Second Chances: Rain by Amanda Sun

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.

Source: GoodReads

I give too many second chances.

If you read my review of Ink you’ll know that I wasn’t overly impressed by this series.  But I decided to give it a second chance for two reasons:

1)Japan: Let’s face it.  If a book is halfway readable and if it takes place in Japan I’m going to read it.

2) Non-Western Mythology: Again.  If it’s halfway readable, I’m going to read it.

However, those two things alone aren’t enough to make a good book.  As Ink and Rain is proof of.

I really was hoping for more.

There was lots of potential with the Paper Gods series even if Ink was basically Twilight set in Japan.

And I will say that there was some (being the optimal word) improvement with Rain.  Not enough to make it a better book than Ink, but enough where I wouldn’t say this was a complete bomb.

What did Rain have to offer that Ink didn’t have:

1) Consequences: There are actually some consequences to Katie, Tomo, and Jun’s stupidity.  Some.  And there’s also consequences for Katie being completely illiterate in Japanese school.  That was something right?

Well, almost.  Of course, these consequences would ultimately be jacked up.  But hey….it was an attempt at consequences.

2) The plot deviates a bit more from romance: A little bit, mind you.  We still have to deal with some stupid YA love melodrama which I’ll get to in a minute.  But Sun did try to flesh out the romance aspect a bit more.

3)The characters are a little bit more developed: Well, sort of.  At least I know more about Tomo and Jun besides their different hair colors.

Now for the bad:

You know I feel bad about this.

People were asking me why I was giving this book a chance since I didn’t like its predecessor that much.  But I told them I saw the potential.

And now I’m kicking myself.

While I tried to write down the improvements I saw with Rain, it really was hard for me to say it was that much of improvement.

In a lot of ways, Rain was a reminiscent to New Moon as Ink was to Twilight.

I’m not joking in this book we had:

1) Relationship Trouble

2)Break Ups

3) Love Triangles

4) And Mopey Main Characters.

Yeah, sounds like New Moon to me too.

The love triangle aspect was probably the most annoying out of the New Moon tropes to me.

Dear lord, Sun, why do you have to have Jun and Katie making goggly eyes at each other.  And for that matter, why slut slam Tomo’s pregnant friend?  Why have her suddenly jealous of Katie all people and making speeches like a villain in a Bond movie?

The fact that the majority of the book was spent  building a relationship between Katie and Jun and that relationship is essentially torn into shreds within a matter of pages,

So, I’m like why?  Just why?  Did you have all that build up.

And that twist.  Well, while it was good for this installment, I don’t think it’s going to have quite the impact that Sun wanted it to have if you keep in perspective the next book.

Oh yeah, everything’s not resolved, but I think it would’ve been a better story without the twist.

Sigh….

As for the mythology aspect, it’s not that bad.  It could be better, but I at least have an idea of where Sun is going with the mythology here.  Occasionally, it did feel a bit like a anime show-at one point there’s a transformation scene that’s a little bit more than reminiscent of Sailor Moon.

I really have to think about whether I’m going to continue this trilogy or not.  I mean, there’s only one more book but…I just don’t know.  I feel like there’s something about this series that seems half formed.

But is Rain the worst book or worst sequel I’ve ever read.

No.

Overall Rating: C

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