• Reading

    2015 Reading Journey: Shadow

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    Shadow by Amanda Sun

    Shadow is a prequel novella to Amanda’s Paper Gods trilogy. I have read it before, when it first came out, but when I wrestled Storm (the final volume) away from my oldest daughter, I decided I’d like to read the whole set of stories as a single, continuous tale. I don’t do re-reads very often, and I haven’t done a trilogy in one go more than a handful of times as an adult, but I thought I’d like to do real reviews of each story in the sequence, and that makes Shadow a good place to start.

    So, taking it as the first piece of the story, Shadow introduces the two primary characters of Ink, Katie and Tomohiro, and it’s told in the first person for both, in thirteen alternating chapters plus both a prologue and an epilogue. The bookends are both from Tomohiro’s perspective, and we begin with a nightmare in progress. For Katie, we start with a different kind of nightmare, at the gathering right after her mother’s funeral.

    After that, the two stories run in parallel. Katie starts to come to terms with her mother’s death, makes the move to Japan to live with her aunt, and starts school there. Tomohiro takes steps to remove himself further from the social life of a normal (Japanese) teenager and begins to make an effort to understand his dreams. The stories don’t quite come together, but do brush up against one another near the end, with the first day of school welcoming ceremonies.

    Overall rating: 4 stars. Translation: this is a good establishing the background and character introduction story. It makes a nice prequel to Ink, but would have thrown the pacing of the novel off completely if it had been included. But since Ink is told entirely from Katie’s point of view, we also would have lost Tomohiro’s journey. You don’t need to read Shadow before Ink to enjoy either story. Actually, you don’t need to read Shadow at all to enjoy Ink, but if you’ve liked any of Ms. Sun’s other writing, you owe it to yourself to check it out. And, as of this writing, it’s available free in a couple of places.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Fiction,  Reading

    What I’m Reading: Rain

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    Lately, I don’t seem to spend all that much time sitting still. I’m far, far behind on my reading goals for this year, at least when it comes to books. I am doing plenty of reading, but it’s mostly online, mostly electronic.

    And I’ve come, in the past few years, to somehow look at a print book as a luxury, something to sit down and savour, rather than devour.

    So it is with my current primary fiction reading. Rain, by Amanda Sun.

    This is the second book in her Paper Gods trilogy, and I’m ashamed to say that, much as I want to find a couple of hours to just sit down and read the whole thing straight through, I haven’t been able to do so. Instead, I’ve had to satisfy myself with a chapter here, a chapter there. As it stands, I’m only halfway through the book, when she very generously provided my daughters and me with an advanced reading copy Anime North at the end of May. (I also have a copy from her launch party. Both are signed, of course.)

    The girls have both long since reached the end of the book, and both in a matter of days. So I’m left with a bit of guilt, but my slow read also means that I have things to look forward in the story that they already know, I still have more of the story to savour, and I will have less waiting time between finishing book 2 and the arrival of book 3 next year.

    Rain, like a its predecessor, is YA fantasy, and is published by Harlequin Teen. But don’t let that fool you, this is not a romance story. Oh, certainly there are elements of romance in it, and the primary protagonists are in the vicinity of 17 years old, withing sight of finishing high school in Japan. But this is not a teenybopper romance story. This is modern fantasy set in Japan and giving us an awesome treatments of certain aspects of Japanese mythology, translated into our world. So sure there’s romance, but there’s also action, adventure, danger, and a little bit of cultural exploration that you don’t even realize is going on while you read.

    I loved the first book, and I’m loving the second. And I absolutely recommend that anyone go out and buy it. It’s a fun and amazing story, and if you’re a YA fan, a fantasy fan, or a fan of Japanese culture, you’ll absolutely be a fan of Rain. And Ink, the first book.

    Thank you, Amanda. And I can’t wait to see what comes next.

    ink-cover

    rain-cover

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