Review: Chosen of Khorne / Writer: Anthony Reynolds / Release Date: Out Now
The Black Library has gone from strength to strength when it comes to their audio dramas. Given that the Warhammer 40,000 setting is so very large and filled with a great many strange and complicated things, audio suits the franchise splendidly; after all, the pictures you make in your head are usually much better than that of any Hollywood budget. This sort of thing works especially well in tales that feature the outlandish and bizarre, and this is why Chosen of Khorne is a great choice for such a thing.
This is a gladiatorial tale, featuring one of the main characters from the setting, Kharn the Betrayer, a metahuman brute blessed by the dark god of blood and war to wreak vengeance upon humanity. The story is told from two perspectives, the inhuman Kharn and pitifully mortal Malven, a human seneschal who works for a powerful warlord. Kharn has been selected to act as champion for this warlord, and has to fight a warped and twisted Imperial Space Marine which has devolved into a horrifically mutated and savage warrior, whilst being egged on by an arena filled with the strangest of hell-twisted freaks.
The tale suffers, somewhat, from Kharn being the only signature character in the entire piece; though it’s nice to see him get the spotlight, it does rather reduce the sense of peril. We do get a lovely sense of what it’s like to be a metahuman psychotic killer blessed by hell-bound forces, however.
Renolds narrative paints a powerful picture of hell-torn cities and desperate stuggles between fallen angels, and the production standards are superb as always. As much as it is nice to see the darker heroes in the Warhammer 40,000 setting getting an outing, this piece is mostly atmosphere and little substance; it’s great choice for lifting spirits during house chores and is the audio-book equivalent of a heavy metal album, despite the tale being rather one-note.