Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Skyrim Book Reviews, Titles Beginning with E

Effects of the Elder Scrolls, by Justinius Poluhnius.

Here is a bit a lore about the Elder Scrolls for which the game series is named. The author describes the terrible fate that befalls a person who reads an Elder Scroll without preparation, and then describes the different, but also terrible, fate that befalls one who undergoes years of preparation prior to reading. The disciplines followed by the Cult of the Ancestor Moth are explained.

I must confess: Skyrim is the only Elder Scrolls game I've played, and I have never finished it. Whenever I get to level 50 or so, I start a new character and try a different play style. But I've never finished the main plot, I've never even started the civil war plotline, and I've never actually encountered an Elder Scroll, so I have no experiential knowledge to verify or refute the accuracy of the content of this book. However, the text of Effects of the Elder Scrolls is well-written and informative, and the book serves to flesh out the game world in a very satisfactory way.

Four stars.


Eslaf Erol
, by Reven.

You won't find a book titled Eslaf Erol in the game, but the name of the main character serves as a series title for the four books: Beggar, Thief, Warrior, and King. This story about five siblings with unpronounceable names is absurd. Even the opening paragraph contains multiple physical impossibilities. It was all too ludicrous for my tastes, but I grew used to the style, and I eventually embraced the ridiculous and enjoyed the story for what it was. As you might guess from the titles of the four books, they follow the progression of Eslaf's life, from birth through poverty to eventual kingship. While Beggar, Thief, and King are aptly named, Warrior seems a bit of a stretch, as he never weilds a weapon, but only cowers behind a shield.

It's hard to rate this series, because you'll either love it or hate it, and I don't perceive much room for ambivalence. I really can't decide if it's stupid or funny, or stupid-funny.

Two stars OR four stars. In this case, they do not average to three.


The Exodus
, by Waughin Jarth.

After reading The Argonian Account and A Dance in Fire, I've become a bona fide Waughin Jarth fan. The Exodus, however, is not one of his better works. A husband and wife journey far in the hopes of finding someone who can save the life of their sickly daughter, and they find a small enclave of cheerful, friendly mages living in the middle of an expansive graveyard. The writing bursts with lush and vivid descriptions. However, unusual for Jarth's work, there is one glaring tense shift, they type of error that should have been cleaned up in editing. The worst error, however, is a matter of dramatic timing. A particular piece of information was revealed to the reader at the midpoint of the story. Had it been saved until the last page, the ending of the tale would have had more punch.

Three stars.


Experimentation in the Physicalities of the Werewolf
, by Reman Crex.

A sociopath describes in detail the horrifying techniques by which he tortures captured werewolves to death and documents them for science. It's well-written and enriches the game world, but it is one of the darkest, most disturbing things I have yet encountered in Skyrim. Your mileage may vary.

Three and a half stars.


An Explorer's Guide to Skyrim
, by Marcius Carvain, Viscount Bruma.

Many books in Skyrim do something when you open them--increase one of your skills or launch a quest. This one adds a location to your map. Unlike every other book I've encountered, though, this isn't a single-use bonus. Open this book multiple times, and you'll receive multiple map markers. You can add every single one of the Stones of Fate to your map if you have the patience to sit there and keep opening and closing the book for a couple of minutes.

The actual text of this travelogue is better than I expected. An Imperial with a generally low opinion of the people of Skyrim, but a high opinion of the landscape, describes four locations with lovely detail.

Four stars.


Note: I am not connected to Bethesda in any way, and no one asked me to do these reviews. I am doing this purely for my own fun, as time allows. I don't have an agenda, other than the joy of reading and writing. If I panned your favorite Skyrim book, sorry. If I gave five stars to one you thought was awful, also sorry. These are my opinions and mine alone. You're entitled to your own.

Read these books within the game Skyrim, on The Elder Scrolls Wiki or on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages, or download the Dovahkiin Gutenberg.

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