- Release Date:2003-12-02
- In-universe Date:2552 AD
Halo: First Strike, though perhaps not as interesting as Fall of Reach, is still a well written novel and is continued evidence of Eric Nylund’s gift for military science fiction. There are a number of big flaws that the good details can’t quite make up for, but in general it’s a good sequel to a good game.
The further development of the character of Master Chief is one of the best elements of this book. He is not just a mindless super soldier like he may have seemed in the novelization of Halo: Combat Evolved. On the flip side it also makes him seem a little more wishy-washy or childlike. This makes a certain amount of sense based on Master Chief’s past but it also makes it harder to trust his decision making that can make him so cool in the games.
The book starts out immediately after the end of the first game which makes it very interesting to fans of the video games. The book has major connections to both the first and second games as well as the events of the fall of Reach which keep the plot busy and detailed. However, it does result in the plot jumping around a bit which makes it episodic and a bit difficult to read quickly because of how easy it is to find a stopping place.
The side characters are also enjoyable and quite different from each other though some of them, like Sergeant Johnson seem a bit two-dimensional. The major exception is the character of Catherine Halsey who is a mix of genius, resolve, and mixed ethics. This make her very interesting and difficult to figure out.
However, despite well written military strategy and good characters it is easy to get bored with the book. There doesn’t always seem to be a reason to care what happens, and if you’re not a fan of the franchise you probably won’t care. But overall, I found it to be very interesting and entertaining.