Book Review: ‘The Legend Of Zelda: Hyrule Historia’- A Book of Courage, Wisdom & Power

Posted Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 10:55 am GMT -4 by

“It’s dangerous to go alone, take this.” Words first muttered by an 8-bit old man over twenty-five years ago in 1986, but words that still echo in the minds of gamers everywhere as they remember when they played The Legend of Zelda for the very first time.

Having over fifteen games in the series to date, The Legend of Zelda is easily one of the most celebrated video game franchises of all time. Over the last quarter century, The Legend of Zelda has inspired a popular series of Manga, a short lived animated-series, breakfast cereal and even a few toy lines! If there is something that The Legend of Zelda is known for, aside from top-notch gameplay, it’s rich storytelling and depth of the history each game in the series contains. While each takes place independently from one another (aside from a few direct sequels like Majora’s Mask or The Phantom Hourglass), the games all take place in the same universe, just at different points in an ongoing timeline. For years there have been seemingly never ending debates amongst fans as to which game took place when along this timeline. Even if you’ve played each and every one of them, it’s damn near impossible to piece it all together yourself. That’s where our friends at Dark Horse Comics come in, with the all new The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia!

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia is the definitive source book for anything and everything regarding The Legend of Zelda. This beautiful hardback book features the very first DEFINITIVE chronology of Hyrule, the fantasy world in which the game series is set. That’s right fan boys, you can check your timeline theories at the door, because this time everything is legit. On top of having the first official chronology for the series from Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia also features a never ending cornucopia of phenomenal production artwork and interviews with the game series creators across the span of the last few decades.

Something that really does shine in this book is the beautiful collection of production art. Each game in the series has it’s own section that showcases the look of the game, but when viewed one after another they show just how far The Legend of Zelda series has come since its conception, and how it has evolved from a rather simple game into a deep chronological adventure spanning thousands of years! Even just looking at the character design from the original 1986 release to 2011’s Skyward Sword, the visual evolution of the franchise is astounding. Another fun feature is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword manga which appears at the end of the book.

This book has so much going right for it, it’s hard to find anything negative to say. The only notable downside is that it has a rather large section heavily featuring the newest game in the franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. As beautiful as this game and its artwork are, it almost seems to cast a rather large shadow over the rest of the series’ history featured in this book. In some ways, this makes sense as Skyward Sword is set to be the definitive “starting point” for the series, having taken place chronologically before every other game that has been released to date. But when you realize that something like the first sixty-five pages of a two-hundred-and-seventy-seven page book are all focusing on one game, it seems like a bit much. There are currently sixteen games in this series, and most of them only get maybe a fifth of that page count to tell their story and showcase some production art. This one minor flaw is easy to look past so that one can enjoy everything else this book still has to offer, and WOW is it a lot!

You could re-read The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia ten times and still learn something new with each subsequent viewing. There is so much history and information to be absorbed from this book that it’s downright impressive! Even the most seasoned of Zelda fans are sure to learn a thing or two! Dark Horse Comics and Nintendo have really outdone themselves with this one. There’s a reason that it managed to dethrone Fifty Shades of Gray on Amazon.com’s #1 Bestseller list for a week straight!

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia is a must have for any one who is even casually a fan of The Legend of Zelda franchise. It features a definitive history of The Legend of Zelda series both in the game and in reality. A book like this is a rare and special thing, so please heed the words of a wise old man: if you like The Legend of Zelda, you’ll want to shell out a few Rupees on this book. “It‘s dangerous to go alone”- Take The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia home today!

  • Robb

    Great job, Jordan! This is BY FAR the best review I have read of this book.