Shadow (Paper Gods #0.5) by Amanda Sun

Shadow (Paper Gods, #0.5)

Publisher:  Harlequin TEEN
Published: June 2013
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy, romance
ISBN: 1459235827
Goodreads: 3.76
Rating: ★★★

Usually I am not one for paranormal love stories as much as I love reading anything that involves the likes of ghosts or gremlins or anything out of the ordinary. Anything supernatural – a fantasy, based in either a real world or a fictional or where both these worlds co-exist, the real world usually unaware it is even connected to another, one where creatures we thought as mere fantasy exist, where things thought to be unnatural or imagination happen, where things we deem fit for nightmares dwell and lurk for real.

Even so I despise, where fantasy or the elements which come along when dealing with the genre are not used properly when writing a book, especially romances which seem to not use it accurately. Its like the author doesn’t want to utilize the opportunity to use the abundant scope that writing fantasies provide or milks it too dry. Its like fine so here is a vampire, and you guys fell in love with each other – deal with it. Like really O_o.  Hell even normal couples, where both partners are humans have issues how can a couple where both partners are from different species (perhaps?) just deal with it. Its a load of crap totally, how is that even possible ? Just because you are smitten with a 100 year old virgin who has fangs does not mean you should lose your marbles. Losing your cherry should not be directly proportional to losing your head.

Hence I was skeptical even to pick up another one of these paranormal romances – author Amanda Sun’ Ink which has such a gorgeous cover art that it immediately caught my eye when I was looking for new releases on Goodreads earlier this month.

Just look at it

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)

It instantly captivates you.

But then I decided to read the summary and see whether I wanna even bother reading the book or just be content with admiring the stunning cover art.

Here’ what I read :

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Japan – that’s right Japan was the word that immediately drew me in, it’s not (thank god) another werewolf, vampire, shapeshifter, marshmallow man love saga. What a relief !

The culture of Japan is fascinating, one of the oldest in the world. So when a book dealing with the paranormal was based there, it would definitely be something different from the norm, that I was sure of. Hence when I found out about Shadow, the prequel to Ink, the first installment of the Paper Gods series I thought it would be a good way to get a glimpse into the author’ style and perhaps avoid another catastrophe, if it is indeed one. Two terrible reads in a row can do that to you, frighten you to the possibility of completing a hat-trick.

Shadow, I found was a bit slow but not a dull read. It’s a short book – even free from Amazon, at the moment; and is the story of Katie dealing with the death of her mother, lost in her grief and terrified of starting life anew in a foreign country, now that she has to live with her aunt Diane, her mom’ sister, her legal guardian as per her mom’ will.

While on the other side of the world Tomohiro, a high school student who has a difficult relationship with his father and also had lost his mother deals with his own woes. He is haunted by demons of the past – quite literally as was his mother; which he now realizes. Tomohiro has nightmares almost each and every night, about a legendary demon son, who brought about utter destruction and ruin around him everywhere; I suppose Tomohiro is a reincarnation of the man he dreams.

To keep people at bay and safe as well, Tomohiro doesn’t socialize much however he does have a few friends, though none he trusts enough with his secrets. A girlfriend Myu, who he is with, only to ensure a facade of normalcy in his life. He does however have a chink in his armor – a girl named Shiori, who he is protective about a lot. Shiori, for some reason is being bullied by her fellow students in an all girls school in the worst possible way.

For some reason, Katie and Tomohiro have a connection. Perhaps in a previous life they were lovers, most likely and the book ends as a dumbfounded Tomohiro notices Katie amongst  the freshmen of his school during the welcome ceremony and immediately recognizes her as the woman who frequents his dreams, prophesying death and destruction wherever he sets foot with the only difference being in his dreams, the woman is raven haired while Katie is a blonde.

The writing of the book was good enough, though sometimes the use of Japanese words did slow me down as I had to look up for meanings when they weren’t clear by the context or when the author did not explain those, especially with Tomohiro’ chapters as Katie’ being written from a foreigner’ POV – words or titles that came up were explained usually in the next few sentences.

Katie’ character – that of a girl whose mom, whose healthy enough, suddenly dies is written in a way which does justice to the premise. She isn’t whiny, nor in a position where you can expect her to be a burst of sunshine. She is coping, dealing and it is evident she is terrified and confused which is expected of her. She wants to live with her grandparents, but they seem to be declining each day, especially her grandpa who is having a cancer relapse. And even her granny is slowly having troubles due to her age.

Tomohiro, was a bit of a regular angsty character, however I did like his dry sense of humor, for eg – at one point in the book even he thinks its dumb his girlfriend wants to date him because he has this mysterious bad boy persona going on and is perceived by people as someone who is shady. He likes to sketch and is quite talented with the pencil but avoids it since his sketches come to life or become haunted somehow and mysteriously he has these ink blotches oozing out of nowhere when he touches things or people sometimes.

Though I didn’t exactly understand the meaning behind those nightmares or their cause I would nonetheless read Ink to see if any hint or explanation as to them is provided as I am intrigued enough, hoping I am not let down.

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