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A Small Charred Face

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Even monsters need families.

What are the “bamboo”?

They are from China.

They look just like us.

They live by night.

They drink human lifeblood, but otherwise keep their distance.

And every century, they grow white blooming flowers.

A boy name Kyo is saved from the precipice of death by Bamboo, a vampire born of the tall grasses. They start an enjoyable, yet strange shared l
Paperback, 239 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Haikasoru
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Average rating 3.38  · 
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 ·  115 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Vampires + plant monsters = the way to lure me into reading anything.

All three stories are about carnivorous humanoid grass monsters called the Bamboo. The first story shows the Bamboo through the eyes of a human, a boy who was raised as a girl by two Bamboo after his family was brutally killed by mobsters (I liked this one the best because it was super over the fucking top). The second story is narrated by a Bamboo who was once a human, inadvertently turned into a Bamboo when the mob hires the
1.5 stars

I suspect I'm not the intended audience for this book. While Sakuraba displayed some imagination in the creation of her plant-based vampires and their society, the extreme artlessness of the prose and the lack of any kind of realistic affect in the characters just killed this for me. This went beyond YA to genuinely juvenile in a way I just didn't expect and didn't feel the publisher indicated. I would never have picked this up had I thought this was meant for pre-teen readers (and, no,
Becky Spratford
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Review in Booklist and on the blog ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
a good vampire movie! yehey
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-novel
Do we really need another vampire novel? I ask myself even as I picked this book up. I liked the idea of vampires being called Bamboo, and they are bamboo, by the way. Their blood is not like our blood and when they reach the end of the natural (and long) span of their life, they turn into flowers. It's a beautiful idea, and the joke of literal vegetarian vampires (the Bamboo have rules about not drinking human blood and killing humans) didn't escape me.

The Bamboo came from China to Japan and h
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This was interesting. I'm trying to read more books by authors that aren't "straight white american males", so this I totally outside of a thing that I would usually read, although you could call it fantasy-ish, I guess?

Regardless, this was pretty good. It's almost written as a short novella and then several short stories, but they're all interconnected and related, although it took me a bit to figure out which was what. It was an effective technique though, I thought.

Anyways. It's short, and wa
mina reads™️
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sff, about-poc
My rating is based solely on the first story because that’s the only one I read. I really liked the story but the writing style was totally not for me and after a quick glance I didn’t really care enough to continue on to the other two stories.
Sylvia Coronado
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I quickly got bored. The first story was by far the best then it really fizzled out. I’m not sure if it was the translation, but the three stories read very similarly style-wise even with different characters. And the “like” used heavily throughout got old. It was like a teenager was reading the story back to me. Sorry, this one was painful to get through.
Rachel (Life of a Female Bibliophile)
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One of my goals in the past couple of years has been to read more translated fiction. I set my eyes upon this one as the synopsis hooked me. Though vampire stories have been written time and time before, but A Small Charred Face is a bit different.

The story is told through the first perspective by Kyo, our narrator. He witness the death of his family and survives by the help of a bamboo (vampire) called Mustah who decides to
Reading Bifrost
“But Mustah and I have kept the flame that you are a secret for almost seven years now. Because this joy is greater than anything else we’ve known. Rescuing you, helping you grow up, and finally sending you out into the world. Our bodies are cold, and yet our hearts are filled with warmth.”

The book is divided into three separate stories. The first is the main, and longest, story. The second story ties up loose ends with a character from the first story, and the last story goes back centuries bef
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oddly written, but quite a fun and surprisingly emotional read. There's nothing on the cover or back of the book to indicate this is a young adult book, but it certainly reads like one. I found it in the regular horror section of a bookstore, so maybe they don't want to market it as young adult.

It's oddly written in the sense that the dialogue is a little forced: Huh? Hmm. What? Aah! What?! These pepper the text, making the dialogue oddly foreign and "manga" like. But instead of being annoying,
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another 3.5 star book that I'm rounding up. If you pick this up and really like the first two stories, skip the last one: it's out of place. The first two are kind of dreamy and have a strange draw to them. It's not like the story really pushes them along so much as I felt drawn along by some odd charm. The first story was very moving. There was a lot that I liked about the second, such as Mariko's innocent naivete mixed with her monstrous nature. The third story, the origin of the Bamboo in Jap ...more
Rob McMonigal
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
It's always cool to see a different kind of vampire story, and this fits the bill. It's probably even better in its native language, but there are definitely some situations where the translation here loses some of the flow of the writing.

In a set of interlocking stories, Sakuraba introduces us to the Bamboo, a group of vampires whose lives are akin to grass, but still have the desire to feast on humans. Bamboo aren't supposed to interact with humans, but our two main Bamboo can't allow a young
David Whatson
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was a quick and fun read. It is comprised of three sections that interlink with each other. For me this made the book feel like it was a collection of three short novellas with some shared history that eventually loops back on itself. This is not a complaint as I thought this worked in the author's favour. While all the main characters have physical descriptions, it's the actions and interactions of the characters that reveal their nature to the reader. The Bamboo (vampires) are not th ...more
Melanie Gannon
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Three interconnected stories bring us into the lives of the Bamboo, a species of vampires from China who live secretly in Japan among humans. The first, longest of the stories introduces us to Kyo, who is saved from death by a Bamboo and ends up being raised by a pair of them. As he grows up, we share in Kyo's sadness and hope in sharing his life with a pair of gentle immortals, and how his life changes as he is forced to leave behind what he loves most.

The second and third stories follow minor
What a strange, wonderful book.

I'm reading an English translation of the Japanese, and some of the writing is clunky and odd, especially the pet names and some of the dialogue. But the emotions definitely come through, as does the uniqueness of the vampires that the author writes about.

Right away the reader recognizes the peculiarity of the vampires - they are plant based, they smell green, they live about 120 years before they die by blooming into white flowers. They are the Bamboo, and they f
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Closer to a 2.5 rating. I picked this book up on a complete whim. I expected it to be scary since it was labeled in the Horror section. This is not a scary story although it deals with vampires. The book itself is like 3 short stories all interconnected. The first one is the best and it probably should have been the only story. The second story is okay and the third was boring. I think I may have enjoyed this more had I not thought it would be creepy. The translation is weird in parts too. Overa ...more
Lydia Peever
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A strong entry into the quiet vampire genre. While the regency vampire has overstayed, the quiet country vampire or hyper-violent are my favourite so this worked for me. Some really fascinating additions to their habits and physiology as monsters too! I’ll certainly review this on Typical Books. At times the language seemed far too teenage and casual, but perhaps they are just teenage and casual creatures!
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: woc-authors, adult
This book is three interconnected vampire stories. Two of the stories are okay. Worth reading, but not spectacular. The first one though? Just perfect. Two daddy vampires rescue and raise a human kid. They are such a loving family that I want to wrap them up in a blanket and protect them forever. Precious. 😭
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I would give this book a three and a half out of five if possible, the first and third stories were enjoyable but the second seemed unnecessary and at times the translation could be jarring but worth the read nonetheless.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
The book was actually three interconnected stories and I enjoyed the different perspectives they brought and the way they filled out the life cycle and history of the vampires. Comes with trigger warnings for sexual assault and animal death.
Dan Ust
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The first story is the strongest in this collection of three.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of three short stories about the 'Bamboo' - a race of vampires born in the mountains of China. Some really lovely characters, very sweet and well-deserving of another story. ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bring tissues.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Short and weird. Can’t tell if the writing was stilted, or the translation.
Julie Sandel
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting Japanese take on Vampires (Bamboos)
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
3.5 stars. A heartbreaking YA vampire novel unlike anything I have seen or read before. Very touching and exceptionally well written in spite of the dreadful cover art.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This first two parts of this book were interesting. But the third part was hard to read and kind of a let down.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Did not finish. Neither story nor characters were interesting enough to keep me reading.
This was a bit unexpected. I was expecting more horror than anything, but this is gay vampire dads. A very pleasant surprise, that one. It’s actually split into three stories, the gay vampire dads is about half the book, then there is a skip into the future to catch up with a character from that first story, and then a jump back in time to when the Bamboo were still in China. I found the writing very sparse in all three, which I thought worked OK, but it did create a little bit of distance betwe ...more
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Kazuki Sakuraba (桜庭一樹) is a Japanese writer.

Chinese profile >> 櫻庭一樹

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