Katie Greene’s worst nightmare comes true when her mother dies, and she’s devastated to learn that she will have to leave the only home she’s ever known. Desperate to find where she belongs, she must decide if she has what it takes to start a new life across the ocean.
For Yuu Tomohiro, every day is a nightmare. He struggles to control his strange ability, and keeps everyone at a distance so they won’t get hurt—even his girlfriend, Myu. At night, a shadow haunts his dreams, and a mysterious woman torments him with omens of death and destruction. But these haunting premonitions are only the beginning.
I am few chapters reading Amanda Sun Ink when I saw this prequel novella available for free from amazon. Since it is novella reading week from Fiktshun I decided to give Shadow a try before continuing with Ink.
Shadow is a back-story for Ink which give a glimpse of Katie and Tomohiro lives before they met. Told between Katie and Tomohiro’s point view, they each narrate their complicated past. Katie whose mother just died have a lot of coping up to do. She have to move from New York to Japan where her auntie lives. It is a lot of adjustment on her part as she barely know a thing about Japan, she got a hard-time understanding the Japanese language much more in fitting in. Tomohiro on the other side is trying to handle his dark side. With his disturbing dreams and ink related incident he is trying to contain the damage of his dark side by removing everyone he loves in his life.
One thing that really piqued my interest in reading Amanda Sun‘s Paper Gods series is the gorgeous cover of Shadow and Ink. Those art covers are irresistible. The moment I saw those cover I know right away that I’ll be reading those books once it come out.
Another thing that curious me about this series is the Japanese settings. Though I read a bunch of fictions written by Japanese authors like Haruki Murakami and Miyuki Miyabe, I haven’t read much stories set in Japan written by American author and not a single one under Young Adult fantasy genre. So I’m interest how Amanda Sun will weaved her story set in asian location that I’m fairly familiar.
Shadow being a prequel novella is just a short read that let us peak to the Paper Gods series characters. From here we see Tomohiro’s soft side who will close the distance just to help a friend. With his mysterious dark side we are left but get curious about the ink incident and what his actual role in it. We also get the chance to see Katie’s life before she were cast away to Japan. Her struggles to transfer to Japan with her aunt and her griefs after her mom’s death were also discussed. Shadow also mentioned a little connection between Katie and Tomohiro which I haven’t read yet in Ink if it ever mentioned in there.
Beside from the main characters background, Shadow also provide a little details about Japan culture. There are few Japanese words thrown once in a while which are all easy to understand. The setting is fairly visible too though not that elaborate or detailed but understandable since this is just a novella after all. In my case I didn’t get a hard time picturing the locations and even the characters since I’m fairly familiar with Japanese settings and people. Being able to watch a lots of Japanese movies and TV series, read books about Japan, and having few Japanese friends I am quiet familiar to those things. I can easily picture the story and the settings like the Japanese schools, the student uniforms and all that.
Overall, Shadow is a short but fairly entertaining read. With its unique story line, Shadow leaves me curious about the mystery surrounding Tomohiro’s dreams and the ink related incidents in his life.