The Art of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate starts with a typo on the first paragraph of the first chapter. That is not a good way to set the pace. While the writing is never anything special, the art is the reason to be here and it is gorgeous.
The book is large, hardbound, has a nice jacket with the two main game protagonists, and very nice glossy paper for pages. The look is really fantastic and would make a great display piece. Under the jacket is an industrialized Assassin’s Creed logo that really looks rad, and would make for great merchandise (and probably has.) It contains 192 pages of art and text.
The book features some really great painted artwork inspired by and used as concepts work for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. I wouldn’t mind hanging some of these pieces framed on my wall. There is an overall dark and sooty feel to everything, which is appropriate due to the game being set in London in the late 1800s. There is a bit of fun to be had playing a very simple game of “Where’s Waldo” in the book. Many of the paintings have an assassin hiding somewhere and your eyes aren’t drawn to them as they stalk in the shadows. While there is a lot of focus on city streets and factories, my favorite chapter is about the machines of the period. There are some really great pictures of trains and boats that should be a joy for anyone who likes checking out antique conveyances. My only complaint about the art isn’t the book’s fault as much as it is the source material. Sometimes looking at page after page of brown, grey, black, dark blue, and dark red art can be kind of a drag. Even if it is nice to look at, it can become a bit imposing, and create a dire mood.
The strokes of the pen are not as inspired as the strokes of the brush. Aside from the already mentioned typo that happens very early on, the entire affair feels stiff. It just isn’t fun for me to read. The quotes from the artists are fairly engaging, but the more technical writing and the reference to historic places and events just bogs me down and I usually enjoy that type of information. It took me weeks to read a book that has enough text to be read in a day. The tome just could not engage me.
Short Attention Span Summary
The Art of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate features a lot of gorgeous painted artwork and will be a delight for lovers of the video game series, painted art, and late 1800s industrial England. Sadly, the writing isn’t nearly as attention getting as the pictures.