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Halo: Glasslands (Halo (Tor Paperback))
Halo: Glasslands (Halo (Tor Paperback))
by Karen Traviss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highs and Lows, 5 Feb 2012
I feel like Halo: Glasslands almost requires two separate reviews.

Firstly, as a standalone novel, the book is an excellent piece of adventure sci-fi. It has an engaging story that carries the reader along, exciting action, and a nice blend of interesting new characters and returning favourites. It even injects an enjoyable humorous streak into what has previously been a very earnest series. It picks up loose threads left by previous novels, and starts to take the plot into an interesting direction for Halo 4.

However, this enjoyable action-adventure story sits alongside a protracted and bizarre character assassination of one of the series' main characters - Dr Catherine Halsey. The author clearly wants to tackle the ethical angle of the Spartan program and Halsey's actions (which is legitimate) but she goes about it in an extremely lengthy, heavy-handed and laborious way.
The author totally rewrites Halsey's personality to make her seem less sympathetic to the reader, having Halsey do things that are almost comically evil. Similarly, the personality of several of the Spartans and the details of events previously established are changed to better fit this new portrayal of Halsey.

Even worse are the new characters introduced - supposedly battle-hardened marines who've fought in decades of war and witnessed the death of billions, are apparently reduced to such apoplexy at the thought of some young kids having a rough childhood 40 years ago that they want to execute Halsey on the spot.

By the time the author starts dropping actual references to Dr Mengele, I was almost ready to put the book down. There's a lot to enjoy here, and the ethics of the Spartan program are fertile ground to explore, but the boring and heavy-handed way this book brow-beats the reader really drags down an otherwise excellent Halo adventure.

Halo: Primordium: Book Two of the Forerunner Trilogy (Forerunner 2)
Halo: Primordium: Book Two of the Forerunner Trilogy (Forerunner 2)
by Greg Bear
Edition: Paperback

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A big drop in quality, 30 Jan 2012
This book was a real disappointment. The first of this trilogy, Cryptum, provided the promised revelations about the Forerunner and the history of the Halo universe, but managed to fit that around an engaging and exciting story.

Primordium totally fails at this. For the first 60% of the book, almost nothing happens. It's just characters the reader has been given no reason to care about walking and talking through a deserted landscape. Once the action picks up a bit in the second half, the writing style is incredibly stilted and confusing and makes it very difficult to follow what is happening.

For Halo addicts that want to know more about the lore of the setting there are plenty of revelations here, but they are written in a maddeningly ambiguous fashion. Nothing is answered clearly, and it is very difficult to tell where the author is being deliberately coy and where the ambiguity is coming purely from poor writing.

I am still curious enough to finish the trilogy, but I hope Greg Bear remembers to include a story alongside the world-building next time.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2012 10:47 PM GMT

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