Book Review: Legend of Zelda Hyrule Historia

Skipping merrily to my mail box (as I am wont to do from time to time) I was surprised to find a mysterious package. Intrigued I took the package inside, carefully sliced open the tape (in case of bomb) and peered into the box like I was expecting Anthrax to explode all over my face.

Instead imagine my pleasant surprise at seeing this instead of Anthrax:

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Indeed, that is the current New York Times Bestseller (no kidding) Legend of Zelda Hyrule Historia. I’d preordered and paid for it early last year and had forgot about it in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Either way it was a happy surprise and I decided to share with you guys what’s so special about it.

First of all the price is just fantastic right now. Amazon currently is selling the very well made hardbound book for only 20 bucks. Even with shipping you are looking at getting this for only 24 dollars or so depending upon your location, which is an utter steal if you ask me. Amazon’s price states it was slashed from $34.99 so no telling how long the sale would last.

The first thing that will hit you upon opening the box is just how pretty the cover looks. In this case judging a book by its cover is doing it no disservice as the gold embossed letters and symbols atop the deep Link green makes a book that just begs to be set out on your coffee table for all to see. Or your toilet stand, if that’s where you want to put it…..heathen.

The book is a “Wonder Twins Powers Activate” sort of a team up between Dark Horse and Nintendo. It’s the same book fans are sure to have heard of with the long awaited timeline of Zelda games and it’s meticulously and skillfully translated down to the smallest note on a scribbled drawing. Pages are a heavy and glossy material with a bigger layout similar to what you would see in an Atlas book.  Filling those pages is tidbits about all the different Zelda games, a myriad of sketches and artwork (including rare glimpses at originally Miyamoto drawn graph paper dungeons), the aforementioned timeline and a pretty cool manga that is a prequel to Skyward Sword.

The manga is a little darker than Zelda's normal tone. Just look at Link rocking that six pack, torture or no!

The manga is a little darker than Zelda’s normal tone. Just look at Link rocking that six pack, torture or no!

All told Skyward Sword takes up a good chunk of the book and is easily the most represented series here. Surely the other series get talked about and you see plenty of material from them, but probably a good third of the book is all about the latest Zelda. Since this was the 25th anniversary book and Skyward Sword was just being released its completely understandable they wanted to focus on their new star, however it does leave you wanting to see more of the other games represented.

Of course you have the vaunted timeline that has been argued about in parent’s basements everywhere, which actually has three different splits in its timeline during Ocarina of Time. Two of those were often theorized by fans, the young Link timeline and the older Link timeline, but there is a third where our hero actually loses to Ganon. What’s here is pretty well and logically put together and it’s obvious that Nintendo put quite a bit of thought into this. Sure, the most hardcore fans will find inconsistencies, but to most of us it’s a great roadmap and interesting information to say the least.

The artwork included here ranges from standard character mock ups to absolutely stunning concept art. It’s a shame that some of the pictures are so small though as I would have loved whole page spreads on some of the material, but it works well enough within the context. At times you’ll find yourself straining a bit to read the tinier notes from developers about different things yet in the end the book utterly delivers on giving you a sneak peek behind the curtain.

This book is very well put together and a great value for even the most casual Zelda fans. If you are a hardcore fan of Link and company then you need to absolutely order this book now as there is a lot of worth here and it’s easily an excellent collectible at a great price.

Score: 5 out of 5

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