Reviews: The Elder Scrolls

Surprisingly Great Fit

The announcement for The Elder Scrolls Novels was ill-timed. They were announced along with the statement that there would be some time before the next Elder Scrolls game installment, therefore a lot of the fanbase had a negative association from the beginning. However, upon actually reading the novel, it is definitely a worthy and worthwhile way to give the series its first bout at an EU continuity.

The first thing people took issue with before the book was even released was that the blurb seemed like it was too morally "clean," that it was a simple story of good versus evil in a series that has always been about Grey And Grey Morality. However, reading the book, it's as grey and grey as one can get. The New Empire is simply the most powerful batch of outlaws whose might made right, and the titular Infernal City is, like any city, populated by people of all walks of life and the entire moral spectrum.

Another pre-release issue was that people, again, without having read it, didn't like the characters. Of course, reading it, Annaig develops realistically from a person who reads too much adventure novels and suddenly, when thrust into an actual adventure, discovers that it is quite difficult. Prince Attrebus is gloriously Deconstructed as a Warrior Prince, Sul is given Hidden Depths revealed as time passes. The issue is that Colin, the young spy for the new Empire, is not given very much page space. However, the second book may fix that.

The final issue people took (again, before release) was that they thought having a gigantic floating city would conflict with the lore as set up by the games and in-character developer apocrypha. Telling you just how the flying city works would be a spoiler, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say that it fits with established lore perfectly, including (and especially) the apocrypha. It also doesn't shy away from breaking the status quo, which is fortunate as some fantasy works have a tendency to stagnate.

This book is a well-written and well-deserved addition to the series continuity. I recommend wholeheartedly that any fan of the series reads it.