books I've read. The author obviously knows a lot about Japanese culture (and from reading the Q&A at the end of the book, I know that she spent a few years studying abroad there). I did learn a lot about the culture, and I think Amanda Sun did a good job tying it into the story.I also loved the idea of incorporating Japanese mythology. I've been interested in Shinto mythology since I learned a bit about it in freshman year of high school (and in fact, it inspired some of my own writing). I don't think I've ever read a book that did a modern-day spin on Shinto mythology, so that was something original and intriguing.Also, I really liked the illustrations. I wish there had been more of them, but I liked what few illustrations there were. However, in the end I think I was more in love with the idea of this book than the book itself. There was so much potential in the idea … but unfortunately, it went down the typical YA paranormal romance route.You know, this is a bit reminiscent of when I read [b:Tiger's Curse|9284655|Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1)|Colleen Houck||7156226]. That book was another YA book that took place outside of the US (in India) and also tried to tie in mythology (in that case, Hindu mythology). Both that book and this book did the same thing; they did a decent job of using a unique setting and informing the reader about the culture of that setting, but when it came to the mythology, they both kind of wimped out … and then instead of focusing on that, it became focused on the romance.So, what could have been a great story that involved Shinto mythology instead became … well, Twilight basically. Girl: I'm a clueless new girl who has no idea what I'm doing. Teehee.Boy: Grrr I'm a bad boy who breaks all the ladies' hearts.Girl: Oooh he seems like kind of a cold and unfeeling jerk … but he's so hawt.Cardboard friends: Stay away from that guy! He's trouble!Girl: Thanks for your advice guys but … nahhh.Boy: I have magical powers. Stay away from me. I'm dangerous.Girl: No I cannot stay away! We must be together 5ever! Boy: Oh, very well then. Let's make out. … *Two seconds later* But really, you must stay away from me. I'm DANGEROUUUUS.And you know, the cycle repeats itself over and over for a few hundred pages.I didn't feel much of a connection to the characters in this book at all. Katie is pretty bland and seems to have no personality outside of obsessing over Tomohiro. Basically from the moment she saw him, he was all she ever thought about for the entire book. (And note, the first time she sees him, he's breaking up with his girlfriend––by lying to her that he got another girl pregnant. Nice guy, huh?)And Tomohiro … Accck. He's another one of those jerk characters who is horrible to women all the time and then his excuse is, "I'm only being mean to protect you!" *Seethes with anger* For example, there's one point in this book where he takes Katie to a hotel and seriously pretends like he's about to rape her––like really, he's trying to take her clothes off and she keeps telling him she's not ready, and then he acts all angry and calls her a "typical Western girl." After Katie runs away from him after that, she quickly realizes that it was an act to scare her away from him:I was a moron. An absolute, total moron.It wasn't like Tomohiro to take me to a love hotel, to say the things he'd said. He was messing with me to get me to hate him.To save me.No Katie, you're not a moron for being angry at a guy for PRETENDING HE WAS GOING TO RAPE YOU. That's not a cool thing for a guy to do. That's a horrible thing to do. And I'm getting tired of seeing YA books where women are told that men act like assholes to "protect" them. No. NO. NOOOOooo.So, you get the idea. I thought Tomohiro was a typical asshole-male-love-interest. And the other characters, I don't think are really worth mentioning. As briefly mentioned earlier, Katie has some cardboard-cutout friends who don't really do anything but try to warn her, over and over again, to stay away from Tomohiro. There's also this guy Jun who is also obsessed with Katie (of course). And … yeah, that's about it. I don't think I have anything else to say. Over all, I thought the premise and setting of this book were really intriguing; it gives the reader a look at Japanese culture and it at least skims the surface of Japanese mythology. However, I didn't feel enough connection to the characters or story to continue with the series.