The Infernal City & Lord of Souls
These two books, written by Greg Keyes, follow on 40 years post-Oblivion-crisis. I’m finding it hard to decide whether to write this as two parts or one. My instinct says two, but you really could (and I am half considering doing this) staple the back cover of The Infernal City to the front cover of Lord of Souls and not a lot would change. Which is my way of saying that, while they are two books, it is very much one story, one set of characters, and one overall story arc. So as compromise, I’ll do them separately, but in this one page, so here goes.
1. The Infernal City
The first part starts, puzzlingly, with an account of a few sailors spotting a big, flying city, before switching to a man called Sul, who appears for all of about 2.5 pages before moving on. I know this was the point, to move between characters (as the blurb alludes to), but I quickly found myself not working out who was who, nor which character had which name, nor what they were doing, nor where. The plot evolves into revolving around three central characters, Annaïg (a 17 year old Breton girl living in the Black Marsh town of Lilmoth), Prince Attrebus Mede (son of the Emperor Titus Mede, who eventually assumed control of the Empire after the events of Oblivion) and Colin (man with unimaginative name, spy). The stories of these three characters play off each other, before eventually more or less joining up later on, as they strive to somehow stop the floating city of Umbriel.
I think the best way of summing up the general idea of these books, without giving away plot points, is that if you approach it with an Elder Scrolls mindset, you’ll think they’re not too bad. If you’re looking for well written books, prepare to be disappointed. Thankfully I approached them from the former viewpoint, and enjoyed many of the references and ideas related to Oblivion. And in its favour, the book does a good job of being descriptive and creating nice, interesting environments. However, the manner in which the plot and characters are written leaves a lot to be desired.
2. Lord of Souls
Much the same as above (see section 1.), but located in the more familiar territory of Cyrodiil, which is nice. There’s the usual plot developments and twists, and it wraps the story up in a nice (albeit predictable) way. All in all, fair.
If anyone’s read these books, what did you think of them? Better than fair, worse?