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Samurai Barber Versus Ninja Hairstylist


Loved it! 😍

With a strange yet promising story, Zed Dee crafts a delightful tale about hair, memory and emotion.

Sometimes, there comes a book that has an impact on you. It reminds you of your childhood, of cartoons watched in the dark of night when you were supposed to be sleeping. It’s familiar enough to be of comfort to you but just strange enough to be believably fantastical.

Zed Dee’s Samurai Barber Versus Ninja Hairstylist is one of those books, oddly reminiscent of Samurai Jack even as it differs in significant ways. The story of a samurai barber whose life gets turned upside down when he kills an apprentice ninja hairstylist, it’s an odd tale that only gets stranger with each page you read.

I’m not quite sure what to say about this book. It’s a rabbit hole of small, yet strange details coming together to create an interesting whole. Yet, that whole is left unfinished by the book’s end, a cliffhanger meant to tease the reader into a sequel yet to come. It was at once both mystifying and thrilling, as the book had barely reached its climax, and yet it was promising even more in another installment.

The thing about this is that it worked against the book too. While we got to know the Barber and the master Hairstylist well, there was still something that was left wanting at the end. The characters felt incomplete, like they’d just started on their journey and were yet to even reach halfway. I wanted to know what would happen to both of them, how the impact of each other’s actions would last beyond their final confrontation, and what they would become. More than that, I wanted the author to explore their relationship as thoroughly as he had managed to explore that of Greta, the detective that got sucked into the samurai’s world, and her husband, Sun.

I will say that, despite this shortcoming, the book was balanced well by the narrative style it used. The chronology was straightforward, though the author did play with it a bit by using different points of view to go back in time with three of the five chapters. However, the use of linguistics to play with ideas of gender and perception was what really interested me as it made the book even more intriguing to read, forcing you to decide for yourself how you perceived the samurai and the ninja, by extension.

It’s a great book, with some flaws. I definitely liked it, and I’m looking forward to the sequel that was set up by the book’s ending. Pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by

A lifelong reader, I've decided to share my opinions, my likes and my loves with the world. Fantasy and science fiction have long been passions of mine, but so has bringing minority voices to the forefront.

The Samurai Barber

About the author

Zed Dee has a BA in Sonic Art but found out he wasn't really that good at it. So, he decided to work in the games industry, starting off as a game tester, then becoming a programmer, and writes on the side. Oh, and somewhere along the way he got diagnosed with autism. view profile

Published on November 28, 2020

Published by Matador

50000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by