The Legend of Zelda series is a time-tested fan-favorite that culls plenty of different emotions from gamers – adoration, awe, and pangs of nostalgic romanticism. As one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, it makes sense that it should have garnered its rabid cult following. Finally, fans looking for a bigger portal into the Zelda universe have a way to read up on and research their favorite characters and games: Hyrule Historia.
Originally a Japanese-only release meant to serve as an official encyclopedia covering the series as a whole, the book has now been released for an English audience via Dark Horse. Spanning 247 pages of previously unreleased concept art, creators’ notes, and official timelines, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia is a gorgeous compendium of Zelda-related artwork and goodness.
Released in Japan for the 25th anniversary of Zelda, Hyrule Historia collects a massive amount of full color illustrations and details that further enhance the games’ chronology, and how the events of each game interact with each other. It’s as if you collected the exhaustive information available on Zelda-centric wikis and compiled them into a gorgeous, leatherbound tome worthy of any distinguished reader’s shelf.
While the book generally does a fantastic job of gathering important Zelda-related information and beautiful, vivid illustrations, Hyrule Historia does tend to favor newer games in the mythos like 2011 Wii release adventure Skyward Sword, so if you’re wanting to adhere mainly to the franchise’s classic gaming narrative and their characters and locales, you’ll find the book skewing toward modern conventions. This isn’t a glaring issue, but one that potential readers should take note of.
Dark Horse did an exceptional job bringing the beloved (and very much hyped) The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia to a Western audience hungrily clamoring for it for quite some time now, saving them the trouble of importing an expensive copy from Japan. With 247 beautifully packed pages of trivia from one of gaming’s most beloved franchises, this authoritative is practically everything a true fan of Nintendo’s eternal saga could ever hope for – even if it does spend a bit too much time in the modern era (I’m looking at you, Skyward Sword). Still, the gorgeous illustrations and exclusive manga by acclaimed artist Akira Himekawa are worth the price of admission alone. It’s certainly a worthy piece of gaming memorabilia you’d do well to add to your collection or any empty coffee table in your humble abode.
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Patrick Thorpe, Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, Akira Himekawa
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