ARC Review: Rain

Rain by Amanda Sun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: June 24, 2014

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 continues from where Ink left off – Katie decided to stay back and see how life in Japan will go. Moreover, she wants to unravel the mystery of the ink that is somehow drawn to her. Staying back also means being with Tomohiro and for most part of the book they are blissfully together. But Tomo’s kami heritage keeps getting between them, almost to the point where the ink starts to attack and get rid of her. Katie wants to find out why the ink is doing this and turns to her best source – Jun, who himself is out to woo Katie. Honestly, there is a bit of soap opera like drama between the three of them and two additional people which tries to undermine the fact that the kami in Tomo is taking over him.

The main plotline, of course is the fact that Tomo feels pretty hopeless about his status as a kami – an existence which is plagued with nightmares, and horrible things popping out to kill you. He feels like he should protect Katie from himself, as the ink seems to react to her more. Quitting sketching doesn’t have an effect and he doesn’t want to stay away from her. Both are trying to make it work but the ink is rebelling. I actually liked Tomo’s development in this book. In Ink, he was more of the obnoxious jerk who, though with good intentions, is mean to Katie. In this book, he is sweet, understanding and sensitive to her – and moreover, shows his vulnerable side. Yuki says the boys have a pride thing but not once does he feel annoyed that Katie has to help him out, a fact I admired because if he would have gone all – I don’t need no help – damn, dude, you would end up on my hate list. He even doesn’t misunderstand the Jun situation and get upset with her (I almost expected that angst) but instead acknowledges her right to choose whom she wants to be with. The despair he feels when he learns his heritage, though – I feel Sun did a really good job of depicting his feelings even in second person. It was raw and heart-breaking, and this was only through Katie’s eyes.

The writing, well, it is as beautiful as the previous one – dipping into Japanese culture, keeping the feel of the setting alive with lush descriptions. The characters are rendered wonderfully, each one having his or her own agendas and wants. In this book, the conflict (did not see that coming!) which was revealed towards the end gave for a nice climax after building up through the book. The ups and downs of their relationship, and the ties to the history and kami are blended wonderfully. It was a good sequel and I can’t wait to see how the things get resolved in the final book.

Received an ARC from Harlequin Teen through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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