In 2002 our friends over at Square Enix and Disney Interactive came together and decided to blend together the wonder of Final Fantasy RPG gaming and the magic of Disney kingdoms. The miraculous mash up became known as Kingdom Hearts, one of the best selling, fan favorite games of all time, and has held its place in the hearts of millions and millions more to this day. Though in recent years Square Enix, with the help of our friends over at Sony have been doing their best to provide a refresher on the wonders and frustratingly complicated story that is Kingdom Hearts, not many always have the time to play through the entire depth of the video game. Enter Kingdom Hearts the Novel series.
Kingdom Hearts II the Novel follows the story of the main series sequel Kingdom Hearts II which was released in 2005. This release by Yen Press collects the first two volumes of the series Roxas – Seven Days and The Destruction of Hallow Bastion and rolls them into a single convenient omnibus. The volume opens, just like the game, to Roxas having strange dreams about a mysterious boy named Sora. As Roxas and his friends investigate the strange happenings in Twilight Town, things begin to spin out of control as strange creatures appear and Roxas must suddenly wield a Keyblade to fight his way to the truth.
The book is a perfect retelling of the Kingdom Hearts II story, excellently penned by Tomoco Kanemaki. Opening with Roxas in Twilight town and spanning his journey to find Sora. With the addition of the Destruction of Hallow Bastion arc, the volume continues on to Sora, Goofy and Donald’s reawakening and the recommencement of their own journey to protect the various Disney worlds from the Heartless and Nobodies lead by Organization XIII and a newly revived Maleficent. The novel follows the Kingdom Hearts story with great accuracy, even switching perspective to feature other key characters such as Axel, Kairi, Riku and even King Mickey.
Reading the novel gives a unique perspective as it allows readers a clearer understanding of the events unfolding before them. The written word allows for the character’s thought process and motivations to be made clearer, giving readers a little extra appreciation for these characters whom they would have already come to know well if they’ve played the game. The novel also features key artwork at certain points in the story, done by Shiro Amano, to help illustrate key moments and scenes, some to demonstrate the great significance while others simply to enhance the drama or impact of the moment.
Chances are if you’re even thinking about Kingdom Hearts II the Novel, you’ve already read Kingdom Hearts I or have some kind of familiarity with the franchise. In this case, the novel will be a novelty, stirring up nostalgia and reminding you why you love the franchise so much. For those of you who don’t know too much about the series and haven’t gotten a chance to play the games but for whatever reason still have a keen interest, this book is definitely for you. Not everyone has the time to commit themselves to hours of gameplay, and that is more than okay, so why not take the chance and use the books as your way of not missing out?
Volume 2 which is expected to wrap up the Kingdom Hearts II story line is scheduled to drop in December 2017. With the recent announcement by Square Enix of Kingdom Hearts 3’s official release date, its about time for a bit of a refresher on our Kingdom Hearts lore don’t you think?
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