Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Halo: The Fall of Reach - Eric Nylund

I'm going to start out by saying I haven't played the game before. I've caught glimpses of it, people have told me about it, but my knowledge of it is limited. I would have played the game sooner, but I tend to get super pissed off every time I die in video games, so it's best for me not to. Especially if I want my television to stay intact.

I'm not even going to attempt to summarize the book, so I'll use what it says on the back cover:

Humanity has expanded beyond the Sol System. There are hundreds of planets we now call "home."

The united Nations Space Command now struggles to control this vast empire. After exhausting all strategies to keep seething insurrections from exploding into interplanetary civil war, the UNSC has one last hope.

At the office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top secret program that could bring an end to all this conflict . . . and it starts with seventy-five children, among them a six-year-old boy named John.

Halsey never guessed that this little boy would become humanity's final hope against a vast alien force hell-bent on wiping us out.

This is the story of John, Spartan 117 . . . the Master Chief, and of the battles that brought humanity face-to-face with its possible extinction.

The writing style was simple, yet descriptive. Although, at times, I had difficulty picturing the spaceships and weaponry. I think they could have been fleshed out a little more.

The plot was excellent. However, it felt like the actual battle to protect the planet Reach was way off. There was definitely a build up to it, but you would think that it would be the main premise of the book given the title. It seems like it's just an add-on at the end. I've read other reviews of the book and I noticed that was a major reason why people didn't like it. They wanted a more in-depth battle concerning Reach.

The pacing was pretty fast, but I feel like the author tried to squish too much stuff into one book. The story jumps through time pretty quickly. The main character starts off as a six-year-old and, by the end, is thirty something. I don't really like it when authors do this.

The main character, John--the Master Chief--kind of irritated me at times too. Though I'll admit he's a bit of a badass, he has a certain military mentality I don't care for. He's quick to follow orders and doesn't question authority. I guess I like characters who can form their own thoughts. He doesn't even care he was ripped away from his home and used as an experiment. I wanted him to be bitter about that rather than think it's something great. I didn't want him to die or anything, but I didn't make much of a connection with him. He felt kind of robotic, and I couldn't really get into his head. I admire his bravery and junk, but I like characters with a bit more depth.

Overall, I give it a rating of 3.5 (which means I like it quite a bit, but I didn't really, really like it). Perhaps the book would have had more meaning if I'd played the game first, which I plan on doing when I can find the time. I'll also be reading the next book in the series: Halo: The Flood by William C. Dietz.

Have you read the book?

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