Aura of Dark Might, by Nicholas Kay
To be honest, I totally avoided things I knew would be awful. I didn’t see any brainless comedies or pandering lowest-common-denominator action flicks. I didn’t play modern military shooters (other than the fantastic Spec Ops: The Line, which if you play video games, YOU SHOULD PLAY NOW) or sports games. It’s one of the advantages about blogging not being my main source of income. As much as I may envy the likes of Yahtzee or the Nostalgia Critic, I do have the advantage of not needing to experience any entertainment that I know isn’t for me. Not that I’m above it or anything – it’s just been a long time since I’ve had a donation.
Anyway, the worst thing I did entertainment-wise this year was read Word Bearers.
Oh, Word Bearers. There’s so much potential in a cadre of superhuman killing machines driven by faith instead of jingoistic patriotism. In the Warhammer universe, the Chaos Gods are real. I think it’s a lot easier to justify your faith when you can actually have conversations with your gods, even if they do tend to squabble and fight amongst themselves. The best thing about the Word Bearers, to me, is that they seek a unified, middle-of-the-road approach to Chaos worship. You may still have one leader who’s more inclined towards Khrone, and another who engages in Tzeenchian manipulations, but at the end, they’re all in one place, and their debates and schemes all occur within that place.
Want to know how to ruin all of this storytelling potential? Well, start with avoiding the mention of the Chaos God’s names. Make all the personalities of the bombastic, energetic, and at least half-crazy Chaos Space Marines flat and boring. Kill all of your incidental characters the moment after you introduce them. Repeat the same murder sequences ad nauseum. Make your main character’s struggles amount to nothing. And don’t let your plot develop, deepen, or go anywhere.
I never thought that picking up this book would leave me so bored. As a reader, I was deeply disappointed. As a writer, I was incredibly frustrated. It was easily the worst entertainment experience I had in 2013.
What was yours?