The awakening of the heart. Kingdom Hearts, the saga of the seeker of darkness. book review

It may seem strange to think of this from a current perspective, but at the beginning of this century a video game was announced that added the universes of Disney and Final Fantasy It sounded implausible, bumpy, extravagant. Water and oil that who knows what cookers had thought to mix.

And that brings us to this year, no less than 20 since Kingdom Hearts will illuminate homes and hearts for the first time. With a fourth title announced (hopefully it won’t take half as long to arrive as the third) it was strange today that we didn’t have a book that told the story, the development and the adventures that feed the cult that finally has ended up being that crazy idea.

The awakening of the heart.  Kingdom Hearts, the saga of the seeker of darkness.  book review

awakening hearts

Alexander Linares signature for Paper Heroes The awakening of the heart, a necessary book to put in order the well-known hodgepodge of meanings and stories that have been accumulating for two decades. A titanic task, collecting all the information to translate it into something intelligible. Alejandro does it with ease in just over 250 pages in a hardcover book that exudes in its layout the usual pampering of the well-known Seville publisher (although with some paragraphs perhaps too close to the outer margins of the pages).

Subtitled Kingdom Hearts, the saga of the seeker of darkness, the book is divided into a prologue, an introduction, seven parts and an epilogue, in addition to the bibliographical references and some pages that collect, with images of covers and dates, the games of PAL territory. And the prologue is usually something significant in books like this. The right person is chosen, someone who knows the content well and is recognized for it in the community.

The awakening of the heart.  Kingdom Hearts, the saga of the seeker of darkness.  book analysis

Let’s go by parts

So Pablo Gonzalez Taboada (Caith Sith on the internet), a former collaborator of this house, a pioneer in Spain when it comes to video game books (if you can find it, don’t miss his stupendous Final Fantasy: The Legend of the Crystals), and author of a of the websites that helped establish the cult of Kingdom Hearts in the Spanish language, emotionally covers the first pages of The Awakening of the Heart.

After the introduction, already by Alejandro Linares, where the intentions of the book are explained to us, we get fully into the universe of the saga. The lore, the stories and legends that support the myth, and a first game that does not appear until page 36… You already know how dense the matter is. We have imagined Alejandro working up a sweat to organize something that has spread over multiple platforms (Playstation desktops, PSP, Nintendo DS and 3DS, mobile phones and Smartphones, PC…) over 20 years.

Part II tells us how that crazy idea grew out of elevator moments shared by executives and creatives from Disney and Square who worked in the same building in Tokyo. We also have the chronicle of Square’s boom years, the economic setback caused by the movie Final Fantasy: The Force Within, the merger with Enix, the identity crisis in the days of Final Fantasy XIII, the transformation of Versus XIII in Final Fantasy XV…

Versus XIII, the director of that game that did not see the light, Tetsuya Nomura, naturally has honorable treatment in the book. We are told about his pre-Square stage, his participation in the Final Fantasy of Supernes, his immortal design for the characters of Final Fantasy VII, and his personal project under the shine of the sword key, Kingdom Hearts, which grew so much as to catalyze in its essence a lifetime.

The following parts of the book delve into the analysis and complexity inherent in its size, in the concept of Action RPG, the characters (keyblade included), the mods that the community has developed, the secret endings, its excellent soundtrack… who get the special edition of the book, in addition to finding a nice packaging and other little gifts, they will have a poster at their disposal dropdown with a detailed list of the musical themes of the franchise and their thematic relationship between them, the work of Youtuber David Russel. This is a good icing on an already delicious cake.

The awakening of the heart.  Kingdom Hearts, the saga of the seeker of darkness.  book analysis


The awakening of the heart is a necessary book to put in order so much time of lore expanded in many games and platforms and collected in packs with impossible names. It’s a great gateway for new players and a must-have for the regular fan base. Its elegant edition and layout assures it a privileged place in our homes, one full of light where darkness stays away, and always at hand to consult its pages, brandishing it like a sword key.

Alejandro Linares confidently pours into his pages the complex task of putting an arduous documentation in order. This could only be put up by someone belonging to that first generation that was marked by Sora and company. As Taboada says in the prologue about what this book can mean for the Kingdom Heart community:

Sit back, enjoy and let yourself be carried away by memories and nostalgia. Let reason sleep, and wake up the heart.

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