I reviewed Ink, the first in the series, last summer and really liked some aspects of the novel, including an interesting premise--an artist's drawings coming alive. Other elements that were promising: the cultural information about Japanese customs, the difficulty of fitting into a school where another language is spoken, typical teenage rivalry exacerbated by supernatural events.
So...a little background:
Katie Green moved to Japan after her mother's death so that she could live with her aunt. She made good friends, but still has some difficulties with school and learning the kanji characters for literacy. She has a cute and talented boyfriend, Tomohiro; also interested in Katie is Jun, another cute and talented fellow, who completes the triangle.
In Ink, Tomo discovered his connection to the Kami, powerful supernatural beings, and he continues struggling to control the ink, to keep his drawings from becoming destructive. Jun is also a Kami, and in the last book, Jun wanted to recruit Tomo for his own purposes; Tomo refused. Now Katie turns to Jun as a possible source of help because Tomo is having more and more trouble controlling his drawings, and when he tries to stop drawing, well...let's not go there.
But is Jun truly an a friend or are his own purposes paramount?
The characters are still well-drawn, but for me, the plot becomes less involving as it becomes more complicated. The Kami and the violent and misbehaving ink drawings don't completely draw me in. They have become too powerful and too mythic. What I like is the relationships between the characters--not just the major characters, but the minor ones as well. The difficulties of being different, regardless of the reason, issues with which several characters find troubling.
I was a bit disappointed because I'd lose interest at points that are supposed to be highlights, but I still had an interest in the interpersonal relations. All should be resolved in the next book.
Fantasy. June 24, 2014. Print version: 320 pages.