Ink is a young adult urban fantasy with a difference. Set in Japan, instead of the usual vampires, werewolves and witches, we have kami, Japanese gods. The common belief among those who gave credence to their existence is that the kami were wiped out at the end of the Second World War when the allies forced the emperor to renounce his divinity, but as in all urban fantasies, the magical exists right beneath the noses of ordinary people. The mark of a kami is that their drawings move, hence the ink.
The story involves Katie, an American girl living in Japan with her Aunt after the death of her mother, and Tomo a Japanese boy whose kami heritage is so strong that he can’t control the ink. His drawings leap of the page and attack with very real teeth and claws. Katie knows there’s something strange about him. She knows she should avoid him, but she falls in love with him anyway, and it’s a shock when she realises the truth.
Tomo is so powerful that others who learn about his hidden talent want to use him to further their quest for power and riches, thus Katie and Tomo find themselves in dire situations as they try to retain control over their own lives. The characters are very real and the Japanese setting and culture provides an interesting context.
Ink has the mix of romance and action that young adult readers enjoy. It’s a tight, well-written story with some nice surprises and a mystery that makes us want to read on after the end. There is a sequel coming and I look forward to it. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes the young adult style.