Sunday, November 26, 2006

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx Review

A few weeks ago, the most recent Halo novel, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, hit retail shelves, and it quickly rose to the New York Times Best Seller list (like that list really means anything though) to compete with "real books."

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx is once again penned by Eric Nylund, the genius behind the first and third Halo novels (prequels to Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 respectively).

The novel's time line jumps a bit, but it all makes sense as to why. It starts out during the events of Halo: The Fall of Reach, and ultimately takes place after Halo 2, covering a lot of ground with human politics, the Forerunner's plans against the Flood (which are larger than just the Halo constructs), and details about the ongoing Human-Covenant War.

Without giving too much away, this is the first Halo novel that does not prominently feature the Master Chief or Cortana, however you will learn what happened to the rest of Blue Team and what the Master Chief may have been involved in had he not been on Cairo Station when the Covenant expeditionary fleet arrived at Earth. Great detail is shown about the lengths the higher human military is going through to try and keep a balance in the war against the Covenant, let alone to try and win it, and there were indeed many more Spartans after the Spartan-II project finished, though not the same kind of Spartans that we've come to expect.

The novel also goes into a bit more detail on the Covenant Civil War, most notably from the Elite's perspective, and what this may mean for the Halo universe in the future. And it's also official, Brutes are on Earth with the rest of the Covenant invading forces.

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx once again portrays military science fiction at it's best with a splendid mix of both action and character. Many of the novel-only plot elements from the previous Halo novels, most notably Forerunner, are expanded further or even explained, which is quite nice as we fans don't have to wait exclusively for Halo 3 to snag some more details on this great action universe.

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx is a grand continuation of Nylund's previous work, and if you enjoyed it then you will enjoy Ghosts of Onyx, plain and simple. If you haven't read the previous Halo novels and enjoy military science fiction, than you owe it to yourself to pick the series up. All the books are a gripping read, and they further expanding a richly detailed virtual universe that has sent shock waves the world over.

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