The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel – Vol. I: The Land (2015)

I usually like nice hardcover books with this, with art and various details from a fictional world inside. This was a fairly good example of that sort of book. It’s composed of presumably around half (given that there’s a second volume) on the texts inside the video game, but accompanied with copious amounts of artwork (not sure if this was concept artwork, specifically commissioned for the book, or a mixture of both, although I suspect the latter) not found anywhere else.

The artwork was enjoyable, with most of it being full-colour. There were a few two-page spreads that were nice. I do wish it was a bit more inventive however – the lore of these games is unique in how bizarre it gets, and some more wild visual interpretations would have been nice.

As for the textual content, the tales are light, very short, and broadly good enough. There’s a couple of interesting ones, and a few that add new lore content, but a lot of them are repetitive. A newcomer to the franchise would enjoy these more, but having read so many similar in-game texts in Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, I did feel a tad bored with a lot of them. The new lore situations (the three factions and their war) were the most enjoyable to me because it was all new to me.

The book itself, physically, is well-made, has a most lovely scent, and held up to reading well (the spine is perfectly fine). My only major criticism would be the font – yes, it fits the fantasy aesthetic but wow, it is not enjoyable to read. Really dampened my enjoyment of the book; I often had to squint and carefully scan sentences because the font is a challenge. Sacrificing in-universe accuracy for legibility would have been a good idea here – Skyrim used the Futura font in-game, and that worked perfectly fine.

I give it three nirnroots and the Heart of Lorkhan.

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