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Halo: First Strike (Eric Nylund)

After a somewhat disappointing first book and a very disappointing second book, I didn't have high hopes for the third book in the Halo trilogy. But Eric Nylund must have gotten amped up on some really good coffee because Halo: First Strike not only delivers -- it's spectacular.

Starting from where The Flood (and the first computer game) leaves off, First Strike takes you to where the game Halo 2 begins. The story is truly engaging, with an equally interesting cast. I won't spoil it, though. Instead I'll focus on the telling of the story.

Eric Nylund clearly learned a lesson from the abysmal action scenes in The Flood: rather than follow William Dietz's formula of slogging through chapter after chapter of "...and then the Master Chief killed a bunch of bad guys," Nylund picks his enemies and action scenes carefully. Finally, we see the Chief in challenging fights against smart opponents.

Characters are likewise chosen well, and rather than just tell you what the characters do, Nylund takes you deeper into their psyches. The Chief, rather than the mindless slave to duty as presented in the first two books, is faced with ethical dilemmas with no "right" answers. Nylund presents the AI Cortana especially well, with all the complexity one would hope for.

First Strike also does readers a favor with its chronological bookkeeping. In his first Halo book, Nylund would preface each chapter with the date and location of events, but it was hard to keep track of what time the current chapter was taking place relative to the last. (Lots of page-flipping ensued.) This time he adds helpful tips like "four hours later." These are especially necessary since Nylund hops around a lot. He uses these hops to build suspense and also set up the intersection of story lines.

In sum, all sins of his earlier book are forgiven, because First Strike is a solid story, told well, with interesting and complex characters. I have no reservations recommending it to the sci-fi and/or Halo fan.

Comments

Wow! I think you are crazy, how can you say that the first book sucked. It was a expectacular and amazing book. You need to read that book again and consider what you are saying because the first and secon book were amazing books.

Well, maybe I *am* crazy, but I didn't say the first book sucked. I said it was somewhat disappointing. There's a lot of good sci-fi out there and the Halo world is fascinating, so I set a high bar for these books. The first one was okay but not as good as it could have been -- Nylund proved with "First Strike" that he's capable of greatness. I honestly don't think he hit greatness with "The Fall of Reach."

That's just my opinion, of course, and your opinion is just as valid as mine. Thanks for your comment!

Well you make a good point. But I was never disapointed by the first book. And now that he is working on the next Halo novel I hope that he truly uses his talent to the fullest and more.

i somewhat agree with Ichithekiller77 that the first book could've been better, however it does act as a prequel and has to explain a lot because the first game doesn't tell you very much. i think that Eric Nylund did a better job the second time around because the plot of the game set out by bungie allowed him to create a much faster and complex story. how far away is the third book?, can't wait

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx

November, 2006

yea i can't whait. I personally enjoyed his novels sooo much ... and now that another one is comming its like a holyday!!!

if you want to say UP-to-date go to Bungie.net

I have not finished the first book yet but so far it has been very good

I'm trying to find a halo:fs .pdf, any ideas? :p


i read the other 2 books in paper form so i reckon i deserve to be cheap and get fs for free :p :p :p

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