Originally published at: http://gamertime.co.uk/tales-of-tamriel-book-1-the-land-review/
I have been obsessed with the Elder Scrolls series for years. Through my late teens Skyrim was one of the best games I ever played – immersing myself into this whole new world where I could forget my responsibilities and fight dragons instead.
In my opinion, fantasy RPGs can be received one of two ways, either people hate them and go back to aimlessly shooting people on Call of Duty, or they get addicted and sell their soul to them. I, of course, was the latter.
A massive part of Skyrim (and all the other Elder Scrolls games) is the lore and history behind the story. With the release if the Elder Scrolls MMO The Elder Scrolls Online, it felt appropriate for Bethesda and Zenimax to follow it up with a series of books explaining the lore of this magical world and thus Tales Of Tamriel was born.
With a little help from Titan Books, Zenimax and Bethesda have managed to replicate all of the lorebooks from the game and bind them into two beautifully illustrated real life versions for fans to own.
As an added bonus, most of the concept art in the books is not in the game, adding a whole new dimension to the physical copies for fans to enjoy.
The book itself looks fantastic. Adorned simply with the title and Elder Scrolls Online logo against a faded burgundy background, the front cover is simple, yet ties in perfectly with the Elder Scrolls aesthetic.
Everything inside the book complies with the Medieval-esque theme too, the pages are distressed and everything is written in a calligraphy font. It’s a 10/10 on appearance, but is the content any good?
The short answer is yes, however there is a catch.
Though it may look beautiful, and I have lost myself within it’s tea-stained pages I have to look at it objectively and I can see there is a glaringly obvious fault in this book: it is all online.
For many fans, it is an obligation to read all the lore discovered within the game, meaning there is nothing new here for hardcore fans. It is also very narrowly wide at a specific audience – the audience of fans who already know the lore. It’s a circular problem.
I, myself, am happy to read it again and again, learning more and more each time while having it all in the right order and compiled into two neat compendiums. However, I realise for a lot of fans it won’t be the most exciting or intriguing product because of the lack of anything new.
But for me it shouldn’t matter. I have looked up a lot of Tamriel’s lore in the past but nothing comes close to this. It has everything and with the added concept art it’s the ideal collectors item.
It opens a door to learn more than just how Tamriel came to be, it offers stories on the origins of the Vampires and Werewolves, the Royal family and it’s deterioration, the history of the dragons and the Dragonborn, and city guides for readers to enjoy imagining where they’d most like to live were Tamriel real. Plus it spans across all the Elder Scrolls games and covers all the races – from Argonians to Elves, it’s all there, so no matter which game is your favourite or which race you most like playing as,Tales of Tamriel can give you a unique insight into their world.
Personally, I adore the book. It is a great addition to the Elder Scrolls universe and it would make a perfect gift for someone who likes the games and besides, it looks great on display.
To summarise, the book is beautiful, it is well written and it allows fans of the series to delve deeper into this exciting world. It may not be for everyone, though, because the content is available in game but I don’t think you should let that stop you. It is really so well done it’s worth having even if you know all the lore and with the stunning illustrations you can’t go wrong really.
I highly recommend it to any Elder Scrolls fan, or anyone who fancies getting involved with the series in the future, as it gives a lot of good background knowledge and I believe it could inspire many people to start playing the games.