Obsidian Wraith

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
315 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Nathan Wilson spent much of his childhood writing fantasy after reading a short story by his sister. Almost fifteen years later, he published his first novel, The Undying God.
Nathan's writing branched out in mystery and horror when he hammered out Red Widow in 2013. Hailed by readers as fast-paced, engaging, edgy, and terrifying, it introduced forensic sleuth Vivian Xu and investigative journalist Camilla Vesely to the world. The Vivian Xu series twists and turns through an underworld of crime in its sequels Arsenic for the Soul, All Her Wounds, and Death Perfected.
Nathan returned to his fantasy roots with Obsidian Wraith in 2021. His wife, an avid fantasy writer, collaborated with the story and characters. Set in ancient Japan during the Genpei War, Obsidian Wraith is a heartfelt exploration of grief, mortality, and hope.
When Nathan isn't writing, he enjoys learning about Asian culture, listens to German heavy metal, and plays with his cat, Rory Kilronan Wilson. He is also known to disappear to Taiwan whenever the opportunity presents itself.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

After losing his wife and unborn child in a siege, Shindara attempts to guide his wife’s spirit to the next realm by meddling with a force he doesn't understand: the Yomi, the world of darkness. Consequently, he begins to fade away while his soul is consumed by the darkness. However, before he fades away completely, Shindara vows not to rest until he slays the man who had his wife killed. As he embarks on his mission, he meets a group of bandits and makes friends with a hilarious but ferocious man and a highly driven and lethal woman. Will Shindara complete his mission before he completely loses himself to the darkness of the Yomi? Set in 1180, Obsidian Wraith by Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin is a wonderful mix of Japanese history and dark fantasy.

Obsidian Wraith would be amazing as a movie! I can imagine the costumes of the samurais and monks, the action-packed scenes with the swords flying in all directions, and the enhanced dark ability of the protagonist. The book is fully engaging, fast-paced, and jam-packed with different things that make it a rich and comprehensive experience: laugh-out-loud humor, an interesting display of friction and camaraderie between the characters, profound comments that make you think deeply, poetic lines, impressive metaphors, and well-developed characters. Additionally, Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin include some frightening elements in their story, like spiders with horns and aquatic demons. In short, I enjoyed every bit of Obsidian Wraith. Readers who enjoy dark fantasy, Japanese-themed storylines, and books about sacrifice and fighting against corruption would love it.

Vincent Dublado

Obsidian Wraith by Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin is an epic fantasy that takes place during the Heian Period—the last division of classical Japanese history. The ruling Taira is using their prestige to wreak havoc in the capital, plundering lands, imprisoning opposition, and putting the entire empire into disarray. Samurai warriors clash as Lord Taira no Kiyomori has forced the Emperor’s abdication and puts an infant child on the throne. As Japan continues to succumb to the greed, a temple scribe named Shindara is torn between fighting and faith. As he is displaced by the war, he encounters a group of bandits that will become his allies. Together, their crusade will teach Shindara more about the harsh realities of the world than what he has learned in the confines of the sacred temples.

Obsidian Wraith contains strong echoes of Samurai loyalty and draws upon historical battles that took place during the period. These elements lend huge credibility to the settings. Similarly, it draws elements from Japanese folklore, particularly the concept of yokai or spirits. Hrioshango, the devious yokai in the story, plays an integral part in the plot and you will likely read more about him in the next installment, as Shindara believes that this yokai is worth keeping alive. You can see that Wilson and Nin have done their homework and their research benefits their story. If you have an interest in Japanese literature, folklore, and history, you will find much to enjoy in this epic fantasy tale. It is a breathtaking insight into a world of yore. It takes you to different settings and introduces you to a diverse set of characters.

K.C. Finn

Obsidian Wraith is a work of fiction in the fantasy, cultural fiction, action, and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author team Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin. Set in a fantasy version of medieval Japan, the work is intended for mature reading audiences owing to triggering themes such as rape and sexual violence, as well as some use of explicit language and moderate depictions of war. Our protagonist is Shindara, who finds himself ripped away from his home and into a troop of bandits who teach him the real woes of life and the realities of a nation at war. But darkness calls to Shindara, drawing him nearer to a cursed future that he may not be able to avoid.

Author duo Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin have crafted a superb series opener that holds great promise and sets up a fantastic world of feudal storytelling in Asian culture. One of the things which I especially enjoyed about the work was the cultural aspect, which takes legends, beliefs, and values from Japan and helps us to learn and relate to a fantastically in-depth culture. Shindara was an appealing and naïve hero, and the range of interesting and bold characters whom he meets were all beautifully drawn with authentic voices and plenty to offer the story. I also found the descriptive work, particularly the fighting scenes, to be very dynamic and cinematically described. Overall, I would certainly recommend Obsidian Wraith for fans of medieval fantasy fiction who are looking to broaden their horizons and raise their expectations of the genre.

Rabia Tanveer

Obsidian Wraith by Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin is the first book in the Obsidian Wraith series. Set in medieval Japan under war, our story follows a simple man called Shindara. As a temple scribe, Shindara was kept far away from the war, but that was about to change when samurais came to attack his city. Losing his wife proved to be the last straw, but little did he know it would also be the end of his life of peace. Caught by the samurai and left to die, Shindara did the unthinkable and performed a ritual with the help of the Hell Scrolls. The Yomi called to his soul, and he had no idea if what he did was the right thing. He had nowhere to go and no place to hide. That didn't mean he wouldn’t run. Along the way, he met Mikoyo and Hachi, two very different people yet they would prove to his salvation if he let them. Would he, though?

Reading Obsidian Wraith was an immersive and entertaining experience, and Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin had me hooked from the very first page. Shindara had all the makings of a great character just waiting for a tragedy to invoke his greatness. The authors made sure there was enough action in the beginning to lure readers in and then added the right amount of development to the plot that truly made Shindara shine. The addition of Hachi and Mikoyo provided a direction for Shindara and gave him something to fight for. The concept of the Yomi was handled exceptionally well. The background building was great, the narrative developed incredibly, and the characters were front and center of the plot. This book was a brilliant new find and I cannot wait for more!

Grace Masso

Obsidian Wraith by Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin is is a fascinating epic fantasy with a setting in medieval Japan. The narrative follows the journey of a temple scribe called Shindara during the time that war rages for the Imperial Throne. The Genpei war has strong implications and witnesses powerful forces pitted against each other. Shindara, a man who is tragic in nature and who tends to reflect more on death than life, finds himself in the company of bandits who will shape his life in ways he never expected. While there is a lot to learn from his friends living on the fringes of society, there is a deeper fate that Shindara must face: the curse growing in him that draws him irresistibly towards the dark realm of Yomi.

The story features a mysterious period in Japanese history, a time where priests and samurais commanded great respect. The conflict is huge, involving powerful factions in quest of control, and I loved the way the author explores it. The characters are richly developed, and apart from humans, there are monsters and spirits called the yokai, creatures like the Ushi-oni, and many more. It is interesting to notice how well Japanese folklore is written into the story. The narrative is filled with humor and the eclectic cast of characters, including the outlaw, Mikoto, Hachi, who is wanted in several places for his crimes, Sadato the warlord, and many others, reflects the different worlds that clash in this narrative. Obsidian Wraith is well-paced, featuring a setting that transports readers to ancient times in Japan and that teases their imaginations in many ways. Filled with action and strong imagery, the story is fast-paced and entertaining. It is a celebration of fantasy that melds medieval Japanese history and folklore with an almost forgotten history of war, power, and samurai culture.