About the Author:
Eric Nylund holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in chemical physics. He lives near Seattle, USA, with his wife Syne Mitchell.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4.5 out of 5
Halo: First Strike
The third book of the original Halo novel trilogy, following on from William C. Dietz's 'Halo: The Flood' and the game 'Halo' itself.
The first half of the book follows two distinct plotlines. In one the Master Chief, Cortana and a few survivors from the destruction of Halo (including the ever-cool Sergeant Johnson) have to commandeer a Covenant ship and return to UNSC space with the data on Halo. The other storyline returns to the battle for Reach and charts how several of the Spartans survive the Covenant victory and go to ground. After these two story threads converge it is discovered that the Covenant have discovered Earth, meaning that the Chief and his Spartans have to launch a desperate first strike to delay the Covenant fleet.
Nylund brings us the same satisfying combination of action and military brotherhood that he showed a talent for in 'The Fall of Reach'. This book isn't nearly as repetetive as 'The Flood', which suffered from being the novelisation of the game rather than an original story, but, due to the lack of Captain Keyes and the Pillar of Autumn, we don't get the innovative tactical scenes we saw in the first book of the series.
Basically, Nylund provides us with a good book which serves to tie up loose ends from 'Halo' and provides the background for 'Halo 2'.
4 out of 5
Halo: The Fall Of Reach
The prequel novel to the massively popular 'Halo' computer game. Now, I'll be entirely honest, I was expecting this book to be trash. There are very few game tie-in novels that actually make good books; even great authors like Raymond E. Feist have trouble pulling it off - see the first and third Krondor books (or, really don't). Nylund, however, left me very pleasantly surprised.
The book charts all the important backstory to 'Halo', telling of the Spartan project which produced the supersoldier you play in the game (the Master Chief AKA John), revealing the details of humankind's first encounter and subsequent war with the Covenant and finally the event of the title, the fall of the human fortress world of Reach. The Spartans are handled with an excellent degree of humanity and Nylund manages to perfectly capture the kinship between them.
In the game, the Covenant were just more alien scum to fight (although 'Halo 2' expanded them considerably), but here we discover that the humans (the UNSC) are actually very much on the losing side of a religious war of extermination. You'll feel all the disappointment of the characters as heroics and outstanding tactics provide them with a small victory, only for the larger conflict to go horribly wrong. This is especially true of the book's final third, which deals with the arrival of an immense Covenant fleet above Reach.
Despite my predisposition to do so, I cannot fault this book at all and its franchise connection never proves detrimental to the storytelling.
Followed by William C. Dietz's 'Halo: The Flood'.
5 out of 5