Book Review: Halo: Last Light

HLL_CoverIt’s a good time to be into Science Fiction, hell it’s a good time to be into any genre fiction. But science fiction is having a hey-day because of the franchises that abound. Star Trek has been rebooted, Star Wars has awoken, Mass Effect is spreading to another galaxy, and Halo… well, Halo is fighting the good fight as ever with the latest novel Halo: Last Light.

Halo: Last Light by Troy Denning is the latest Halo novel that’s been published with the launch of Halo 5: Guardians. (My review of which you can read here.) Like a lot of previous Halo novels, Last Light is designed to expand the Halo universe. As such, it doesn’t follow Master Chief or the newly introduced Spartan Locke.

It does however follow Blue Team, or more correctly Lieutenant Frederic-104, with occasional glimpses of Kelly-087 and Linda-058. All of whom we now get to see in Halo 5, and play as if you play co-op. Halo: Last Light isn’t groundbreaking in anyway, but it does fill in some nice backstory. The last time we saw Fred has been quite some time, and if you’ve only ever played the games then you’ve never seen him. Though there is a mention of Fred in Halo 4.

Halo: Last Light as a book is entertaining. It tries to balance a line between murder mystery and action adventure, and pulls off both for the most part. Though it may leave readers screaming that they know who the murderer is in the vain hope the characters on the page will listen. And all of it takes place on a single planet – Gao – without the Covenant, Flood or Promotheans interfering.

That’s not to say this is a straight up fight between humans. Halo: Last Light does manage to mix in Forerunner technology, colonial rebellion, alien fanatics and that good old spartan gung-ho attitude. Where Denning excels is in showing the Halo universe to be one of factions, with each pursuing their own goals. In previous buy gabapentin online books and even the games the universe was presented as very black and white, with the Covenant and Flood being bad and the humans being good.

The dichotomy seen in the early games and books has shifted as the Halo universe has grown. Halo: Last Light presents a world where the UNSC and the spartans aren’t welcomed as heroes but feared as conquerers. The other main character, and driving force being the murder investigation that takes up half the book, is Special Inspector Veta Lopis. It’s she who, like many from Gao, question the purpose of the UNSC presence and the accompanying spartans.

What’s really nice about this story is how self-contained it is. There’s no massive threat to the galaxy, nor is the world about to end. Instead the characters of Halo: Last Light simply have to survive. At the same time the planet Gao is affected by their actions, giving impact to all that happened in the book for the wider Halo universe. That alone is a welcome change from many tie-in novels that do little more than add a few extra details but otherwise leave the core of the property untouched.

Halo: Last Light is an overall enjoyable read. It’s not groundbreaking for the Halo universe but it also doesn’t do it a disservice. So be sure to pick this up and enjoy another exciting romp with the spartans.

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Greg Pellechi ThumbnailReview by: Gregory Pellechi
Gregory Pellechi used to work in the Middle East and Southeast Asia  but now calls Finland home. He wishes he had more free time to read and write – the latter of which he does far too little of for himself. Greg will read just about anything and these days that includes books (albeit easy-readers) in Swedish, but prefers Cyberpunk, Speculative Fiction and Star Wars. You can visit his blog at www.gregorypellechi.com where he runs the podcast Fulltime HEL. He’s also on Twitter (@SvenNomadsson); just remember the time difference if you’re expecting a prompt reply.

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