Mini Book Reviews: INK and SIEGE AND STORM

So it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed (or should I say raved?) about some books I’ve read recently, and so I’d like to share with you two equally fantastic books that have jumped onto my favorites list.

Firstly, a book I just finished a couple days ago: Ink by Amanda Sun

The Goodreads summary:

Photo credit: Goodreads
“On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building. 
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets. 
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.”

So I’ve been interested in Japan and Japanese culture for some time, so when I heard about this YA Fantasy set in Shizuoka, I was immediately intrigued. The Japanese backdrop in Ink was so beautifully incorporated that I wanted to hop on a plane and visit immediately after finishing the book. Add in a unique mythology, hot Japanese boys, kendo, a pace that has you flipping pages quickly, and a complicated, realistic romance to boot, and I didn’t hesitate to give it five stars.

As a side note, I actually recommend picking up the print copy of this book. Not only is the cover (and texture of the cover) entirely perfect, but there are sketches throughout the book including little flip-the-page type animations in the corners of the pages that were really nice finishing touches that would not have been the same in an e-copy.

Now the wonderful Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo.

The Goodreads summary:

Photo credit: Goodreads
Darkness never dies. 
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long. 
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.”

First and foremost, if you like YA Fantasy and haven’t read Shadow and Boneyou need to go to your nearest bookstore or grab your e-reader and buy it immediately. The Grisha trilogy is one of my favorite YA trilogies of all time. The Russian-based fantasy backdrop combined with steampunk elements, an intensely epic magic system and an antagonist that you’ll love as much as you hate are just some of the reasons that I’ve fallen so deeply in love with this series.

I actually meant to review Siege and Storm ages ago, but at any rate, I loved this book. As you probably guessed from the above, it’s the sequel to Shadow and Bone and it certainly did not disappoint. I loved the new characters, the romance is complicated and sometimes ugly and always wonderful, and to say it’s an exciting read is an understatement.

Both of these books really helped to satisfy my fantasy fix, and I couldn’t recommend them more.

Have you read either of these books? Do you have any recommendations for me? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Twitter-sized bites: 
Looking for great YA Fantasy reads? Don't miss INK by Amanda Sun & SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo! (Click to tweet
Looking for a great read in an exotic setting? Check out these fabulous YA Fantasies! (Click to tweet)  


Emma Adams said...

I loved both of them! If you're looking for something similar to Ink, I recommend The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott, which also brings Japanese mythology into a contemporary setting (London). Her other fantasy books are pretty great, too - Shadows on the Moon is set in an alternative Feudal Japan with a really unique magic system!

Ava Jae said...

Just looked up The Night Itself and it looks like a fun read! I've added it to my TBR pile. Thanks! :D

RoweMatthew said...

Ink sounds interesting but I might be too critical of the Japanese setting, living here and all. I might check it out though.

Ava Jae said...

As I understand it, the author lived in Japan for some time and drew from her experience to write it. Seeing how I've never been to Japan myself, I can't say how accurate it is, but if you do read it, I'd be interested to know if you found it accurate. :)

RoweMatthew said...

I just saw there is a free prequel short story on the iBook store. So I'll try that first

Ava Jae said...

I didn't even realize there was a prequel. I may have to take a look...

RoweMatthew said...

It's called 'Shadow'.

Ava Jae said...

Good to know. Thanks!

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