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The Infernal City

Novel of The Elder Scrolls

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Interesting, if not a tough, read

  • Jun 7, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+3
Suffice to say that gaming novels seem to be the big thing these days as people are looking to get more and more out of the games that they love.  Does The Infernal City do what it needs to do in order to generate interest or is it just a waste of time and space?

Setting reference
Suffice to say that having an idea about the setting itself is something that is going to be required to really understand this novel.  I didn't have a great idea about TES in the past other than they were games that sort of annoyed me as first person styled games.  However, I know that they are rich in story so I decided to give it a go.  If ever you feel lost, you can always look up the background story and where this book would refer to the games in the past.

Writing
I have to admit that once I let go of the need to understand WHO the characters were and WHY they did what they did, it really did turn into a page turner.  The concept is interesting enough with a floating city and after a long set up (nearly half the book) trying to get the great atmosphere going, it seemed far too short.  Clocking in at 288 pages, it is much smaller than some of the other novels out there and really should have been the two books in the series combined together instead of stretching it out a bit.

All in all, the story is at a loss and ends far too quickly for its own good.  It is so abrupt that I had to try and read it again thinking that I was missing something or that some of the pages stuck together for some reason.  However, to my dismay, it just sort of ends.  I know that it is supposed to be some sort of cliffhanger to allow the reader to be more interested as time goes on but nothing is more annoying after having to spend $14 cover price to find out that you don't really get a full story out of the novel.

Characters
The characters themselves are interesting enough and have some of the standard archetypes for the genre involved.  Treb is the prince who thought he was a hero but instead finds out his life is a lie.  Annaïg is the standard girl without a care trying to do whatever she needs to do to get the job done.  Glim is the standard lizardman that you might find wherever lizardmen are.  Even Sul seems a standard when he makes his appearance.  While this might be a testament to how expansive the series is that the main characters in a moment aren't that grand, they certainly aren't that memorable either.  You certainly won't walk around and think about those characters or the moments that affect their lives save for the very last chapter which sort of seemed tacked on.

Setting Interest Generation (SIG)
We all know that in the end, these novels are supposed to either generate interest for the setting that they are written for or they are supposed to set the plate for another setting coming soon.  While we all know that this book introduces the next TES game to the series, I will have to admit that I was interested enough to try and go back to play the older TES games in the series.  Granted, I might not have as long of an interest or as deep of an interest as the other games out there, but it did do enough of a job to get me going.

Overall
Is it the best novel I have read?  Not really.  Is it the best novel based off of a video game?  Not even close.  While this book did do its job, it did it sort of feebly and is so wide open in the end that it seems almost a crime to leave it where it stood.  I finished up the second half of this book in an hour and a half after struggling with caring for the first half, which means that this was a struggle to write as it was to read.  I will have to wait until the second half of this book comes out to reserve my overall judgment of this before casting too many stones but it is a good idea to wait a little unless you absolutely cannot do without new TES stories.

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February 10, 2011
Sounds like a quick read I wouldn't mind exploring even if it's not the greatest. Excellent review!
 
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About the reviewer
Leif Vignirsson ()
Ranked #390
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Novel, Elder Scrolls, Oblivion, Morrowind

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