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Lord of the Night reviews the gripping audio-drama Perfection by Nick Kyme, author of the Tome of Fire trilogy and Fall of Damnos.
“An enjoyable tale of mystery and decadence with a conclusion that is truly terrifying and unexpected.” – The Founding Fields
Yet another audio-drama has graced my shelves and this time its Perfection by Nick Kyme. Kyme is an author whose work I have enjoyed so I was looking forward to Perfection, even more so for its subject matter of Slaaneshi Chaos Space Marines. I was not disappointed as I very much enjoyed the tale of Perfection despite some flaws and lulls.
The world of Vardask’s remaining hours are numbered. Beset by the Khornate warband known as The Hellhounds on one side and the Slaaneshi Incarnadine Host on the other its inhabitants are doomed. But the traitors face their own dilemma as the leaders of the Incarnadine Host are being murdered, their bodies dismembered and in complete secrey. Of course it could be no other than the Hellhounds who so clearly hate the Slaaneshi marines and their depraved God. But perhaps another killer stalks the battlefield, just waiting for its next target. But what does the killer want? And why it seem as if the killings are so perfect?
The story in Perfection is enjoyable despite a slow start. I enjoyed the mystery behind the killings of the Flawless marines and the division that it sparks between the characters, I particularly enjoyed that the mystery was genuinely mysterious. The killer was not who I expected and neither was the reason behind the killings, though to be fair the reasoning was so shocking that even my guesses fell far short of the mark. Kyme does a good job of giving each character ample motive to be the killer and each character is evil enough that you suspect it could be anybody, each person is a likely suspect.
The characters on both sides of the conflict are interesting, though of course focus is given to the Flawless and only one real Khornate character appears. Ardantes of the Flawless is the protagonist and is a fine example of a Slaaneshi marine, preening, arrogant, self-centered and clearly somewhat deranged. His obsession with perfection and his symphony of carnage makes a character that is quite memorable. Other major characters include Vaidar the Noise Marine, Nefurion the Apothecary of the Flawless, Megarron the Khornate champion and Captain Honor of the Vardaskian Rifles. The characters reactions to the murders were quite entertaining for me, caring in some ways but uncaring in other ways, which is just what we should expect from the scions of Fulgrim.
Perfection‘s battle scenes are coreographed very finely, every sword-strike from Ardantes feels like a work of art and every side-step an expert dance maneuver, his narration of them helping in that quite a bit. The early battles are a bit tough to understand at first though with Ardantes and The Butcher as the line between the two is very thin and the description of the earlier fights makes it hard to see where Ardantes starts and where the Butcher finishes it, at first I thought they were two separate marines. The final fight scene is the most enjoyable in my opinion, as this personal duel feels so much more epic and is easier to understand as the two combatent’s movements are described vividly and the fight takes a rather interesting turn in terms of fighting style.
The pacing of the story is a bit mixed, at first its slow and it can take the listener some time to get into the story, but as the murders start to pile up the pacing speeds up enough that it becomes far easier to listen to and enjoy the story. The voice acting is nicely done, the Flawless speaking in refined tones and pronouncing their words carefully. Even the Noise Marine Vaidar whose voice is rather rough still has a good pronounciation and carries himself in a polished manner. The sound effects are enjoyable as well, particularly the screaming when it occurs. And the voice actor for Ardantes really nailed his performence in the final few minutes for reasons that you’ll see when you listen to the audio.
My favourite quote is… well I can’t post it here due to spoilers so i’ll post my second favourite.
“Do shut up!”
The ending is terrifying and shocking. I did not see this twist conclusion coming and the killer’s identity and motives were very surprising, because I discounted this character early on and because his motives were not something I could have predicted. If I could rate the ending separately i’d give it a 10/10 for sheer horror and awesomeness, but the rest of the story must be taken into account.
For an actually mysterious murder-mystery, memorable characters and an ending that i’ll never be able to forget I give Perfection a score of 7.6/10. This is a gratifying audio-drama that while not being perfect, is definitely one that should not be missed by any fan of the Dark Gods.
Should you buy this audio? A fan of Chaos should definitely consider buying Perfection, this story is brimming with Chaos and shows what Slaaneshi marines are like both on and off the battlefield. Fans of audios should also consider Perfection as it’s a well-narrated tale and an entertaining story with a few surprises written within. But if audios and Chaos aren’t something you delight in, then Perfection is not a purchase for you.
That’s it for this review. Next will be either Treacheries of the Space Marines or God Save the Queen. Until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!