Halo Books

september 6, 2004

I finally finsihed reading the last of the Halo books. The first, "The Fall of Reach" by Eric Nylund and the last, "First Strike" also by Nylund are very entertaining reads. The first follows the Master Chief (John is his name) from when he was taken from his planet as a child, all the way to where the Halo game begins. We learn about how John becomes the Master Chief and we also learn about the other SPARTANs that were out there in the world. Nylund also creates some very memorable characters with Doctor Hasley and the rest of the SPARTAN crew. He fleshes out Captain Keyes from the game and gives him a nice history and good ties into why he is the captain of the Pillar of Autumn. It was quite interesting to read about the SPARTAN II program also. Cortana becomes a bigger character than she is in the game. She gets more personality in this book and it was very entertaining. The third book in the series picks up exactly where the game ends and follows the Chief and some SPARTANs as they try to stop the Covenant from reaching Earth. Master Chief, Hasley, Cortana and a few surprises from the original book return for this very entertaining read. I was glad to see all of them back. I assume that the third book also takes us to where the upcoming Halo 2 game will start. I have my fingers crossed on that. The second book titled "The Flood" was written by William C. Dietz was not as entertaining to read as the ones by Nylund. There are two reasons for this. First, it is based on the game so if you played the game through (like I did) then the parts with the Master Chief are really boring -- amounting to the Master Chief running here, shooting that, running there, shooting that, running over there, and shooting that. There are some portions of the book that deal with events outside of what happened in the game -- such as with the other Marines, Captain Keyes, and even an entertaining Covenant Grunt -- but these too are also pretty dry. The real reason that "The Flood" did not entertain me that much is that Dietz's dry and boring writing style compounded the go-here-shoot-that storyline. He does not have flair and imagination like Nylund and when I was reading through "The Flood", it almost felt like a chore so that I could get to "First Strike". "The Flood" did give some good insight to what happened in the game, but it was a chore to finish. All in all, the books are a good companion to the game. Now I am looking forward to Halo 2 the game for my Xbox.