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The 8 Best Halo Books

GameRant 1/23/2023 Megan Reyes
© Provided by GameRant

As Halo:Infinite continues to have an engaging multiplayer, some fans might be wondering about the Halo universe as a whole. Luckily, the Halo franchise has been publishing books alongside the games since the beginning, so there are tons of resources for learning about other places, races, and adventures.

But with 30 books in the lineup, it might not be possible for most fans to read them all. Plus, to be perfectly honest, not all 30 of the Halo books are good outside of a small niche of fans who happen to be the perfect audience. So, which Halo books are worth reading? Which Halo book is the best? These are our top ten Halo books!

Related: What to Expect From Halo Infinite in 2023

Halo: Fall of Reach by Eric S. Nylund

The very first book in the Halo series, Fall of Reach tells the whole backstory of Master Chief, or Spartan John-117. Admittedly the writing isn’t great at times, but that doesn’t mean this book doesn’t have its strengths. The space scenes are especially evocative, and many fans wish there were more of them. Likewise, the way that Nylund weaves empathy through small or quiet moments makes readers really feel for Master Chief, even as they see how his training is the only thing stopping the Covenant from destroying everything in the games.

As a baseline for expanding the Halo universe, Fall of Reach is a good book that gives insight to Master Chief’s personality, and it certainly deserves a spot on fans’ shelves.

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Halo: New Blood by Matt Forbeck

Halo: New Blood is a middle of the road kind of sci-fi novel, offering decent enough characters and an unsurprising plot carried by good writing. While this book isn’t anything spectacular, it’s definitely entertaining to Halo fans who love easter eggs and nuggets of backstory.

The story follows Sergeant Edward Buck as he joins a new spartan program after the Covenant war and relies heavily on sci-fi military action. There are tons of references to Halo games and plenty of easter eggs that shed light on some of the background elements of the Halo universe. New Blood is a fine enough book with a pretty standard plot that will be most appreciated by Halo mega-fans.

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Halo: Silent Storm by Troy Denning

A prequel to the first Halo book, Fall of Reach, Troy Denning’s Silent Storm once again connects readers to their favorite spartan soldier: Master Chief. Although this book is newer, it has less of the moral and emotional trappings of some of the other modern Halo stories. Instead, this book aims to return to the fast-paced action that made the earlier Halo books entertaining reads.

Even with this refocus on action sequences, the plot manages to fit in quite a bit of politics and betrayal. As the story takes place at the very beginning of the war with the Covenant, there are still large factions of a human insurrection trying to puzzle out how they can avoid teaming up with the government they hate.

For fans who really want to absorb all of the Master Chief lore, Silent Storm is a must-read!

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Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten

Following one of the greatest Halo characters ever, Avery Johnson, Contact Harvest tells the story of first contact between humanity and the Covenant. Extremely well-written with perspectives from both humans and aliens, this book not only explains Avery Johnson’s backstory and sets the stage for the Halo campaign, but also manages to create a lot of empathy for every character.

Each character is fully fleshed out with unique voices, aspirations, and doubts, including the two main Covenant characters. That isn’t to say there’s no action here. On the contrary, the pacing is swift and the action easy to follow yet thrilling. Throughout the book, Contact Harvest offers readers engaging military sci-fi that builds on the Halo universe.

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Halo: Fractures

Halo: Fractures showcases 14 original stories set in the Halo universe from as far back as the Forerunners to decades after the Covenant war. Each story offers a fun, exciting read with great writing to interweave the action and themes with Halo world building that fans love to see.

Most of the short stories take place after Halo 3, so readers who haven’t played through the Halo series will probably have more questions than answers with this book. Although the book is pretty short, the format makes it easy to pick up and put down at any time. Some of the stories tie into other Halo novels too, so fans looking to dip their toes into the Halo book universe, might especially enjoy Fractures.

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Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear

One of the most popular and controversial trilogy in the Halo library, Greg Bear’s Cryptum is a dense book that assumes the reader already knows most everything about Halo. Despite not having very specific math, it’s hard not to categorize this book as “hard sci-fi”. The depth of this backstory is incredible, focusing on a time in the Halo universe long before the events of the game that have hardly been addressed in other Halo content. Cryptum follows an ambitious forerunner who teams up with two humans to change everything.

The series continues with Halo: Primordium and Halo: Silentium, creating a trilogy that’s really about the guilty spark from the original Halo game. This crazy AI has an even wilder background, making the entire trilogy well worth the read to anyone who enjoys term glossaries in their sci-fi books.

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Halo: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric S. Nylund

A great follow up to Fall of Reach although not technically a direct sequel, Ghosts of Onyx is an action-packed novel about a totally different spartan soldier. Kurt Ambrose, or Spartan-051, is the star of this story, providing readers with a fresh look at the life of a UNSC spartan.

Beyond the new spartan, there are a handful of other characters readers can see in action. With Ghosts of Onyx Nylund gave readers excellent world building and immersive description without getting boring. Because of this skillful action writing and new characterization that many fans consider Ghosts of Onyx one of the best Halo novels overall.

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Halo: Glasslands by Karen Traviss

Another story that follows the spartan program and Dr. Halsey, Halo:Glasslands is a good book to read after Ghosts of Onyx. Set immediately after the war between the Covenant and humanity, this book is just the first in a trilogy that follows an secret, elite force named Kilo-Five and Dr. Halsey’s own clandestine attempts to take advantage while the universe is busy with war clean up. The superb writing carries action and subterfuge through deep characters and unique settings. Readers who enjoy this book can continue with the story with The Thursday War and Mortal Dictata.

All of these books Karen Traviss, whose prose has earned her the praise of many Halo fans. Halo: Glasslands does a masterful job of wrapping up the morally corrupt spartan program storyline through the perspectives of the twisted Dr. Halsey, her victims, and her peers.

Buy Glasslands on or on! is a wonderful way for readers to connect with and support local booksellers. Every purchase on their site financially supports independent bookstores. Check out the GameRant storefront to find books for gamers and support small businesses!

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