How to read the Halo books…
ATTENTION: There is an updated version of this article. Please click HERE.
…put on a self-knitted wool sweater, pour yourself a steaming cup of chamomile tea, find your favorite spot on the couch…nah, of course, I’m not talking about that kind of how to. When I bought my first Halo books 3 years ago, I wasn’t really sure which book to start first. I had no idea if there was a chronological order or not. All I knew was, that Fall of Reach was the most popular.
Since then I have made some research on how to read them best.
To date, we have 13 Halo novels. Halo: The Broken Circle written by John Shirley is the newest addition released in November 2014. In this book, we learn more about the time before the Covenant was created. A time were Elites and Prophets were at war over different interpretations on how to use or not use old Forerunner relics.
This topic puts the book at the beginning of the chronological order, right after the Forerunner Saga and before Halo: Contact Harvest.
But first we will start with a list of the books in order of their release date:
- 2001: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund
- 2003 (Apr): The Flood by William C.Dietz
- 2003 (Dec): First Strike by Eric Nylund
- 2006: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund
- 2007: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten
- 2008: The Cole Protocol by Tobias Buckell
- 2009: Evolutions (Collection of short stories from Traviss, Nylund, Buckell or Frank O’Connor)
- 2011(Jan): Cryptum by Greg Bear (Book 1 Forerunner Saga)
- 2011(Oct): Glasslands by Karen Traviss (Book 1 Kilo Five Trilogy)
- 2012 (Jan): Primordium by Greg Bear (Book 2 Forerunner Saga)
- 2012 (Oct): Thursday War by Karen Traviss (Book 2 Kilo Five Trilogy)
- 2013: Silentium by Greg Bear (Book 3 Forerunner Saga)
- 2014 (Jan): Mortal Didacta by Karen Traviss (Book 3 Kilo Five Trilogy)
- 2014 (Nov): The Broken Circle by John Shirley
The first 3 were published by Del Rey, the other ones are all published at Tor Books. The latest one The Broken Circle came out at Gallery Books. If you are a die-hard Halo fan who read all the books when they came out, you’re definitely a very cool person. If you are like me, a die-hard fan as well, but slowly exploring and discovering the Halo universe, you should consider reading or re-reading the novels in the following order:
- The Broken Circle
- Contact Harvest
- Fall of Reach
- Cole Protocol
- The Flood
- First Strike
- Ghosts of Onyx
- Thursday War
- Mortal Didacta
- Evolutions (You can read these short stories at any point really. I choose to read them last.)
That is at least the order I’m going to read it in. Right now I’m at Fall of Reach. Gotta read it again since it’s been too long. And of course, I haven’t read The Broken Circle yet. I still need to purchase that book.
I began with The Forerunner Saga two years ago I think. I was very confused at first. The Saga is very different from the other books and it takes some effort to really get into the story. For me, not being a native speaker and reading it in English was very hard. All the specific terms and what not had my head spinning. But all in all, I enjoyed the books. Gives you a detailed look into the mysterious Forerunners, who of course had their grand appearance in the game Halo 4. So if you want to know more about the Didact and his wife, the Librarian and the story of the Forerunners, you should definitely read the Saga.
I also really enjoyed Contact Harvest, which tells you the story of Sgt. Avery Johnson and the first human encounter with the Covenant on planet Harvest. It gives you insight on the Covenant, on how the different races live together in High Charity. You learn more about the Prophets (How Truth plotted to become the leader), about the Grunts and Jackals and the Brutes. I loved this book!
So you have books like The Flood by William C. Dietz, that follows the story of an actual Halo game. In this case, Halo Combat Evolved. And you have others, most of them, who give you background info on events of one of the games or just general background info on the Halo universe. You learn so much more about the rich and fantastic story of Halo and lets you understand the games even more. You should definitely replay the games if you read all the books. Or! Or! You could be a real crazy nerdy ass nerd and follow this particular chronological order I found here: halodiehards.net
That, of course, includes all the games at the right point. So you would read a few books, some not even completely, play a game in-between and then go back to the books.
I would looooove to talk to one person who has done it that way. I really would. If you are one of them, please leave a comment.
Important: Support your local bookstore. If they don’t have your book in stock they can order it for you. With the following links you can quickly find a local bookstore in the US and UK:
And now pick up a Halo book and start reading!