Based on the universe and characters from the multimillion selling Xbox video games Halo and Halo 2, Halo: Contact Harvest continues the story of humanity’s next great battle in their ongoing wars against the seemingly infinite alien factions who consider the human race heathens. This is how it began…
Halo: Contact Harvest is a good book as books go though missing a number of crucial elements that could have made it much better. It took me a bit longer than usual to get through it for reasons I will elaborate on below. However, as a fan of the Halo franchise, this book had some exciting tidbits.
Joseph Staten has been writing for a while in the Halo franchise though this is his first novel so we can forgive him for a few things. However, I will say that a few things he does are very well done. First of all, the anticipation and mystery surrounding the first contact between Humans and Covenant, is well done. It contains a satisfying level of suspense which is released well when things finally turn ugly between the two factions.
Additionally the level of detail and technicalities are great. My favorite moments are when Staten gets into the head of an artificial intelligence to get a unique perspective on how a true A.I. might think. He does this very well and it’s obvious that a lot of thought went into his writing there. The combat and other nitty gritty moments are well written and descriptive.
The character of Avery Johnson is one of the most beloved characters in the games but something is lacking in the spotlight directed at him in Contact Harvest. First of all, his sense of humor is lacking. He seems a lot more hardened and emo, and it’s hard to see how he got to be the no-nonsense, smart mouthed, loyal friend that he is in the games. A few things felt right but not everything. Also the portrayal of certain members of the Covenant was a bit confusing. I’m pretty familiar with the franchise and I still had some trouble figuring out who was who and what was going on where.
Overall, the book carries a few good marks but I’m not sure they would be enough to interest anyone but a Halo fan. Other than some interesting descriptions of A.I. the book doesn’t do too much to contribute to the expansive realm of science fiction.