The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Shigeru Miyamoto
Dark Horse Books and Nintendo team up to bring you The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, containing an unparalleled collection of historical information on The Legend of Zelda franchise. This handsome hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more! Starting with an insightful introduction by the legendary producer and video-game designer of Donkey Kong, Mario, and The Legend of Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, this book is crammed full of information about the storied history of Link's adventures from the creators themselves! As a bonus, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia includes an exclusive comic by the foremost creator of The Legend of Zelda manga - Akira Himekawa! (blurb from Goodreads)
Rating: PG, 3 stars
Trigger warnings: violence
Anyone who knows me knows that for as much as I love videogames, my love of Zelda trumps that by like 10 times. Or something like that. I love Zelda. About once a month I spend an afternoon or evening on Youtube searching for Zelda top tens and theories and stuff like that. This isn’t something scheduled...it just sort of happens...on a regular basis (I might be a little obsessed, ok?). So when I heard that Hyrule Historia was coming out, and that it had an official Zelda timeline, I knew I had to read it. I was even more excited when I found out that my local library had a copy (libraries are awesome, btw.)
I knew going into this book that the timeline alone was a good reason to get the book. I was absolutely not disappointed with that section of the book. I loved seeing how all the games fit together. As you might expect, that section does contain a lot of spoilers for all the games in the franchise, so skip it if you don’t want to be spoiled. It does only cover main events, though, so if you have yet to play a certain game, the timeline won’t reveal all the details. The timeline itself is incredibly detailed, with names of eras, which games take place in those eras, and little facts in the margins. Some details I really appreciated were about the Hylian text that shows up in several of the games.
The entire first section of the book dedicated to Skyward Sword. Which is...ok, I guess. I haven’t played Skyward Sword yet, and I understand that they put in so much information about it because it’s the newest games, but that’s the sort of information that I wanted on all the games. To me, Hyrule Historia is a lot like Harry Potter: Page to Screen, and so it would be like if that book had had an entire third of the book on just the 7th and 8th movies. Great information...but at a cost. Still, it was all really interesting and made me even more eager to get my hands on a copy of Skyward Sword.
The final section of the book is full of concept art. Again, I love it. I love the glimpse into the process. I love seeing the various Links and Zeldas in one place, to see how they changed over time. But, again, I wanted more equal coverage. I understand that for the earliest games there is probably less concept art because of the technological limitations, but there was a good ten pages of Twilight Princess art and half that for Ocarina of Time.
Overall, I loved the information presented in Hyrule Historia, and I loved the art and all of the little trivia tidbits. I wish there had been less of a focus on the most recent games in favor of something a little more equal. Ocarina of Time is my favorite Zelda game, and while the timeline covered it quite well, I really wanted more concept art and other information. I am interested in seeing if there is a new edition released after A Link Between Worlds comes out later this year.
This book is a must-read for any fans of Zelda, as well as for family and close friends who want to be able to talk Zelda with a gamer (hint hint, family)...Despite some disappointments, it really is worth the read.