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Review: Rain (Paper Gods #2) by Amanda Sun

by Amanda Sun

Second book in the Paper Gods series

Katie has decided to stay in Japan so that she and Tomo can be together. Her presence stirs up Tomo's powers, making it harder for him to control the ink. He resolves to stop drawing so that he can protect her, but the ink finds other ways to manifest and it becomes clear that they need help. Desperate, Katie turns to Jun, another kami who claims he just wants to help them control Tomo's abilities. Katie keeps their meetings secret from Tomo as she and Jun figure out why the ink reacts so strongly to her and a new possible origin for Tomo's powers. As Tomo grows more dangerous, Katie's growing attraction Jun makes her wonder if she's chosen the wrong kami to love. As romantic rivals try to win the hearts of Katie, Tomo, and Jun, the conflicts between the yakuza and the kami threaten to break out again.

There's not much to add to my review of the first book, Ink. Katie's decision to stay in Japan is frankly selfish, since she puts herself and others in danger by spending time with Tomo and inciting his ink-powers to erupt. She self-justifies that she's going to help him and that together, they'll control the ink – but she has absolutely nothing to base this on and ignores all the evidence that she's making Tomo's problems worse. For this reason, I didn't care for her, but throw in her gift for stirring up drama and overfondness for secrets and I found her completely unlikable. She's a terrible heroine and I can't root for her.

The story also suffers from that middle-book disorder in which the second book in a trilogy doesn't really advance the plot but instead manufactures small problems and dumps information rapidly to prepare the reader for the final volume. Katie's life revolves around spending time with Tomo (often with one or both of them winding up injured in the process), running off to meet secretly with Jun, and study sessions so she doesn't flunk out of school. This is repeated over and over, with the only difference seeming to be whether she gets told off by the rival for Tomo's heart or Jun's on a particular day.

When Katie's new theory about the kami's history is revealed, it's a well-considered and thoughtful twist that made me feel a flicker of pride for her. She quickly wasted it with another foolish decision made with her heart instead of her head, but at least she's learning.

Still, I wish that more time could have been given to developing the other characters in the story. Yuki and Tanaka, Katie's friends from the first book, barely make an appearance, which is a pity because their humor and warmth is often needed. Shiori and Ikeda aren't given any personality or purpose beyond romantic rival, unfortunate when both girls have the potential to be more interesting. I hope they'll get more page time in the next book, Storm.

2.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about Rain, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2014: Event: Hobbit Day 2014
2013: The Lost Sun (United States of Asgard #1) by Tessa Gratton
2012: The Disney Mountains: Imagineering at Its Peak by Jason Surrell
2011: Rivals in the Tudor Court by D. L. Bogdan
2010: The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson #2) by Rick Riordan
2009: Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
2008: BBAW: Kiva.org Gift Certificate Giveaway Winner

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