First Lines: I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers. No lie.
This was on my to-read list for a while, and I wanted to read it for its originality. Set in Japan, I was so ready to learn more about the culture. Because frankly, I know as much about Japanese culture as I do about flying a rocket ship. I figured this would be a nice introduction to the culture in an interesting story.
A family tragedy forces Katie Greene to move halfway around the world to live with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan. Alone and lost, Katie doesn’t understand the language, can’t use chopsticks, and can’t get a handle on taking her shoes off before entering buildings. One day, Katie gains the attention of Tomohiro, the mysterious and aloof star of the school’s kendo team. She’s fascinated by him…but too much digging gets Katie in trouble. She notices his drawings moving, and there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to Japanese gods and something about Katie sends his powers spiraling out of control. If anyone notices, they could become targets…
I will say that this was a nice introduction to Japanese culture and mythology. And the language! There’s actually a lot of the language in this book, so much of it that the glossary in the back is nearly 10 pages long. (I wish I’d known this was there when I was actually reading the book! It would’ve saved me some confusion.)
And the idea behind the plot was quite creative. Drawings coming to life, Japanese gods. I mean, this is basically the same thing I read about with Greek mythology.
But the story just didn’t quite work. The characters killed the story for me. Tomo is your typical mysterious/aloof/dangerous/secretive hero whose mood-swings are wild enough to make a PMS-ing Bridezilla jealous. He’s more hot and cold than the guy in Katy Perry’s song. It was actually really ridiculous.
And Katie wasn’t any better. She was obsessive about Tomo. Stalker obsessive. Just days after meeting him, she is literally following him through the streets of Shizuoka. Now, I don’t know much about Japanese culture, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t ok over there either. It just kind of creeped me out.
I also felt that the plot line sometimes lost its thread, like the plot just disappeared to talk about something else for a chapter or so. Which was strange and annoying. Also, Katie should not have been the first one to realize there was something odd about Tomo. I mean really.
Maybe some of this can be attributed to this being the author’s debut novel, but it just didn’t work for me. I had such high hopes for it and it never came together right.