Halo: The Fall of Reach



This is the official prequel to the game Halo: Combat Evolved. If you ever wondered what the back story of Halo was, then this is the book for you. The Fall of Reach adds an amazing level of depth to the game when you know the whole back story. You learn all about the Spartan program that created the Master Chief and all of his buddies, which was the biggest reason why I read this novel. The Fall of Reach plods along in the beginning and much of the novel is rather predictable, but once the book gets into gear itís like a roller coaster. The author does a great job of adding a certain amount of empathy for the Marines and Navy personnel who die in the course of the game Halo. Many films and books have covered the alien invasion theme, but this book does a better job than most of the other ones out there. The humans are in some dire straights and you really see why the Covenant are kicking humanity's collective ass. I wouldnít pass this book up if youíre a Halo fan or even want a good sci-fi book.

 Score: 9.0


Halo: The Flood



The second Halo novel covers the events of the game itself. I've beaten the game twice so the plot of the novel is extremely repetitive since most of it happens exactly as it does in the game. To alleviate this problem, the scenes from the game are inter-cut with the stories of other characters you either donít get to see in the game, like the Marine Hell Jumpers, or the side stories of characters that appear in the game such as Captain Keyes.

The Flood also departs from The Fall of Reach by featuring the Covenant point of view. I was a little weary about this at first since the enemy was a frightening entity in the first novel as the reader didnít know anything about them. In The Flood though, the reader is brought right into the Covenant fold to see and hear everything. I still am not sure what to totally think about this, but overall it worked some of the scenes are great, especially the mini-story of the grunt name Yapap (yes, the name is pretty retarded).

Overall, it's a good book and I like a lot of the stuff that's been added to deepen the story. There's quite a bit of new stuff, but there's about 50% of it that's a retread of the events in the game. It even seemed like the author was growing bored of his own work near the end. Despite these problems, it's a good read overall and adds a lot to the story of Halo.

 Score: 8.0


Halo: First Strike



Halo: First Strike follows the efforts of Master Chief to avoid the Covenant that appear after the destruction of the ring world Halo. The story is interspaced with what happened to the other Spartanís during The Fall of Reach. This story is perhaps one of the best reasons to read this book, since youíre left in the lurch after The Fall of Reach in regard to the rest of the Spartan team.  

The Master Chief's story involves his quest to not only survive and complete his mission, but it's complicated by a group of humans he finds early on. The group must face obstacle after obstacle in an attempt to survive up to the exciting ending. Not everything is all wrapped up, of course. There are a few loose ends that Iím assuming will either be covered in the next game or in a future novel installment.

*****Spoiler Alert!!****** Highlight to read.

The best part of this installment is the fact that you learn that other Spartans survive. My biggest complaint with this novel is that we follow the story of the Spartan named Fred (whatís with the boring Spartan names anyway?) and how he and some others survive on Reach. The biggest failing with Halo: First Strike is that by the time Master Chief meets up with Fred, his character and that of the other Spartans has already been built up to the point that they have lives of their own. Once the story becomes the Master Chiefís again what had been building completely dissolves. The other Spartans essentially fall back into the role of faceless props. This was a big let down for me, because I had grown to like Fred.

******End Spoiler Alert*******

Aside from my spoiler filled problem, this book is simply great. Thereís a ton of action and it makes for a quick and exciting read. This is the book to pick up if you just canít wait for Halo 2 to come out, and Iím sure it will fill in some gaps that wonít be explained in the game.

 Score: 8.0