Rain by Amanda Sun is the second book in the Paper Gods series and continues the story of Katie as she figures out how to live in Japan and deal with some rather strange mystical powers that have cropped up. If you haven’t read Ink, the first novel, there will be some spoilers below, though nothing too major. I can’t help but adore the magic system based on ink drawings and the view of Japan from an outsider’s perspective as Katie tries quite hard to learn how to fit in. Though I’m not very familiar with Japan’s culture and language, I thought that Rain successfully conveyed various cultural differences from the US and integrated Japanese phrases without leaving an American reader in the dust.
Note: I received Rain through Netgalley for review consideration. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Rain by Amanda Sun (Paper Gods #2)
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 24th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.
When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.
- Rain extends our knowledge of the Kami world marvelously and I adored getting both more information about the myths about the kami as well as details of how the magic system works in the present day. Katie’s place in this magic system was a bit fuzzy in Ink and it was great to see that clarified and developed in Rain.
- Katie and Tomo are a pretty adorable couple and now that they are both clear about their devotion to each other, they share plenty of sweet moments in Rain. It is of course not all inked butterflies and rainbows, however, and it was interesting to see how their relationship developed with the added strain of Tomo’s powers growing less controlled.
- One of my favorite things about Ink were the interior illustrations and Rain continues with this added content. The chapter headers are beautiful along with illustrations based on events in the story.
- I read a physical copy of Ink, so I don’t know if this is new or not, but my eARC of Rain very helpfully linked new Japanese words to the glossary in the back so that I could easily check the meaning without losing my place. Most of the time there were translations in the text as well, but it was nice to be able to quickly be sure of what the phrase means.
- Katie is rather unfortunately good at causing drama. While I did generally understand her motivations, I really wanted to give her a reminder bracelet along the lines of “What would a non-dramatic person do?” >.>
- Rain manages to skirt around a true love triangle, but there is definitely a relationship triangle between Jun, Tomo and Katie that really didn’t seem necessary.
- While mostly Rain has translations for Japanese words in the text or glossary, there were still occasions when a word showed up again and wasn’t linked or explained. I unfortunately cannot remember all of the words that are defined, so this meant I struggled when words showed up again chapters later.
Rain is a delightfully fun fantasy for fans of anime and Japanese myths. While the relationship drama sometimes felt like a soap opera, I still darn enjoyed this one. I’d say if you’ve read Ink, you have a pretty good idea of whether Katie’s brand of silliness is fun or annoying to you ;-). I am really excited for the third book, though, since the kami world is getting pretty crazy by the end of Rain!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Rain by Amanda Sun
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