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Black Stone Heart

(The Obsidian Path #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  637 ratings  ·  133 reviews
A broken man, Khraen awakens alone and lost. His stone heart has been shattered, littered across the world. With each piece, he regains some small shard of the man he once was.

He follows the trail, fragment by fragment, remembering his terrible past.

There was a woman.

There was a sword.

There was an end to sorrow.

Khraen walks the obsidian path.
Paperback, 380 pages
Published 2020 by Michael R. Fletcher
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This is adult fantasy. There's some sex and plenty of violence. There's swearing. There's necromancy and demonology. This is dark fanta…more
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This is adult fantasy. There's some sex and plenty of violence. There's swearing. There's necromancy and demonology. This is dark fantasy. (less)
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YES! Book 2, She Dreams in Blood, is out now!…more
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grimdark fantasy readers
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

4.5/5 stars

Insanely brilliant. Fletcher did it again. Black Stone Heart is one of his best works so far, and Fletcher has finally crafted something as good as his Manifest Delusion series with this one.

I’m starting to feel that Fletcher is becoming the Sanderson of grimdark fantasy. No, none of their works are remotely similar to one another, what do I mean by this statement then? Fletcher keeps pouring out new series without completing
Michael Fletcher
Jan 06, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Holy crap! Black Stone Heart came second in this year's SPFBO!

To quote Keanu Reeves, "Whoah."

Black Stone Heart just won the BOOKNEST best self-published novel of 2020 award!

Petros Triantafyllou
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read this one (or at least an early draft of it) back in early 2017. I've read over 100 books since then. None was better. ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
* This is one of the finalists for the #SPFBO and I read it as a judge*

This story is dark and tells the tale of a man (well, kind of a man) called Khaern who wakes from within the ground with little memory of his life and legacy. He's sure that he needs to find out more, and begins to slowly do so, but his tale is filled with sadness, death and loss, and he's soon to find out far more than he bargained on.

I want to mention this is definitely a grimdark tale with things like rape, flaying, blood
Review now live at Grimdark Magazine

Black Stone Heart is the latest grimdark novel by Michael R. Fletcher. This is a brand-new series, The Obsidian Path, which is set in a bizarre new world unlike those of Fletcher’s other work. There were a couple of stories in A Collection of Obsessions, his short story collection, but this is the first full length novel.

As with all of Fletcher’s work, Black Stone Heart does not shy away from a steady diet of comfort food for the grimdark appetite. His recipe
Rob Hayes
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was born in the 80s. I spent much of my childhood in the 80s. Thus, I have a deep love for the cinema of the 80s. I have fond memories of a certain film called Highlander. I'll never forget Sean Connery's complete lack of attempt to put on a Spanish accent, and neither will I forget Christopher Lambert's equal lack of attempt to put on a Scottish accent. And, of course, I can never forget the iconic "There can be only one!" moment from the end of the film. So why do I mention this? Well, have ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was originally introduced to Khraen in Fletcher's short story collection, released last year (among his twelve thousand other releases as of late). Khraen had several stories scattered throughout the book, each picking up at a different point in Khraen's second life. Fletcher prefaced these stories with an explanation that it is all based on a role-playing game that he and his friends played back in the day. (Likely the 1990's, when everyone was whack-o for THAC0.) So when I picked up Black St ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Black Stone Heart is Fletcher's best novel to date, and that is really saying something coming from someone who can't stop talking about Beyond Redemption.

An unforgettable story; one that cuts with the sharpest of blades and heals with the finest of salves. You will not be unmoved.

Khraen may be one of the best protagonists to hit the fantasy scene since Logen Ninefingers.

I had the opportunity to read Black Stone Heart (The Obsidian Path #1) a couple of years ago before it even had a title. The
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A new series by Michael R Fletcher!! This one follows Khraen. We experience the world through his eyes, just one POV. Khraen wakes up under the earth and crawls out, remembering nothing. Some instincts are left, things at the tip of his tongue that he can't seem to reach. And a strange urge, a tug towards something farther away. He finds out he needs to collect these black shards, pieces of his heart that contain memory of who he was. And so he starts his journey, following that strange tug. The ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When Khraen wakes up, he has almost no memories of his past. It included violence, murder, and hacking his own chest open but other than that? Hard to say.

He doesn’t act like a human being; rather as a savage creature focused on survival, living off bugs and roots. Only after finding an obsidian shard that pierces his skin and finds its way to his heart, he regains parts of his identity.

His integration into the local society gets tricky, especially that he has no marketable skills beyond killin
Julia Sarene
In “Black Stone Heart” Michael Fletcher has delivered a really dark story that gets deeper the longer you’re in its grasp. Khraen, the main character, starts off knowing basically nothing about himself or the wider world. He is looking for obsidian shards that seem to be holding the secrets of his past. On that quest he slowly starts to explore and learn not just about what happened before, but also about the world. And while we get to follow his plot, and his world, his distinctive voice get st ...more
I just finished editing this book and to say it kicked my ass (in the best way) is an understatement. This book is AMAZING and INTENSE and DARK and WEIRD and all those delightful things that Fletcher is known for. However, after reading a whole bunch of his books, and editing a few others, I've come to the conclusion that this is his best book yet.

I can't stop thinking about it, to be quiet honest with you, and I'm frankly a bit pissed off at him that book two isn't ready to be read yet. Selfis
kartik narayanan
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
tl;dr: 'Black Stone Heart' is a brutal, fast-paced, and engrossing story that you should not miss.

Khraen, our protagonist, wakes up in a grave with no memories of his life. He discovers that there are people who look exactly like him, and who carry an obsidian piece in their heart. Every time he consumes this piece, after killing them, he regains some memories of who he was. The more time he spends in the world, the more he realizes how the population despises him for his dark skin. What Khraen
Carrie Chi Lough
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Black Stone Heart deserves more than the five stars that the rating scale is limited by. Everything that I love about Fletcher's stories-twisted characters, the intricate world-building, and his imagination - is amplified tenfold in his new series. If you enjoy grimdark, this book should be in your library.

The measure of one's wickedness lies somewhere between their victim's perspective and their own justification. Black Stone Heart is the story of self-discovery within violence and profound imm
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Black Stone Heart is a captivating grimdark fantasy novel, driven by a morally compromised protagonist in an ambitious setting that feels at once comfortable and arrestingly original.

Black Stone Heart tells the story of Khraen, a young man with the fragmented memories of a world and empire both long-gone. When we first meet Khraen, he is an animal, driven by instinct and ruled by the basic need to survive, no matter the cost. His progression towards something more makes for an engaging initial c
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another damn entertaining story from one of my favorite authors. Michael Fletcher always finds the right blend of madness and normalcy to make me want more of his brand of fantasy.
Mark Lawrence
I haven't read this book, yet, but it's a finalist in this year's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, so it must be good! #SPFBO

See the finalist board here:
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The only thing that is keeping me sane during quarantine are amazing dark fantasy releases.

4 stars

When I picked up this book, I had no idea what to expect – I’ve been wanting to read M.R.Fletcher’s ‘Beyond Redemption’ for a while now, but never got my hands on it (that’s changing very soon!).
So, this was a pleasant surprise, because ‘Black Stone Heart’ turned out to be so good! I don’t know why nobody’s talking about it?
In this quest story we follow the main character, who wakes up buried alive
Sep 18, 2020 added it
If you’ve read Fletcher’s stuff before, you’ll know that he has a tendency to write grimdark books full of fucked up shit. This is not an exception to that rule, no rainbows and sunshine here.

The MC, Khraen, is a demonologist, which are known for common use of human sacrifice. Khraen is a distinctive and memorable character for a lot of reasons. I wouldn’t describe him as an anti-hero, I would say he’s straight up a villain. He’s a quite a different type of villain than I’m used to, though. Khra
Queen Terrible Timy
I've read this as part of SPFBO in which it was chosen as my semi-finalist. You can check out the reviews of the rest of the team here

Actual rating: 4.5*

I’ve been wanting to read one of Fletcher‘s books for a while now as many of my friends praised his books, but I never quite got around to it. Lady Luck stood by my side and Black Stone Heart got sorted into our group. I took it as a sign and claimed it for myself. In the meantime the audiobook was also released and I got myself a copy of that t
Clayton Snyder
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This might be the best Fletcher book I've read to date.

That's not a light statement, considering his oeuvre: Beyond Redemption, Smoke and Stone, The Mirror's Truth, and on, but I tore through this in less than four days, and it left me wanting more. More, more, more now.

Black Stone Heart is, on the outside, progression fantasy. It begins at a sprint, and only pours on speed as the story moves through the typical beats: fight, grow; fight, fail; fight, grow. The action is swift and brutal, the qu
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I’ve been insanely lucky to have read back to back grimdark gems in the forms of Rob Hayes’ Along the Razor’s Edge and now Michael R. Fletcher’s Black Stone Heart. My own obsidian heart is overflowing with dark fantasy goodness!

This one has given me enough to think about for a long time. I might even write more when I can properly describe what this gifted author has created. Fucking genius.
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truly spectacular!

I will admit that I did not have high hopes when I first picked this up. The cover is impressive, and the author is one whose style and themes I'm a bit familiar with, having read at least one other of his books. So there I go...

Black Stone Heart is a complicated tale of incredible loss. The kind of loss that takes you right back to the ground, where you came from. It is a coming of age tale, chillingly dark, with a darker spice of the erotic. It is the story of a man, all that
RTC - Read it as part of SPFBO, review will follow after the conclusion.
This is the first book I have read by Michael R. Fletcher, and, I've got mixed feelings about it. There's a good story here, that's for sure. But, it was one hell of a grimdark book, even more than Mark Lawrence or Anna Smith Spark. It reeked of blood and death, and it was kind of depressive for me. I wasn't able to connect to the major characters, rather the ones that got killed elicited a kind of symathy from me.

I liked the worldbuilding. It was epic. There's the backdrop of an ancient apocal
Mark Massera
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great mixture of love, betrayal and revenge. Stirred together by the madman, Michael R Fletcher.

This was fast paced and lots of fun. The 1st person point of view from a man with no memories plays out towards the reader and binds you together.
I found myself conflicted alongside the main character which certainly made it easy to invest in his journey.
Great use of themes that highlight perspectives on good vs evil, what is evil? And can one change?
Bloody, violent and dastardly at times but the s
"Highh Fantasy" Sean
I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I can't say I've ever read anything like this book. Michael R. Fletcher has crafted something truly unique with this book. The lines between good and evil have never seemed more vague. And don't even get me started on the world building.
But where this book shines is in its main character (I hesitate to call him protagonist). Witnessing his internal struggle with who he is, wants to be and was is so relatable, even though it'
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
This was one of our SPFBO semifinalist in our group. My review only. Links for team reviews and about the contest at the bottom.

Ooh this was a tough one, Khraen is very primal in the beginning of this story. He awakes with fractured memories and is in survivor mode and let me tell you it is not pretty. I have no qualms about death and gore and all that stuff, though I do prefer a crust of hope on my violence, and I really need to like the characters when they’re being despicable. This is pretty
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spfbo-6
Review is on The Fantasy Hive blog for SPFBO 6
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
I am a huge Fletcher fan. His books are typically action packed and wildly inventive. Beyond Redemption in particular is fantastic.

What happened here? The story is a conventional wizards and demons fantasy. Not much new. The narrative is slow, godawful repetitive, and boring. I almost tossed this aside several times, holding on only because Fletcher was certain to to deliver something amazing at some point, right? In this case, no. Pick up any of Fletcher’s other books and be wildly entertained
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Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author, a grilled cheese aficionado, and a whiskey-swilling reprobate. He spends his days choreographing his forklift musical (titled "Get Forked"), and using caffeine as a substitute for sanity. Any suggestions that he is actually Dyrk Ashton in disguise are all lies.

Blog (kinda):


Other books in the series

The Obsidian Path (2 books)
  • She Dreams in Blood (The Obsidian Path, #2)

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