Hallgerd's Tale, by Tavi Dromio.
Here is another two-layered story. The frame story features three guys chatting about their favorite warriors, and the nested story is the tale told by one of them. Although the setting is completely undefined, from the tone of their banter, I picture these young men hanging around in an alehouse. They seem kind of like frat boys. Do they have beer and pizza in Skyrim? Maybe they're downing mead and sweet rolls.
Because the nested story is presented entirely within Hallgerd's dialogue, it is frequently interrupted with commentary by his two buddies. The tale of a warrior who could move faster in heavy armor than out of it is a bit on the ridiculous side, not to mention rather bawdy, but it is quite entertaining. If you like tall tales spiritedly told, don't miss this one.
Hanging Gardens of the Wasten Coridae.These are presented as fragments of an old Dwemer book. Most are not even complete sentences. The phrases are nicely turned, but too disconnected to give a clear impression of anything.
One and a half stars.
Harvesting Frostbite Spider Venom.
This seems more like a letter than a book, as the unidentified author is clearly addressing a specific individual he or she has recruited to collect frostbite venom. It's casual, but informative, and it includes a lovely drawing of a frostbite spider biting a warrior's head off.
Heavy Armor Forging, by Sven Two-Hammers.
Collect this book for the smithing skill point, but don't bother reading it. It's just a list of what types of ingots are needed to craft various types of armor. It's well written, but terribly dull. If you really want to read about smithing, read Forge, Hammer, and Anvil.
Herbalist's Guide to Skyrim, by Agneta Falia.
Here's a rarity in Skyrim: a book filled with full-color illustrations. These well-done drawings of various alchemy ingredients are accompanied by narrative descriptions of their properties. So you could learn a handful of alchemy recipes from this text. For being both beautiful and practical, this book gets . . .
There are three unnumbered volumes in this set: The Ice Wraiths, Dwarven Automatons, and Hagravens. Herbane seems to be a big game hunter. When he hears a tale of a fearsome beast, he is compelled to seek it out and kill it. Though he seems a braggart, he has the mettle to match his mouth. These texts are reasonably informative, as tips useful for gameplay are mixed with some interesting lore. However, awkward sentences, lack of apostrophes in possessives, and a misspelling of Herbane's own name (Herebanes) detract.
Three and a half stars.
The Holds of Skyrim: A Field Officer's Guide.
These brief, uninspired descriptions of the nine holds and their capitols add no information that you wouldn't learn from even the most cursory playthrough of the game.
The Hope of the Redoran, by Turiul Nirith.
This might have been an interesting story in the hands of a writer with the ability to create suspense and craft action scenes. Unfortunately, the tale falls flat. What little action is shown is muddled with awkward sentences, and the climactic fight scene is glossed over with, "The less said about the end of the battle, the better," which I took to mean, "I didn't feel like writing this scene."
The Horror of Castle Xyr: A One Act Play, by Baloth-Kul.
This tale is told in script format, which is a refreshing change from narrative prose. Despite the fact that the gruesome horrors chiefly occur off stage and are relayed through dialogue, this is a rather enjoyable tale. One passage gave me a genuine chill, and there is a nice twist to the plot.
Four and a half stars.
How Orsinium Passed to the Orcs, by Menyna Gsost.
Overall, this is an enjoyable story about a duel between a Breton and an Orc over ownership of a large parcel of land. The focus is more upon the preparation for the duel than the duel itself. There are a few minor grammatical errors, one strange lore error (namely, the Breton refers to Orcish armor as "beastly steel," but anyone who has played the game knows that Orcish armor is made of orichalcum), and a couple of questionable aspects of the plot (which I won't spoil here). Even so, the story is entertaining.
A Hypothetical Treachery: A One Act Play, by Anthil Morvir.
The script format works well for this story, as it is more dialogue than action. Four adventurers find a treasure, and no one wants to share. After a betrayal, only two are left standing. The treasure is heavy enough that neither can carry it alone, so they cooperate in transporting it. As they walk, however, they have a "hypothetical" conversation about the particular strategies each might use to betray the other. It is a game of wits, and the reader's uncertainty about which of these two devious battlemages will emerge as the victor elevates the suspense.
Four and a half 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.
Corridors of Blood
9 months ago