Rain - Amanda Sun

There are no words to describe how much I love this series. I think this is also one of the few exceptions to the "middle book syndrome" that seems to be rampant in YA fiction. This book is the same emotional and exhilarating whirlwind that book one is. I've seen a lot of the negative reviews for the book, many of them against the "cheesy" nature of Katie and Yuu's relationship, as well as Katie's character in general, but for me, the books have been perfect in every way so far, and "Rain" reminded me of what I loved so much in "Ink" - it's a story that is so original in comparison to the overused ideas of fairies and vampires, set in a very vividly described culture, and with a cast of characters, especially Katie and Yuu, that I couldn't help but love.

Reading "Rain" felt like I was reading a more dramatic story about my life from Katie's perspective. After "Rain" I would probably even call Katie my spirit animal/literary half, because I completely understood her personality, her reactions, and I just felt the connection to her in a way that doesn't happen unless you've experienced the emotions or events the character is talking about. It was the line "Still working on those priorities, Greene" that summed me up in a nutshell while reading, and Katie's clever and slightly sarcastic comments in relation to other characters sounded exactly like things I would say or have already said. It made reading and cheering for her so easy. Her conflicting emotions between Jun and Yuu that would've usually annoyed me if it was a different character instead made me nod in understanding as I read. I'd gone through those exact same feelings and reactions, but it was more the way that Sun wrote Katie's character, the honesty and the sheer confusion and fear that radiated off the page, that made it difficult for me to point fingers and blame Katie. It was a totally different kind of read from me compared to what other people probably experienced with this book.

I'm so glad that Sun also decided to point out the darker side of Katie's decision to stay in Japan. I feel like enough authors don't show that, instead trying to continue the second book in the series on a happier note and show the benefits and positive side more than acknowledging the mistakes and inevitable road blocks that occur. But Sun does this wonderfully, which is why "Rain" is such a turmoil-filled book. The tempo of the writing was just as lively and none of the characters lost the vibrant spark in them. The plot twists were well integrated into the plot and didn't stick out like a sore thumb as is the case with many books. Instead, there is a logical progression and a noticeable increase in tension that's very difficult not to respond to.

The best part has got to be Katie and Yuu's relationship however. I won't spoil much, but I will say that, again, a lot of the things they talked about, their arguments and the problems they encountered, were more or less something that I personally experienced myself some time ago, and that personal level that I felt connecting me to the characters made it a very emotional and involving read.

I can't wait for the stunning conclusion, and really hope that Sun finishes her series on the same high note as the first and second book have shown themselves to be at. I'm equally excited to find out just how Yuu and Katie will resolve their complicated relationship, and seeing what the few missing pieces of the puzzle will turn out to be. Really a highlight of my reading so far this year, and I think it'll be difficult to top. "Rain" reminded me just why i fell in love with the series in the first place, and why it's one of my ultimate favourite YA series.