Reviews

Review – The Oubliette by J.C. Stearns (Black Library)

J.C. Stearns - The Oubliette cropped for featured image
The Oubliette by J.C. Stearns

Book Title: The Oubliette

Book Description: “A chilling Warhammer Horror novel set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Do you dare cross the threshold of The Oubliette? With the death of Ruprekt Matkosen, his daughter Ashielle is now the Lord Governor of Ceocan. Her father’s murderers still lurk in the shadows, threatening not only her rule but every mortal soul under her protection. Even her own people cannot be trusted: any one of them may be part of the poisonous plot to destroy her family. Deep beneath the palace, locked away from all human contact, Ashielle finds a weapon unlike any other: a monster, more adept at hunting in the darkness than any assassin. Allying with such a horror is surely blasphemy. But with doom lurking around every corner, Ashielle is forced to revive an ancient pact with the beast. But she soon discovers that her family’s mortal enemies are not the only evil that hungers to consume her.”

Book Author: J.C. Stearns

Book Format: Hardcover

Publisher - Orgnization: Black Library

Publisher Logo:

Date published: February 4, 2020

Number Of Pages: 252

  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Development - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 9/10
    9/10

Summary

The Oubliette is a dark tale set in the world of Warhammer Horror. Ashielle’s life has been turned upside down, first by the death of her father and brother, and then by the appearance of a monster.

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9/10
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The Real Monsters in The Oubliette

The horrors of Warhammer 40,000 continue in The Oubliette, a novel written by J.C. Stearns. This is one of many horror novels available within the larger universe, once again proving Warhammer is so perfectly suited for these rich and dark themes. 

J.C. Stearns - The OublietteAshielle was third in line for becoming the Lord Governor of Ceocan until one day, she suddenly found herself in charge. Following a few horrible disasters within her family, that is. Not exactly an ideal way to come into command.

To make matters worse, the people who murdered her father are now trying to kill her. Perhaps that is why a monster under her house woke up. A dark hunter, a monster who feeds on blood and misery. A monster that should have been allowed to sleep forever.

Writing

The Oubliette was a twisted and mesmerizing read from start to finish. I blended politics and horror in a strangely fascinating way. Yet even the politics couldn’t diminish (or stop) the horror that tore its way through these pages.

The setting is one that will feel familiar to fans of 40k, with a small planet tasked to meet quotas, and the unwillingness to interfere until there’s a problem (frequently too late to truly fix anything). This is the part where Ashielle’s vicious grasp of politics came into play. Not to mention a clear example of how this hands-off approach can lead to disaster.

The darker elements quickly overpowered the scheming that was on the surface. It revealed something darker and…twisted. Yet even that felt almost at home in this story, as J.C. Sterns wove it all together into one complete narrative.

The writing was rich and detailed. The level of details was a bit of a two-sided blade. It allowed for lush descriptions and character backgrounds. All of which enhanced the setting to no end. It allso allowed for horrifying levels of detail and gore. Which, ironically, also helped to set the scene.

Development

At first, it felt like The Oubliette was a slow-building novel. The family drama helped to offset the politics and intrigue. However, once the murders changed focus from Ashielle’s family to her, the pace picked up fairly significantly.

From there it was a whirlwind – one that seemed to seep deeper with each and every chapter. The corruption of the world, and of the characters, grew exponentially. I mean that in both the literal and metaphorical senses.

What I really adore about The Oubliette was how it managed to worm its way into my mind. A chilling comparison, come to think of it. Even when I wasn’t actively reading it, I found myself thinking about it, and wondering where it was going to lead next.

That should say something about how captivating this story grew, even over time. I honestly wish more horror novels were written with this style in mind.

Conclusion

The Oubliette was a thrilling and terrifying read – one that wasn’t afraid to get too graphic at times. The infusion of politics and family drama made the tale all the more compelling. As well as the natural inclusion of horror elements from 40k.

All things considered, this is a read worth checking out. Especially for fans that enjoy this universe and the darker side of events that it can portray. It’ll make for an ideal read, particularly around Halloween.

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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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