Review: Rain, by Amanda Sun

Rain, by Amanda Sun18134013

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: ✮✮

Nothing was normal, and I’d known it, deep down. It wasn’t something I could run from. The ink hadn’t forgotten me.

My fate was raining down from the sky.

I am so heartbroken. I have been searching for Rain for almost a year and a half, and I finally find it and it disappoints me.

When I read Ink last year, I was surprised to find out that my opinion was unpopular. It has quite a few flaws, but I really enjoyed it, especially the second half. Its biggest strength is its atmosphere: it’s so strong that I felt like I was really in Japan. In fact, it was potent enough for me to close the book and forget where I was, because I was so lost inside of the story.

Rain doesn’t have that atmosphere at all. I could pass it off as second-book syndrome, because that’s what it feels like. Regardless, Ink felt so fresh and unique, but Rain doesn’t have that trait.

I blame this entirely on one, gigantic factor: the story is too watered down by relationship drama. Tomohiro and Katie are struggling to stay together against Tomohiro’s dangerous Kami abilities, while also finding a way to bridge the cultural gap between them. This is a big part of the story, but unfortunately, there is also the intersecting love triangles. In book one, Tomohiro has a childhood friend named Shiori, who wound up pregnant and has to deal with a lot of bullying at school. When Tomohiro finds himself in the sights of the Yakuza, it’s Shiori that calls Katie to warn her, and tells her to protect him.

In Rain, she is suddenly transformed into a jealous, possessive bitch who is trying to steal Tomohiro away from Katie.

Shiori sighed. “It’s pathetic, you know, trying to steal Tomo from me.”

My mouth opened, but I had to force words out. “Steal him?”

“Tomo-kun and I have been inseparable since we were little. You think you’re going to change that?”

And to this, I have to ask, why? We already have to deal with Katie’s conflicting feelings for Jun, the leader of the Kami cult who tried to recruit Tomohiro in the last book. Why do we need this? It does absolutely nothing beneficial. All it does is fill in the gaps, ones that could’ve been filled with something else.

Secondly, this is supposed to be a book about the Kami, who can move the ink to their will and, in cases like Tomohiro, they are strong enough to make them come off the page and attack. But that’s the thing: it doesn’t feel like that at all. There is a lot of discussion about lineage, but we don’t get to see a lot of what they actually can do. The Kami kept this series original; they were what was preventing this story from becoming a Japanese Twilight. Without it, it seems painfully familiar.

“I don’t want to be happy, Shiori,” Tomo said. He pulled his hand from hers, his eyes burning into me. “I love Katie. And if that means I have to suffer to keep her safe, then that’s what I’ll do. If it means I have to stand aside so someone else can take care of her because I can’t…I will stand aside. That’s what love is.”

Edward? Is that you?

I remember thinking that in Ink, too. Think about it: teenage girl moves to a new place, meets a handsome, mysterious, dangerous boy and starts to pursue him. Turns out he’s hiding a terrible secret. They fall in love anyway, and of course, shit starts to happen because they’re not supposed to be together. Cue angst.

The Kami aspect brought something new to the table, but that aspect seems to be missing for the most part in Rain, making it dull and full of many cliche tropes from the paranormal romance genre.

Ink was so beautiful. It was so in-depth about everyday aspects of modern Japanese life, from language to customs, Shinto religion, mannerisms – hell, even food. And also, drawings coming to life? That’s awesome, I don’t care what anyone else says. Rain, however, is too much of a school-life drama – like something out of a shoujo manga.

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