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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 


Ink - Amanda Sun Really 2.5 stars.To see full review click here.Okay. This one. I was really excited about it. So much that I preordered that despite reading some dubious reviews from some trusted sources.I should've relied on my friends.I didn't hate this one. It had a nice idea that sort of succeeded and I think it captured Japanese culture pretty well. Grant it, most of my exposure to Japanese culture has been limited to sushi, Hello Kitty, and Nancy Drew, and all those Karate Kid movies; but the book made me feel like I wasn't in America. And I liked that. That part of the book really succeeded.The drawings in the book, though slightly random and sort of sparse (there were only like four of them and the book was like three hundred plus pages long) were pretty kick ass too. That being said, this book had issues.It was just a walking cliche.That's the best way to describe it. That sounds horrible, but it's true. And yes, I know YA especially YA paranormal is a genre that is filled with cliches but come on Twilight came out almost ten years ago it's time to move on.It's especially painful when your book has so many original elements like Ink does. The Japanese mythology was refreshing. I really feel like most of the genre is filled with Greek and or Judeo-Christian mythology as bases for their various worlds and that's a shame. The world is filled with many different religions and mythologies and I think its about time that they're incorporated in YA. So plus to Sun for that..but at the same time the mythology at times felt a little weak. I get that Sun didn't want to info dump and I thank her for that but I wanted to know more. And what I did see, I didn't understand why it basically had to be used for a replacement for vampires. Just ridiculous.So how many Twilight cliches are in Ink? Let's count them shall we?1) Our darling main character has a nontraditional family and is moving with a new relative in a far off land.2) She has friends almost automatically and sees a boy with a bad reputation (which btw, am I the only one that finds it disturbing that she stalked a guy who she thought had a child on the way. Really? You think he'd want a new girlfriend when he has a kid on the way-priorites). 3)Bad boy turns her down but she keeps stalking even though he's nasty. She meanwhile suspects he's not normal and turns to Google for help.4) They unexpectedly get together usually when there's bad weather and she confronts him.5) He reveals his dark secret but since she's "the one" she doesn't freak out and says she can handle it.6) A big bad usually comes at this point and fucks things up7) Our damsel in distress meanwhile meets a new hot friend to set up a love triangle for the second book.8) She then finds herself in peril that a sensible person could've avoided with pepper spray, taser gun, and/or a loud set of lungs and a good kick in the groin. 9) She has to be rescued.10) She ends in bittersweet misery because even though she and her love are safe darkness or scary redhead vampires surround them (i.e. there's going to be a sequel).That's Ink minus the scary redheaded vampire. It's original enough. It involves Japanese mythology and there's no Cullen family, but it follows the Twilight formula which I find just to be lazy. But then I read the rest of the book and it's obvious she did research and I'm just....Conflicted.Though, according to Nessa's review some of the Japanese elements weren't even researched that much. However, for the Japanese novice that I am I didn't notice this much.To be honest I probably would've given this one a solid six on my own review scale (three stars Good Reads) if it wouldn't have ben for a certain fight that our main characters have. Tomo you are an ass. No means no and you need to respect that. And Katie, you do NOT rationalize that he only did that just to protect you he was out of line regardless. Yeah, I had to use the mind bleach after those scenes.Best Feature: Japan. By far the best feature. I actually felt like I was sucked into the country when reading this book. Grant it, I don't know squat about the country other than from my Nancy Drew games/books, but I really felt like I learned a lot from this book. And not in the dorky educational type of way.Worst Feature: Cliches. Oh. My. God. As I said before, this book reminds me of a lot of other Twilight ripoffs I've read, but I like it slightly better because it involves Japan and the mythology is fairly unique. But that being said, remember Carrier of the Mark? If you don't, I don't blame you but it's essentially that shitty Twilight wannabe book that took place in Ireland. This reminded me of that book except it was better written and Sun didn't go as far as to ripoff the Cullen family and its five thousand super powers. The structure though and the main characters are a riff on the Stephenie Meyer series. Honestly, I was able to tolerate a lot of these cliches. It's YA. I almost think publishing companies require cliches to be in the book , but in this book what would've been an awesome story is just overpowered by them. And I really can't help but feel sorry for it and it's a book and books are in-animated objects that I shouldn't feel sorry for.Appropriateness: There are a few f bombs here, some violence (which includes dating violence). It's fairly typical to what you see in YA today though.