THE SKYRIM LIBRARY, VOL. 1: THE HISTORIES
Few can build a world quite as immersive and detailed as Bethesda. From their contributions to the Fallout series to the many Elder Scrolls instalments, there is a constant sense of wonder and creativity. However, while they might be truly beautiful, often criticisms surrounding the games list them as being shallow, lacking dimension or immersive lore to keep the world interesting. This first volume of The Skyrim Library proves just how wrong that assertion truly is.
Serving as an in-universe documentation, The Histories is a collected series of works by multiple authors. Offering a variety of differing extracts and authors, readers are given a general outlook at the world and its events. Starting with the Empire’s brief history and the societal links across Tamriel, the authors elected to take very broad view. The focus here was upon the events leading up to Elder Scrolls Online and Skyrim itself, fleshing out how the world developed. As such, while it might skip over points such as the arrival of humans and fall of the Ayleid, the book covers events such as the ill-fated invasion of Akavir. Chapters include stories familiar to fans such as The Argonian Account and a variety of travel journal extracts. It might not be as in-depth as other accounts, but it ultimately offers a great starting point for many fans looking to expand their understanding of the lore.
Backing the varied stories and historical depictions are some truly stunning pieces of artwork. These range from scratchy images of a tomb and mummified corpses to full illustrations of Azura’s statue. Each compliments the various texts extraordinarily well and helps offer something even for fans who retain extensive knowledge of the timeline and lore. This said however, it’s with the artwork that you do begin to realise the book’s greatest failing: It doesn’t push the envelope. Much of what’s found here is a recounting and listing of many known events, and it never manages to go into some of the more obscure or unseen areas of the world. There’s no mention of the sea elves, the aspects of Oblivion, and tenures of certain leaders are woefully cut short. There is also very little reflection on the other games, with Morrowind only getting a brief mention and the artistic styles emulating only Skyrim’s armour or species designs over any other game.
The first volume of The Skyrim Library is a fantastic start to a promising series, and offers a great deal to fans. It’s a shame that it couldn’t do more to reflect on the series as a whole. Buy it, but just bear in mind it’s more focused upon recent releases than the whole series.
INFO: THE SKYRIM LIBRARY, VOL. 1: THE HISTORIES / AUTHOR: BETHESDA SOFTWORKS / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 26TH