Published by: Harlequin Teen
Release date: 25th June 2013
Series: Paper Gods #1
I got it from: NetGalley
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.
This one's a grower - it starts slowly, and I was actually a little bit disappointed by it at first - I was so looking forward to reading it that I'd built it up a bit too much in my mind I think. But as I kept reading, it picked up the pace and started to really grow on me, to the point at which I couldn't put it down and was disappointed when I got to the end - not because of the ending, but because now I have to wait ages for the next one!
One thing I did love from the beginning was the gentle immersion into Japanese culture that Sun gives us. Just as Katie has to get used to the culture shock of moving to Japan, we readers need to get used to the vast differences in culture and the way it affects the story. Sun does it perfectly - from the bits and pieces of language she uses to the descriptions of the food and the way Katie feels when she gets something wrong, we are slowly taught about the differences between the western and eastern ways of life.
Because the Japanese culture is so very different, the book had that fantasy kind of feel to it -the feeling that you're in a different world, and you don't quite know how it all works. Katie feels the same - she's just lost her mum, and now she's been dropped into a world where she can't speak or read the language, she has to eat weird food using sticks, and drawings come to life. Life doesn't get much weirder. Katie's a good character - it takes a while to get to know her, but once you do you see that she's a person worth knowing. She has a certain strength even though she doesn't realise it - the way she throws herself into speaking Japanese as much as she can, the way she sees through Tomohiro's cold facade and goes after him even though he discourages her, even to the point of taking up kendo! I think that just getting used to being a blonde giant surrounded by dainty Japanese girls was enough to give her the courage she needed to deal with the strange inky happenings.
Tomohiro is a shady character (no pun intended!), at turns reticent, cold and caring. I'm not sure I would have had Katie's patience with him to be honest, but then I guess someone who can make drawings come to life deserves a bit of effort.
I would have liked to hear a bit more about the mythology behind the kami gods, but maybe that will come with the next book.Worth the hype? Eventually!