The Abhorrent

Obsidian Blade, Book 2

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
409 Pages
Reviewed on 01/28/2022
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. Set in ancient Japan during the Genpei War, it 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 cats, Rory Kilronan Wilson and Tristan Armaugh Eder. He is also known to disappear to Taiwan whenever the opportunity presents itself.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Abhorrent is the second book in the Obsidian Blade series by authors Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin. The story of Shindara and his companions continues as they travel to Yomi to get some much-needed answers. Shindara’s curse was slowly but surely ruining his life, and it looked like there was no saving him. However, Shindara is not a quitter (which brought him into the mess in the first place). Being cursed by Yomi has disturbed his appearance and made it very obvious that Shindara did something terrible. Now he needed answers, and the only place he could find them was with Yomi. Joined by Hrioshango, Shindara has very limited time to find those answers and sidestep anyone and or anything that can deter him from his task. Along the way, Shindara realizes that he can protect Japan from the ravages of war and an Empire that has no god to offer to its people. But if Shindara is not careful, he may well destroy Japan with what he is slowly becoming. Can Shindara do it all?

I am in love with this epic fantasy series. I remember reading the first novel in the series, Obsidian Blade, and falling in love with the world-building. Authors Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin have outdone themselves with this novel in the series. They struck the perfect balance between creating a universe where a creature like Shindara can exist while also remaining loyal and respectful to Japanese mythology. I can only imagine the research the duo must have gone through to gather all the knowledge about Yomi, study the ancient gods and goddesses of Japan, and incorporate them into the story in a way that everything fits perfectly well. Hrioshango’s character is nothing short of an enigma. However, he and Shindara work together well, and the duo gets more answers. The journey to Yomi, the descriptions of Yomi, and the images created by the authors was enough to transport me right next to Hrioshango and Shindara. For the first time, I am surprised to say that the sequel is so much better and more entertaining than the first novel! It exceeded my expectations!

K.C. Finn

The Abhorrent is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy, action, and adventure subgenres which was penned by author duo Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin. Best suited to the mature adult reading audience, the work does contain scenes of graphic violence pertaining to war, the use of some explicit language, scenes of a sexual nature, and non-graphic references to rape. In the second book of the Obsidian Blade series, we continue the journey with Shindara and his traveling companions. A journey to a frozen underworld brings more questions than it does answers, and the fate of Japan may now hang in the balance for reasons that even Shindara may not be able to overcome.

Author team Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin offer a superb fantasy novel that turns a lot of westernized tropes on their heads to present something original and authentic to samurai warfare and Japanese culture. One feature that I especially loved about this work was its imagery and descriptive techniques, which transported me to some really spine-chilling locations that kept tensions high throughout the plot. This also hugely contributed to the worldbuilding of fantasy and mythological/historical aspects influencing the work, creating a truly immersive experience that had its own inner logic and never felt confusing or contradictory. Add to this the powerful psychological and emotional journey of the central protagonist, which results in a fantastic second novel that lifts the series up to an even higher level. Overall, I would highly recommend The Abhorrent to epic fantasy readers everywhere.

Stephanie Chapman

Nathan Wilson’s The Abhorrent is the second book in the Obsidian Blade Series. This dark fantasy details Shindara's search to rid himself of a curse and to heal from the loss of his wife Aya. Trusting in a yokai, Hrioshanga, to guide him to the Yomi realm, Shindara is plagued by a nightmare he believes that his enchanted Obsidian Blade is influencing. Mikoto is the leader of the rebel group that is fighting on behalf of Lord Yoritomo to end the Imperial Reign of the Taira. When Shindara returns, he is greeted by Mikoto and Kenji. What had seemed like a day in the Yomi realm was three years. Shindara, Mikoto, and Kenji receive instructions from Lord Yoritomo to assist his cousin, Yoshinaka, against the Taira. At the castle of Hiuchi, Lord Yoshinaka and Mikoto begin to realize that something is vastly different about Shindara. What happened in the Yomi? Is Yoshinaka as power-hungry as Yoritomo?

The Abhorrent was a book full of chaos, darkness, fantasy, and folklore. Nathan Wilson painted a world in vivid detail that left nothing to my imagination. My favorite characters were Hachi and Kenji. Kenji admired who Shindara was and felt that he was the only father he ever knew. I could easily understand why he idolized Shindara. Hachi was a bandit that honestly provided comic relief even when they were battling against impossible odds. When the rebels were not in battle, he was the leader who told tales that raised the morale of the group. This story’s narration came from Shindara's and Mikoto’s views. Shindara was battling against a curse and, as the story progressed, it was evident that his mind became altered after the trip to the Yomi realm. In a way, Shindara seemed to trade one curse for another to pursue vengeance. The story is full of action, dark magic, demons, and violence. There isn’t a moment that didn’t hold my complete attention. I was thankful for the author’s note before the story began as this made it easier to understand the different terms for locations, characters, and clans. The ending left an opening to lead into a sequel for the series. I would recommend any fantasy reader that has an interest in Japanese folklore with intense action to give this book a try.

Keith Mbuya

What good would it have done Shindara anyway? As much as it was a choice, what kind of a man could comfortably live with the acceptance of his wife’s sudden and unanticipated demise? What kind of a man could live with the thought that he was never going to see his unborn child? Certainly not Shindara. Shindara felt guilty about the whole situation. He had failed to reach his wife in time during an attack by samurai from the Taira clan. They say desperate times demand desperate measures, or so Shindara thought. In a bid to bring back to life both his wife and child, Shindara sought the help of dark magic. Shindara ends up under a curse from an occult realm of the Yomi. To lift the curse, Shindara has to venture into the land of the dead (the world of the Yomi). With Hrioshango (a demon spirit) by his side, will Shindara succeed in his quest? What will he find in the world of the Yomi? If his quest is successful, will he still be the same? Following Shindara’s quest into the mysterious land of the Yomi, what will happen to war-ridden Japan? Find out more in The Abhorrent by Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin.

Featuring intriguing supernatural characters, belligerent and blood-thirsty human characters, and a lot more, The Abhorrent is just what a mythology or fiction adventure enthusiast needs. Given a setting of twelfth-century Japan, Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin put a remarkable effort into detailing their scenes. The unique and insightful details about both the setting and generally the traditions of the Japanese are convincing in the story. They display Nathan Wilson’s and S. E. Nin’s vast knowledge of Japanese culture as well as their spell-binding imaginative abilities. The characters are well developed. The witty, humorous, and sarcastic conversations served to spice up the reading experience. Exploring the amazing supernatural world, the supernatural realms and the ancient Japanese empire did feed my appetite for adventure. It got even better with the action, tension, and suspense in the book. The plot of The Abhorrent is engrossing, amazingly developed, and perceivable. Although it is the second installment in the Obsidian Blade series, The Abhorrent is a stand-alone book.

Vincent Dublado

The Abhorrent: Obsidian Blade, Book 2 by Nathan Wilson and S. E. Nin continues the saga of Shindara, wielder of the Obsidian Blade. This time, Shindara embarks on a journey into the Yomi, the land of the dead that is neither heaven nor hell, but more of a continuation of the earth. After enacting a ritual to resurrect Aya and his child, the occult realm of the Yomi answered and cursed him in the worst way possible for his meddling. In this journey, he hopes to find answers to his curse, as the darkness of the Yomi is killing him from within. Accompanied by the chaos demon Hrioshango, who promised to save Shindara’s soul from a curse no matter where their travels will take them, Shindara’s voyage will put him in harm’s way. It will also lead him into a secluded village with ties to the dead goddess, Izanami. Hrioshango and Shindara’s friendship will be tested, as the chaos demon has other reasons why he has chosen to accompany the man who wields the blade that once gave him a taste of death.

Reading Nathan Wilson and S.E. Nin’s Abhorrent gives me that striking balance between spirit and imagination. I cannot help but get caught up by the boundless creativity of this tale. Wilson and Nin offer complexity that is not difficult to grasp. Their settings are rich in detail and give you a sense of space in the way Shindara interacts with the different characters in the story. If you do not wish to pay attention to the details, it will still give you the conscious feeling that it is there, and it reinforces the storyline inspired by Japanese folklore. This is surely one of the finest novels that have their foundation in the bedrock of Japanese mythology. The Abhorrent is high fantasy, but it is more absorbing than most of the overhyped fiction in the same genre that you read today.