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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Skyrim Library, Vol. I: The Histories

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For the first time, the collected texts from the critically and commercially acclaimed fantasy video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are bound together in three exciting volumes. Lavishly illustrated and produced, these titles are straight out of the world of Skyrim - and a must for any wandering adventurer.


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For the first time, the collected texts from the critically and commercially acclaimed fantasy video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are bound together in three exciting volumes. Lavishly illustrated and produced, these titles are straight out of the world of Skyrim - and a must for any wandering adventurer.

30 review for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Skyrim Library, Vol. I: The Histories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of my favourite video games of all time. I’ve spent hundreds of hours travelling in the northernmost province of Tamriel, slaying dragons, collecting treasures, murdering in the name of the Dark Brotherhood, and exploring a whole world of fantastic legend. I realized at some point I was missing out on something. I was too busy exploring and fighting to actually read all the tales one can stumble open in old, dusty tomes inside the game itself. I tried reading so The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of my favourite video games of all time. I’ve spent hundreds of hours travelling in the northernmost province of Tamriel, slaying dragons, collecting treasures, murdering in the name of the Dark Brotherhood, and exploring a whole world of fantastic legend. I realized at some point I was missing out on something. I was too busy exploring and fighting to actually read all the tales one can stumble open in old, dusty tomes inside the game itself. I tried reading some of these books, but I soon had more important things to do, like adventuring, beastslaying and so on. So it was great news when Bethesda announced collector’s editions compiling all of them into solid volumes. I’ve saved this book for the right time, and now finally that time has come. The Histories is the first volume of the Skyrim Library series, and includes all the history books found across the land of Skyrim. Here you can read historical texts about legendary figures such as Reman Cyrodiil, Indoril Nerevar and Tiber Septim. It’s a peak into the magnificent lore of the Elder Scrolls series, and comes with wonderful illustrations on top of that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    I’ve recently started to play this video game again, and to accompany it I bought this. I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it is as lavishly illustrated edition that is a great collector’s item, and on the other hand everything inside is already freely available within the video game. So, its value is limited. However, when I played the game I didn’t bother reading the books. Who when slaying mighty dragons wants to stop and read a city guide or some herbalist lore? Not me, that’s I’ve recently started to play this video game again, and to accompany it I bought this. I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it is as lavishly illustrated edition that is a great collector’s item, and on the other hand everything inside is already freely available within the video game. So, its value is limited. However, when I played the game I didn’t bother reading the books. Who when slaying mighty dragons wants to stop and read a city guide or some herbalist lore? Not me, that’s for sure. So this book was quite new to me. I found it helped to bolster my knowledge of the Elder Scrolls universe, and to immerse me more into the video game experience. I love this franchise for the same reason I love high fantasy novels; it provides a true sense of escapism that allows you to imagine a new and more interesting life. It’s all good fun, and some of the entries in here were quite entertaining even if they needed an edit in parts. Is it worth the money though? Simply put, it’s not. The publishers are printing three separate volumes, one for each book type in Skyrim. This is disappointing and expensive. The asking price is very high for what you get; yes, there may be nice artwork that is in colour, but still it’s unreasonable. All of the books should have been put into one volume with a reasonable price tag because at the moment, I flinch when I see the overall cost of these three volumes. I won’t be buying the other two. They’re just not worth it. I think it would have been more prudent to ask for less money, that way people may actually bother to buy a collection of books that is already freely available in the game. Consequently, I only recommend this to the most hard-core of Elder Scrolls fans. This is more of a collector’s piece than a reader’s value for money. I did enjoy it, but I do regret my purchasing of it. I think an overall Elder Scrolls book collection would be better, one that comprised of the most memorable books form each game. An expensive 2.5 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anirudh

    I'm a crazy fan so this review is completely biased. But this book is awesome! I'm a crazy fan so this review is completely biased. But this book is awesome!

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Gardtman

    Note: I will use this book as a catch-all for my reviews of most of the books in oblivion and skyrim. There is a lot of overlap between the games so it makes the most sense. First off, the skill books: I can easily recommend many of the skill books. If you search for elder scrolls book recommendations on google, these are usually the ones recommended. If you're just going to read a few of the books in elder scrolls, read these. The skill books are short and sweet and almost always contain an unexp Note: I will use this book as a catch-all for my reviews of most of the books in oblivion and skyrim. There is a lot of overlap between the games so it makes the most sense. First off, the skill books: I can easily recommend many of the skill books. If you search for elder scrolls book recommendations on google, these are usually the ones recommended. If you're just going to read a few of the books in elder scrolls, read these. The skill books are short and sweet and almost always contain an unexpected punchline. You might find it hard to get through the first one, depending on which you pick, but it's quite addicting to try and guess the twist before you get to the end. Vernaccus and Bourlor, Breathing water, and Hope of the Redoran are all good examples! However, one comes to expect this twist, so the few skill books that didn't have them, made me feel a bit cheated. Finally, since the books are divided into skill trees, it's easy to pick out the category of books you want to read about. Like thieves? Read the sneak, pickpocket and stealth skill books! Some more examples: A hypothetical Treachery, Bone, Importance of Where, The Talara series, Chimarvamidium, Marksmanship lesson, and many more! Then we have the in-universe history books. They might seem dry, and many of them are. I wholeheartedly recommend The Real Barenziah however, which just feels like a book (although one without a proper ending since it is in the game itself). If you're really into the games I can still recommend these books. For example, it's fun to see how and why Morrowind was invaded by the imperials, some reasons for why the Thalmor were able to take over almost all of tamriel, and what happened right after the oblivion crisis. What's even more fun about reading these books are just the fact that they are in-universe. After reading the Real Barenziah, you can read the sanitized Biography of Queen Barenziah, or other lore books that mention her. What's the true story? You have to decide from studying it yourself. Even more interesting, you can make your own conclusions from meeting some of the characters in the games, which is the kind of interactive storytelling that only games can provide. Even without all of the gameplay, it's super interesting to be able to meet and interact with some of these 'historical' people that you've read about. For example: Was Tiber Septim / Talos really wonderful and worth of worship, or was he kind of a shitty person? Maybe both? Are the Wolf Queen books correct, and did Potema manage to make Pelagius mad through a cursed amulet? Some history books mention this 'fact', and some dispute it. You have to make your own conclusions based on for example who wrote the books (perhaps Waughin Jarth used some artistic license, he did write fiction as well after all). This kind of storytelling would be much harder to have in a regular linear book. (Sure, unreliable narrators exist, but here we have multiple 'unreliable' narrators, and you can explore the fictional world itself as well). Note: Reading Pocket Guide to the empire ed 1, ed 3, and a Brief History of the Empire after having read these shorter history books is pretty fun. You already know the events that are only mentioned in passing in the pocket guides, and you can more easily see how the separate stories fit into the big picture. Finally, we have the in-universe guide/instruction books. Definitely not saving the best for last. These books are not bad.... but they are definitely only interesting within the context of the games themselves. Books like Guide to Bruma/anvil etc, or An Explorer's Guide to Skyrim are mostly not badly written. But there would be no reason to read them unless you could actually visit the places written about in these books, and find some of the secrets mentioned. This also applies to books "Myth or Menace?" which discusses if the thieves guild even exists in cyrodiil. As a player, you know it exists (and it is way too easy to find). But with some imagination, it is very fun when you find the thieves guild, when even the lore book itself disputes its existence. Final Thoughts I went into this project thinking I would only read the books suggested by my man Brian David Gilbert in the Polygon youtube video "I read all 337 books in Skyrim so you don't have to". And then I did. I started with the skill books, easy and digestible. Afterwards, I went into a deep dive of the history books. Because I had read the skill books first (of which some are historical as well), I had some context for the history books which made them easier to read. Had I started with the history books, I probably would've given up. Therefore, if you do want to read all of the books as well, I recommend this reading order. Possibly read one of the Pocket Guide to the empire after the skill books to get some context of the world of Tamriel. HOWEVER! I do not recommend reading all books. They're not all good books, not by a long shot. As I said at the start, some of the skill books are really fun and some of them I recommend even if you haven't played the elder scrolls. Everything else is just if you like the world or the lore. See you next elder scrolls, and in the next adventure! Random comments: Honestly, the new books created for Skyrim were mostly not worth reading in my opinion. It's all nords this and vikings that. They're not necessarily bad, just get pretty stale with the viking stuff compared to the more varied histories of Morrowind, Elsweyr, Black Marsh and so on. However, they may not be as bad as I make them out to be; As a Swede that likes reading about both viking history, myth and religion, the books about the Nords just feel like cheap knockoffs to me. Therefore, I do concede that my own experiences probably skews my opinion of these lore books somewhat. Don't trudge through the Shivering Isles books. Sounds like they should be fun, since some of the Sheogorath books in the base games, such as Myths of Sheogorath and Accords of Madness are really great. However, these books just don't go deep enough into the crazy, and are actually pretty dull.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tazio Bettin

    It's a real pleasure to finally be able to read all the books contained within the game of Skyrim. While I play the game, I rarely dedicate time to that endeavour because it slows the playthrough down considerably an I already have little time to dedicate to it. Plus I'm not very keen on reading on a screen. So this book is just perfect for me. After having seen the title of the books dozen on times on shelves and in dungeons in the game, it's good to finally actually read said books. Now, some o It's a real pleasure to finally be able to read all the books contained within the game of Skyrim. While I play the game, I rarely dedicate time to that endeavour because it slows the playthrough down considerably an I already have little time to dedicate to it. Plus I'm not very keen on reading on a screen. So this book is just perfect for me. After having seen the title of the books dozen on times on shelves and in dungeons in the game, it's good to finally actually read said books. Now, some of them are pretty funny and interesting. A Dance in Fire, the famous Lusty Argonian Maid and Sultry Argonian Bard, and the Wolf Queen. Others, like the timelines and strictly "setting history" fluff books tend to be a bit dry and boring. All in all this is a good book to get a solid idea of the history of Tamriel in general, and of Skyrim and Morrowind in some more depth. I've always been curious about Saarthaal and the Labyrinthian and this book sated my curiosity in that regard.

  6. 4 out of 5

    J.V. Seem

    This is a wonderful collection of the books of Skyrim, or the ones pertaining to history anyway. All those books you never really take the time to read when you're actually collecting them in the game. I learned so many new things about my very favorite place. Many of the books enrich your experience of the game, and some of them are actually very funny as well! My favorite has to be the play The Lusty Argonian Maid. This volume is also lavishly illustrated with works from different stages of the This is a wonderful collection of the books of Skyrim, or the ones pertaining to history anyway. All those books you never really take the time to read when you're actually collecting them in the game. I learned so many new things about my very favorite place. Many of the books enrich your experience of the game, and some of them are actually very funny as well! My favorite has to be the play The Lusty Argonian Maid. This volume is also lavishly illustrated with works from different stages of the game design. Simply amazing artwork. I enjoyed this very much, can't wait for the next one!

  7. 4 out of 5

    TheWellReadLady

    Beautifully crafted book, with an embosed cover, thick pages and gorgeous artwork. The history books you read in Skyrim are all here (my favourite is 'The Lusty Argonian Maid' and 'The Sultry Argonian Bard', which is a hilarious play/s.) This is a collection dealing with the Elder Scrolls...of course it's fantastic!! Beautifully crafted book, with an embosed cover, thick pages and gorgeous artwork. The history books you read in Skyrim are all here (my favourite is 'The Lusty Argonian Maid' and 'The Sultry Argonian Bard', which is a hilarious play/s.) This is a collection dealing with the Elder Scrolls...of course it's fantastic!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    “…and the annual Dumbest-Book-To-Write-A-Review-This-Long-For Award goes to…” (Note: I split up my review into sections with spoiler links to keep things organized and minimized. This review doesn't contain any spoilers.) For the uninitiated When members of big nerdy fanbases try talking with outsiders, there’s always a bit of a disconnect. Fans can’t understand why outsiders can’t appreciate the little details and stories set in the universe they love so much, and the outsiders can’t understand wh “…and the annual Dumbest-Book-To-Write-A-Review-This-Long-For Award goes to…” (Note: I split up my review into sections with spoiler links to keep things organized and minimized. This review doesn't contain any spoilers.) For the uninitiated When members of big nerdy fanbases try talking with outsiders, there’s always a bit of a disconnect. Fans can’t understand why outsiders can’t appreciate the little details and stories set in the universe they love so much, and the outsiders can’t understand why the fans think their fictional universe is worth caring about in the first place. I’m landing square on the nerdy fan category here, and I’m not going to try to pitch this book to anyone who hasn’t already dumped hundreds of hours into this game (or any other video games). I will say though, the games are pretty great! Not so much for the writing (it’s more of a grand scope thing than any finely tuned stories or characters), but for the general dedication to exploration and freedom (and how fun that can be). A care for the game’s world comes out naturally with the hours. Now that I’ve weeded out all my poor followers, here is… The skinny (view spoiler)[I could immediately tell from scanning the index and not finding “A Game At Dinner” that this wasn’t a full collection of Skyrim’s in-game books (that book was everywhere). Sure enough this is “The Histories Volume 1.” That’s not Bethesda stretching out its in-game books for more cash—there are hundreds of in-game books, and it makes sense to section them up into multiple volumes. In fact, there are two more volumes of these puppies planned to come out at this time of writing (and two Elder Scrolls Online books, if you care about those). “The Histories” sounds like dull reading (especially since it’s not, you know, real) but there’s a lot more variety than the name gives away. There are some dry chronicles and timelines like you’d expect, but there’s also short stories, poetry, faux-academia, letters, plays (don’t fret, Lusty Argonian Maid makes the cut), travelogues, interviews, and analysis. A smart thing the writers do is never fully give away every little detail. Each historical story contains references to more historical crap to give the appearance that there’s always more than what the books cover. The world grows with each book, instead of getting more codified, logged, and simple. The writers will give analyses on the same events multiple times (Pelagius’s insanity being one good example) and recognize urban legends and the untrustworthiness of the tales in-universe. The goal is always to create the feel of the real world (and all its messy divergent histories) than to give OCD fans closure and simplicity. Of course, while they’re history texts in the Skyrim universe, in real life these are all written to be read and enjoyed by us Earthlings, and that detail’s never lost throughout the course of all this. Because the games reuse the in-game books, there’s a nice side-effect of how the stories actually feel like ancient accounts. Despite the Skyrim branding of this book, over a third of the stories were originally written for Oblivion (2006), Morrowind (2002), or Daggerfall (1996). In real life, sticking to something you wrote fifteen years before doesn’t seem that long of a time, but it sure feels that way when you look at how far video games have come in that same timeframe. The writing reads exactly the same, but then you go and realize what it came from: …then the gap feels more commendable. (“Playing Minecraft, Josh?” —everyone in high school) (hide spoiler)] The stories (view spoiler)[The stories are selected and arranged in a certain flow, grouped with other stories that give context to each other and makes reading from cover-to-cover enjoyable. There are 47 stories here (I counted), and I won’t go over each one, but I’ll talk a bit about each general category. 1) Royal history / war Ah, royalty. Always so naturally dramatic. These sections are written like Wikipedia articles, which I count as a good thing—neutral, direct, not excessively old or new sounding. The royalty’s little hard to follow (thanks to reusing the same three names over and over) but still oddly captivating. The war sections are written well and surprisingly seriously, but they really call the literalness of the in-game overworlds into question. I’ve never been able to decide if the in-game overworlds are a shrunken down representation of an Arena/Daggerfall-sized continent, and these stories don’t help. The countries and wars obviously couldn’t sustain themselves with the population and amount of land that’s shown in the games, but there are also many quests that wouldn’t make sense if it took weeks to cross the map. The only weak story in this section was The Disaster at Ionith. While interesting to hear about a mysterious location not shown in the games, it dragged, and lazily used magic to fill in for modern communication technology. One thing I love about The Elder Scrolls is its fidelity to its old games. Arena’s plot is crap (save the emperor! collect the eight broken pieces of the magic staff to kill the bad guy!) but it’s expanded on and analyzed. Instead of burying it, Bethesda went and made it interesting and hold real implications. 2) Short stories Two of the longest stories in this collection follow Decumus Scotti, a bumbling middle-aged architect who gets wrapped up in trouble in exotic places and winds up okay in the end, eating lots of people along the way. These were super pulpy (like an in-game adventure serial or something, there’s even a vine swing) and endearing. There were some neat ideas, including a city built on an enormous tree naturally floating along a river, a plant-loving community eating nothing but enormous quantities of meat, and a community leader that literally grew into an amalgamation of all his/her citizens and their concerns. There were some strange ideas too, namely that centaurs are still canon apparently, and people eat Khajiit meat(!). Also elves live hundreds of years, I guess. The second story with the Black Marsh was bleak. It makes me laugh at the insistent rumors Bethesda was going to announce an Elder Scrolls game set in the Black Marsh at E3 2015. Yeah…nope. “The Wolf Queen” revolves around an immoral manipulative ruler from childhood to old age. Despite that description it’s not as pulpy as the Scotti stories and more genuinely emotional at times. As a general rule, the bitchier the protagonist, the faster the pages turn, but there’s still a mild streak of sympathy for her running throughout. Mild. While these stories treat Tamriel as a huge, realistically populated continent for their benefit, they still adhere a little too close to the game’s magic system, even giving spell effects the same names. They make an effort to word the effects of some enchanted jewelry in a way real people might, but it’s not enough to avoid some unintentionally corny lines. 3) Skyrim Skyrim is in the name and cover of this book, so it gets a fat chunk dedicated to its geography and towns. By far the worst section. It also cements the literal-overworld-size representation in a way that clashes with the earlier war stories. The Whiterun story is particularly bizarre, writing about specific women in the town (and their availability) that wouldn’t make any sense to do in real life. I commend the story “Death of a Wanderer.” It’s a short (two page) story, that’s meant to teach players to make the slidey door panels match the same patterns on the keys you use to open them, but it didn’t dawn on me that was its real purpose until later. “They got me.” They hid its true purpose within a short little story about someone dying and reflecting on their travels, clever bastards. It’s stealthy. I have zero positive nostalgia for Skyrim’s sad cold world. When I was done with Skyrim, I was done. Reading these descriptions reminded me why. For a game you put hundreds of hours into, all the hardships and struggling and cold starts to drag on your soul. I don’t share this feeling with Oblivion, Morrowind, or Daggerfall at all. I’ll recognize I might be alone on this. Take this all in contrast to… 4) Morrowind …the warm happy glow of reading about Morrowind’s world again. It’s complicated, but it’s original and distinctly itself (more than I can say about the other Elder Scrolls games’ settings), and in my opinion the high-point of The Elder Scrolls universe. Which makes it all the more bizarre the writers destroyed it. Literally destroyed it with a volcano. The Skyrim writers weren’t content making only their game’s region gloomy and cold, they had to take the rest of the continent down with it. It feels like a band that’s tired of their most popular song and openly mocking it onstage. Why though? The story “The Red Year” chronicles the destruction of everything in Vvardenfell, relishing in the details of the most impressive parts of Morrowind being completely destroyed. I started laughing halfway through when I realized (unintentionally or no) how similar it was in tone to first-hand accounts of the 9/11 attacks (especially all the talk about the dark elves’ solidarity afterwards). Yeah great job Bethesda. (That’s not funny.) Vvardenfell wasn’t the only victim of the whatever depression-causing mold was growing in the air ducts at the Bethesda offices. Skyrim’s whining and rebelling. Hammerfell was given up by the Imperials for being too hard to defend. The Imperials won an impossible war, but gave into the same terms they didn’t agree with that started the war in the first place. The Thalmor (the unsympathetic SS-evoking evil elves) appear to be doing well, even if they lost some numbers. The Khajiits are loyal to the evil Thalmor for something involving moons. Most of Solstheim’s lush landscape was ruined by the Red Mountain Freeway and the mines dried up. And the Black Marsh was already an established craphole (not in Arena though! the Black Marsh inns are pretty jolly). Maybe in the next game Akavir will get hit with a meteor? It’s one thing to set up an end-of-the-world conflict (that’s what all the main quests in these games are about), but Skyrim crossed the line a little bit, since you don’t have any real influence on the events (except for the civil war) thanks to a two-hundred year jump from Oblivion. (It’s weird remembering that the first four Elder Scrolls games take place under the same emperor). If Bethesda keeps on the dour track started by Skyrim, they’re going to force themselves to write prequels if they want to have any prosperity, happiness, color… (Fitting that the first Elder Scrolls game to come out since Skyrim was a prequel.) 5) Dragons I didn’t think much of dragons when first playing Skyrim, but after playing the rest of the series and coming back and reading about their lore, I noticed how much they stand out. There were always little references to dragons (there even was a dragon in Redguard), but Skyrim retroactively made them way bigger than they were before (you’d think people would talk about ancient fearsome destroyer gods more). (hide spoiler)] The physical book (view spoiler)[Here’s a quick phone picture for reference (click to enlarge): It shows a few things to expect with the physical book. 1) Concept art. Not original to this book, but it’s put where it fits, generally. Seeing concept art is always depressing because you can see what the original ideas were and how pretty they were, and how they got blanded down in the final product. Skyrim’s concept art is actually pretty close to the final product, but there are some really gorgeous landscapes and sketches here… 2) Awful “historical” font. I groaned when I got the plastic off this book and first opened it up. One reason I never read many books in game was because of the font, and look what they did here. It’s perfectly readable, but it’s a questionable design choice. The font looks too crisp and doesn’t fit with the aged look of the pages. A flat tan with an old humanist typeface (readable and still “old,” something like Jenson or Centaur would’ve been great). Especially when a lot of the concept art doesn’t hide its digital Photoshopness. 3) Frequent typos. (See the second paragraph on the right page, that cuts off midword.) The in-game books are filled with typos too, but this book keeps many and adds more of its own (that cut off paragraph was full in the in-game version). With all of these, and the fact all these stories are available in-game and online, there might not be much reason to buy the physical book. I wouldn’t blame you. However, it’s a nice feeling hardcover, feels good in your hands, it’s not cheaply made, and it’ll look good with the others if you’re buying those too. Plus the stories are put together in a nice flow that gives everything context, and I imagine it’s a better way of reading the stories than going down the UESP page alphabetically. (hide spoiler)] Essay: On video game writing, worldbuilding, and principle (view spoiler)[I, erm, actually exceeded the Goodreads review length. Read this here. (hide spoiler)] P.S., if you’re a Skyrim fan and haven’t yet checked out Oblivion and Morrowind, I’ve written a guide to sell you on why you should (and tips on how to get settled in them after being used to Skyrim). Check it out.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lissette

    Absolutely gorgeous illustrations alongside stories that draw the reader into the deeply immersive land of Skyrim. This volume enriches the already impressive world building--which made it al the more jarring when a sentence cut off in the middle and jumped to the next paragraph. I wish someone had run this through the editing process one more time before publishing. Still, I loved reading the histories! It's so easy to skip them while playing the game (who has time to read when someone's flingi Absolutely gorgeous illustrations alongside stories that draw the reader into the deeply immersive land of Skyrim. This volume enriches the already impressive world building--which made it al the more jarring when a sentence cut off in the middle and jumped to the next paragraph. I wish someone had run this through the editing process one more time before publishing. Still, I loved reading the histories! It's so easy to skip them while playing the game (who has time to read when someone's flinging fireballs at you?). Recommended for fans of Skyrim!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (Samsara Parchment)

    This book is gorgeous & is really an amazing edition for collectors and huge fans of Skyrim! I'm a book nerd even in game and always want to stand around reading all the books & collect them all & carry them around with me even though they add unnecessary weight, so this is perfect for me!!! It isn't anything that isn't already presented in game (with the exception of beautiful and interesting illustrations), but it is all collected in one easy convenient place. Awesome collector's item & I will This book is gorgeous & is really an amazing edition for collectors and huge fans of Skyrim! I'm a book nerd even in game and always want to stand around reading all the books & collect them all & carry them around with me even though they add unnecessary weight, so this is perfect for me!!! It isn't anything that isn't already presented in game (with the exception of beautiful and interesting illustrations), but it is all collected in one easy convenient place. Awesome collector's item & I will definitely be getting the other volumes, as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Brantley

    Bookworm Speaks! The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Skyrim Library, Vol. I: The Histories By Bethesda Softworks and Aaron McConnell **** Acquired: Amazon.com Series: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Hardcover: 232 pages Publisher: Titan Books (June 23, 2015) Language: English Subject: Fantasy **** The Story: For the first time, the collected texts from the critically and commercially acclaimed fantasy video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are bound together in three exciting volumes. Lavishly illustrated and produc Bookworm Speaks! The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Skyrim Library, Vol. I: The Histories By Bethesda Softworks and Aaron McConnell **** Acquired: Amazon.com Series: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Hardcover: 232 pages Publisher: Titan Books (June 23, 2015) Language: English Subject: Fantasy **** The Story: For the first time, the collected texts from the critically and commercially acclaimed fantasy video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are bound together in three exciting volumes. Lavishly illustrated and produced, these titles are straight out of the world of Skyrim - and a must for any wandering adventurer. The Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most iconic video games ever. When it was released in the year 2011, it took the world by storm. One of the main points for all of this praise is the vast open world that the player can roam through. It is very easy to lose all semblance of running quests when there is a another tomb, cave, or mountaintop castle to explore. In addition to gold, weapons, and armor, there are also books that are scattered throughout the land of Skyrim. Adding to the delight was the fact that these books could be picked up and read, sometimes offering player boosts! Even without boosts though, the books were fascinating all on their own. Each one told a little story, ranging from history to fairy tales to even the Elder Scrolls version of pulp fiction tales! It really drives home just how deep and rich the world of the Elder Scrolls truly is. Reading this book adds a whole other level to the game and proves there is much more than swords, shouts, and dragons in Skyrim. It helps that the text takes us much, much father than the realm of Skyrim. Sadly, the text does not seem to contain every single book that is found in Skyrim. Perhaps there was simply too many to add all of them into a single book. Also, the series as a whole, only seems to contain, for lack of a better term, ‘official’ texts from the game. What made Skyrim so successful as a video game was the personal touches that the player could add to their character and the things they could discover on their own unique journey through the world. There are countless notes, diaries, and specialty items that can be discovered along the way. The fact that they these more personalized writings were largely excluded from this series, not just this volume, does seem like adding a touch of sterility. After all, in real life historical research, journals are just as valuable as textbooks, if not more so. This is a minor grievance, however, as the richness of the text quickly supersedes all others. The history of Skyrim and indeed that of the Elder Scrolls is vast and intimate. Stories of heroes and villains and monsters and adventures. For those players, who did not have the patience to read all of the books while they were playing the game, they are in for a treat as the world of the game opens up to them in ways never though possible. Of course, for players that did, in fact, read the books during their own adventure in Skyrim, they won’t find anything new. The artwork is new to most of us but not the text. It would be nice on Bethesda’s part, though, to release a Skyrim Ultimate Library, which contains every text in the game. Bookworm would by that in a heart beat. Those are minor problems though. Just the chance to truly hold something that up until that point only existed in the digital realm, makes this book all the more worthwile. The Verdict: This book helps Skyrim feel real. This is not a video game, where a screen is between the world and the player. It is something that can be held in your hands. It can be felt and touched and smelled and seen. The Rating: Five Stormcloak Insignia out of Five thecultureworm.blogspot.com

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thijs

    The books are all the same as the ones you can find in the game, and thay wouldn't be bad per se, but it still is a shame to see that for this price, nothing extra was written. This trend continues with the (admittedly lovely) pictures drawn up for the book. A lot of them nice, but some are also hardly legable sketches. All are clearly concept art, and there is no context put into most of them. The images also only bear indicidental relation to the stories they accompanies, likely only when they The books are all the same as the ones you can find in the game, and thay wouldn't be bad per se, but it still is a shame to see that for this price, nothing extra was written. This trend continues with the (admittedly lovely) pictures drawn up for the book. A lot of them nice, but some are also hardly legable sketches. All are clearly concept art, and there is no context put into most of them. The images also only bear indicidental relation to the stories they accompanies, likely only when they had the concept art lying around for it. In short, though the stories and drawings are nice, they are just scrounged up from what was already lying around, and hardly any effort seems to have been made to create something extra for these books. Only the presentation was made to look fancy. A little effort could have drastically improved these works. Example: besides Barenziah, they could have added 'The real Barenziah' and then putnin another thesis comparing these works to which would be more accurate. Simple as that.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Reilly

    The three volume Skyrim Library series of illustrated books are neatly designed additions to Bethesda’s highly popular open-world fantasy game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Featuring printed copies of the collected texts found within the game, these hardcover books allow fans to expand their understanding of the world, characters and lore of Tamriel with interesting background information, facts and modestly entertaining fiction. Although little of the content found in this first volume could be c The three volume Skyrim Library series of illustrated books are neatly designed additions to Bethesda’s highly popular open-world fantasy game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Featuring printed copies of the collected texts found within the game, these hardcover books allow fans to expand their understanding of the world, characters and lore of Tamriel with interesting background information, facts and modestly entertaining fiction. Although little of the content found in this first volume could be considered as essential reading, The Histories does include plenty of written material that highlights Bethesda’s impressive commitment to epic world-building. The included concept art and sketches are mostly of a decent quality, however, there are too many typos, missing lines and formatting issues, and the font used is not the easiest to read. The book clearly missed out on a proper edit and final check before being published, which is a disappointment. This series is for fans wishing to read the in-game ‘books’ in the real world – just note that all of the Skyrim texts can also be found online at the Imperial Library website.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Allen

    This wasn't that great. I was expecting more Skyrim lore/history from this book. The first 3/4 of the book was about a lot of different histories of Tamriel and places outside of Skyrim. I guess that's cool to learn about, but I bought the books because it advertised Skyrim on the cover, not Morrowind or Hammerfell or Cyrodiil. Frankly disappointing. However, the parts that were about Skyrim were great! I loved the journal entry about the explorer who was piecing together the dragon language. Ski This wasn't that great. I was expecting more Skyrim lore/history from this book. The first 3/4 of the book was about a lot of different histories of Tamriel and places outside of Skyrim. I guess that's cool to learn about, but I bought the books because it advertised Skyrim on the cover, not Morrowind or Hammerfell or Cyrodiil. Frankly disappointing. However, the parts that were about Skyrim were great! I loved the journal entry about the explorer who was piecing together the dragon language. Skip to the last 1/4 of the book and it's a great read! :) Oh, and don't forget to read the story of the Wolf Queen about 1/2-way through the book. She's the queen of Solitude, so it's relevant to Skyrim.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emma-Jane Cosgrove

    The Elder Scrolls video game franchise as a whole is one of my all-time favourite video game franchises so when I saw these books, I had to buy them. Although they are good books for a collection & have beautiful illustrations, I'm not sure they are worth the money I paid as all of the content in the book features in the video game. Bethesda does a great job of creating in game lore exc.. & it really shows for example stories in the in-game books you can read, this book is basically a compilatio The Elder Scrolls video game franchise as a whole is one of my all-time favourite video game franchises so when I saw these books, I had to buy them. Although they are good books for a collection & have beautiful illustrations, I'm not sure they are worth the money I paid as all of the content in the book features in the video game. Bethesda does a great job of creating in game lore exc.. & it really shows for example stories in the in-game books you can read, this book is basically a compilation of all of the in-game books. They are worth the money to complete a collection though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim Norberg

    I liked it, but when you think about it, all in this book can be found in the game. I have collected all of these and read about half of them in game, but I still like this book quite a lot. And the pictures were a nice addition, although I would have wanted them to be a little bit more related to what you're actually reading. I'm still going to give it 4 stars though, because I'm a sucker for the Elder Scrolls. I liked it, but when you think about it, all in this book can be found in the game. I have collected all of these and read about half of them in game, but I still like this book quite a lot. And the pictures were a nice addition, although I would have wanted them to be a little bit more related to what you're actually reading. I'm still going to give it 4 stars though, because I'm a sucker for the Elder Scrolls.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Yanik Franken

    A good collection of in-game books. Some are to obviously tied to game mechanics but most are wonderfully concise and even some pretty big lore stories. The design of the whole thing with beautiful illustrations and font typing and cover make this a treasure for any TES fan.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Al

    Honestly, not bad! I thought reading Skyrim lore for like 250 pages would get boring, and there definitely were some stories I didn’t love - but there’s something so satisfying about finally reading all those books my character hoarded in her inventory since 2013.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Facchin

    Some well written stories to keep your attention, but also some really boring "date and name" style chapters that are boring but informative. Some well written stories to keep your attention, but also some really boring "date and name" style chapters that are boring but informative.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan Saltos

    We returned it upon arrival after looking inside. It is an exact copy of the books and letters in Skyrim. We thought it was going to be so much more. Returned.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sergey Kuznetsov

    Good artworks. Translation has typos.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matheus Finatelli

    It's a fine collection of the tales inside the game and also has amazing artwork. Recommended for every TES fan It's a fine collection of the tales inside the game and also has amazing artwork. Recommended for every TES fan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily Hebert

    Good if you're interested in The Elder Scrolls/Skyrim lore, but I'm kinda bummed that some in-game texts (some of the best in-game texts, even) are missing from these volumes. Good if you're interested in The Elder Scrolls/Skyrim lore, but I'm kinda bummed that some in-game texts (some of the best in-game texts, even) are missing from these volumes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really like the The Elder Scrolls video games so I wish I could give this book a better rating. Unfortunately, there are some issues that prevent that. First I should say that the book itself looks pretty good. The binding seems of good quality and doesn't show fingerprints or smudges easily. The endpapers show a map of Skyrim, concept art is scattered throughout the book, and the pages are printed to mimic the pages in an old book with all the dirt and mottling you'd expect (they even printed I really like the The Elder Scrolls video games so I wish I could give this book a better rating. Unfortunately, there are some issues that prevent that. First I should say that the book itself looks pretty good. The binding seems of good quality and doesn't show fingerprints or smudges easily. The endpapers show a map of Skyrim, concept art is scattered throughout the book, and the pages are printed to mimic the pages in an old book with all the dirt and mottling you'd expect (they even printed the needle holes where the pages would have been sewn together). Some of the stories included in this book are among my favorites. The multi-book series A Dance in Fire and its sequel The Argonian Account are fun, amusing reads. The books Report of the Imperial Commission on the Disaster at Ionith, A Concise Account of the Great War Between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, The Red Year, and The History of Raven Rock are interesting historical accounts of events that are not featured (for the most part) in any of the Elder Scrolls games. So what's the problem? Well to start with, the typos. Now I should mention that there are fans that make unofficial patches for The Elder Scrolls games and it has been standard practice with them to not fix typos in the in-game books for the most part. After all, real books, both manuscript and printed, often have typos and what's a missing letter or two? Sure enough, the same typos that are present in-game are present here. However, they not only added more typos of their own, they actually somehow deleted entire sentences. I don't mean that they censored it, I mean that a sentence breaks off roughly a third of the way through and the following two sentences are missing entirely. Just an empty space. (For those who are curious, see page 179, The City of Stone: A Sellsword's Guide to Markarth starting on the second paragraph). I understand people are only human and we all make mistakes, but for a publisher to put so much work into the design, but not the content of a book and then charge 35 dollars for a single volume of a multi-volume series is amazing. Another problem is the concept art. This is perhaps more of a personal nitpick. Some people like concept art and some people don't. I tend to feel kinda "meh" about it. One of the problems is the wide range of styles which you think would help the illusion that these "books" are all published at different times and places. But some of the art styles just don't mesh well with the medieval theme of the game and some of the pieces are placed with books that have little to no relation to the artwork. Some of the books they chose to include in this volume seem...odd. This volume is titled "The Histories". A Dance in Fire and The Argonian Account come off as in-universe travel books of the type Jonathan Swift was making fun of when he wrote Gulliver's Travels. I'm pretty sure no in-game NPC would consider these books history. And good god what are the plays that must not be named doing in here? As for the actual "books" themselves, while I love collecting the books in every Elder Scrolls game and adding them to my in-game library, let's be honest - these books are not great literature. A lot of them are fun or interesting short reads but others are pretty bland books whose only purpose is to point out in-game locations, quests, or explain certain game mechanics. A small selection of the hundreds of books featured in the games over the years is just not worth 35 dollars. Not when you could buy the some of the actual games on sale for that price and especially not when someone forgot to proofread the book. And most definitely not when you can read all of the books, diaries, and letters ever featured in the entire Elder Scrolls series for free at the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages wiki. I bought all three volumes of The Skyrim Library because I love The Elder Scrolls and I love reading and I thought it would be neat to have a physical book. I really think it would have been better to have made more volumes in a pocket size that mimicked the cover style of the in-game books. They could've also grouped themed books together instead of mashing together a bunch of books whose only real connection was that they were in the same game. I give this 3 stars: one for the effort that clearly went into at least some of the design, one for being from a game series I love, and one because I hope they try this again, just with a little more thought.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Riley Beckner

    Skyrim is one of my favorite games that I have spent many hours playing. I remember I would always run around finding all of the books in this world and it was actually good reads and I'm surprised that Bethesda had so much time for that amount of detail if you play the game defiantly start collecting the books It brings whole new stories in one of the best stories of all time Skyrim is one of my favorite games that I have spent many hours playing. I remember I would always run around finding all of the books in this world and it was actually good reads and I'm surprised that Bethesda had so much time for that amount of detail if you play the game defiantly start collecting the books It brings whole new stories in one of the best stories of all time

  26. 5 out of 5

    Callum Shephard

    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 doc 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Hare

    As a franchise Elder Scrolls is not known for the story. The unfortunate truth is that when it comes to interactive media a good plot lends itself better to a linear experience. The main questline in Skyrim tends to feel a bit awkward. At the end of the day, everything in the game has to be able to bend to every nuance of possible disruption that can be caused by the player, important characters dying, wars being ended before they become relevant, ect. Because of this, the writing is limited. In As a franchise Elder Scrolls is not known for the story. The unfortunate truth is that when it comes to interactive media a good plot lends itself better to a linear experience. The main questline in Skyrim tends to feel a bit awkward. At the end of the day, everything in the game has to be able to bend to every nuance of possible disruption that can be caused by the player, important characters dying, wars being ended before they become relevant, ect. Because of this, the writing is limited. In this sense I believe Elder Scrolls is a victim of it's own genius, it should not be believed that there are no great stories to be told in this universe, and the in-game books have always proved otherwise. And here they are, printed and divided across a disappointingly high number of volumes. It's a bit cheeky, this is not a large book, there's no reason they couldn't have all been published together, but this is not the fault of the writers, so I'll let it pass. This is a lore that has been built upon for the past 22 years, but the actual content of the book was written about six or seven years ago, so the writers already had a lot of material to work with. It really shows. As a reader, you can feel that these stories are not just thrown together. Every story has it's own setting that is fully realised, and even little nuances that only the fanatics will recognise the significance of. I thoroughly enjoyed how the stories almost never linked up, because it felt like you were constantly hopping from one end of the continent to another, and only if you take a step back can you see connections, different sides of the same war, the grandchild of a previous protaganist, ect. I did find it a little jarring how different the stories were in length. Some of them were a page long, most of them were two or three pages long, and a few of them were about thirty pages long. It's a strange transition when reading to suddenly have to invest yourself for a much, much longer time in one setting. Reading this whilst I replayed the game was a great experience, but I think I'd enjoy it just as much if I hadn't played Skyrim for years. The lore stands on it's own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Cokes

    I am a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls series. Note: this book is undoubtedly for fans, and someone new to the universe and game may not appreciate it very much. I find it very difficult reading things on screen, especially in-game, so I was thrilled to find out that books from Skyrim were being published on paper. The book is beautifully produced with lots of awesome concept art. I did enjoy most of the readings, although I found some of the 'non-fiction' sections were often boring. But hey - they'r I am a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls series. Note: this book is undoubtedly for fans, and someone new to the universe and game may not appreciate it very much. I find it very difficult reading things on screen, especially in-game, so I was thrilled to find out that books from Skyrim were being published on paper. The book is beautifully produced with lots of awesome concept art. I did enjoy most of the readings, although I found some of the 'non-fiction' sections were often boring. But hey - they're meant to read like some old guy's history book, right? They're meant to be boring! I thought that for such a lavishly presented (and expensive) book more care could have been taken on editing some of the entries. There were often missing words, clunky sentences and other things that deserved an edit. I especially enjoyed the more narrative stories, although they were quite political. Some were not what I was expecting - A Dance in Fire was not a Nordic romp, alas - but they still managed to intrigue me enough, so much so that once I had gotten halfway through the book I couldn't put it down. Honestly, I've had several moments at work the past few days where I've gone, 'did I play Skyrim or did I just read about it?' It's reading stuff like this that really makes you appreciate all of the hard work that goes into making these games, these experiences. Someone had to pull from an established history all of this stuff. It's quite remarkable, really. My aim in life is to write a 'book' that appears in the next Elder Scrolls game. More care could have been taken, so 4 stars. This is definitely for the fans.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jack Wright

    One might say that buying a copy of writings and documents collected from a video game is silly. That I could go in-game and find these exact same books to read them, or by visiting The Imperial Library website where even more books have been collected and again, read them for free, why would I buy a physical copy of just a selected number of books? Well, because I never had the time to read those books in game and the fact that the hardbound copy of this book by Titan Books is quite a beautiful One might say that buying a copy of writings and documents collected from a video game is silly. That I could go in-game and find these exact same books to read them, or by visiting The Imperial Library website where even more books have been collected and again, read them for free, why would I buy a physical copy of just a selected number of books? Well, because I never had the time to read those books in game and the fact that the hardbound copy of this book by Titan Books is quite a beautiful thing when you take into account that these writings are from a video game. This volume in particular looks at the histories of Tamriel. There are a number of biographies looking at Uriel Septim VII, Mad Pelagius III, The Wolf Queen, and the Dunmer princess Barenziah, with a number of others. As far as histories of the various provinces, this collection is a a little bare, focusing mainly on Skyrim although there is a section on Morrowind and The Red Year. There is quite a lot of artwork scattered throughout the text and some does seem to have been placed at random (although I am sure that it wasn't), but the artistic style is pretty consistent throughout so I didn't feel that taken out of the text by the look of the art. It is a good collection presented in a beautiful hardbound volume.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    An excellent addition to any Elder Scrolls fan's library. Even though I've played the game for thousands of hours, I found new snippets of information that I hadn't yet discovered. I loved holding the physical edition of the in-game books and found it to be more fun to read than on a screen. The illustrations are largely compiled from concept work, both for Skyrim and Oblivion (and possibly Morrowind), nothing new, but they're still lovely to have. The binding of the book itself is beautiful, an An excellent addition to any Elder Scrolls fan's library. Even though I've played the game for thousands of hours, I found new snippets of information that I hadn't yet discovered. I loved holding the physical edition of the in-game books and found it to be more fun to read than on a screen. The illustrations are largely compiled from concept work, both for Skyrim and Oblivion (and possibly Morrowind), nothing new, but they're still lovely to have. The binding of the book itself is beautiful, and the faux-leather look give it an authentic TES-feel. Some people have complained that the font type is difficult to read, but I have not found that to be an issue personally (and it looks much nicer than if they had tried to use Times New Roman!). This is definitely a series that rewards its fans for paying attention to detail and learning the lore. I will be excitedly anticipating the second volume of this series, probably even more so than the first. I would love to see a lore book of some kind for the Fallout games - even though they don't have in-game "books", they are still very lore-rich.

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