Back in June, Dungeons & Dragons announced a number of new additions coming in 2020, which included a few new contemporary books. One of those was simply called The Book Of Holding, set to be published through the Clarkson Potter side of Penguin Random House. The book is designed to be a professional journal for gamers who need a writing source for their campaigns, as they are often set with situations where people need to take copious amounts of notes everywhere they go. So how does this version of a journal hold up to just regular 'ol notebooks? We were sent one for review to check it out.
So first off, let's talk design. This is more than likely going to be one of the best looking journals on your shelf. This is a hardbound cover with a red and white design by Hydro74 that looks like a cool offshoot of the standard Dungeons & Dragons logo with a trip of skulls and some roses. The red along the binding and the cover are foil, so you get an extra bit of shine across it. The panel with the seven dice is a magnetized flap panel to keep the book closed and not have it just opened up after being jostled around.
Inside The Book Of Holding are five pieces of original artwork, again from Hydro74, as they are works that he has done for the company over the years to give some of their special editions a bit of a kick. We won't reveal them all, just show you the one above to give you an idea of some of the artwork inside the book. The inner-lining of the book is a silver design where they show the "&" logo along with D20's in a sharp piece of work that could be made into wallpaper. The pages within are all graph paper. This is done in a multipurpose kind of way as it gives you a chance to take notes in a small systematic way, create art on a grid system as some places teach, map out dungeons if you wish on a grid system, do math (which is a part of the game) and other functions. The back of the book comes with a back pocket for you to store miscellaneous papers so you don't lose track of important items in the game.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the design they went for here. Every Dungeons & Dragons player works differently, but ultimately, everyone at some point in time (even those of us who hate taking notes) end up needing to take notes because there's just too much stuff going on in a game sometimes. You have to keep track of things. Offering an official journal is a bright idea as its something almost essential players will want. There are only two real downsides to it. First, this book is so pretty, it's difficult for a hardcore fan to want to write in it. Second, the book is $20. If you're a player on a budget, that's a hefty price when you can get a regular notebook from a grocery store for cheap. We absolutely love The Book Of Holding, but it's for the hardcore fans with a bit of cash to spend. That said, if you do choose to buy it, we believe you'll love it.