Kyle Reber 3/26/12
Halo: Evolutions period 9-10
Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe is overall the best Halo novel I have yet read, and while some of its stories are indeed short or even one-page poems, many others are the length of a short novel. Weighing in at 528 pages, you certainly get your bang for your buck.
The Halo universe is a vast and amazing setting and for those of you who've only played the games, with the exception of, they all take place in the final 3 months of the Human-Covenant War, a war that spanned 27 years and of course, there's earlier Human and Covenant history to explore and the post-carnage of the war as well.
So how to ...view middle of the document...
I really enjoyed "Pariah" as it puts an interesting twist on the images we always perceive of the Spartans, it helps to show us what the Spartans really are, and in the end it draws both pity and sympathy.
"Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss" is written by Eric Raab, and it's the weakest of all the literature in this collection. The story follows Connor Brien, an ONI anthropologist who is captured and taken prisoner by a pack of Brutes, and while I found it fascinating that we get a real interesting glimpse of what society is like within Brute culture, depicted better here than any other source I've come across, the story itself just isn't particularly strong and is rather at odds with the rest of the works in this book. It lacks both substance and specifics, as I don't know exactly when in the timeline this tale is set though I suspect it's just after the events of the third halo game, and there's a few other dumb comments, such as Brien's having observed Brutes first hand on High Charity, which makes no sense what-so-ever given the established canon of the Halo universe.
Thankfully, the next tale that follows is a strong one written by Frank O'Connor himself. Entitled "Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian," it follows a lone ODST, Baird as he awakens on a UNSC Destroyer after having undergone surgery to find it occupied by Covenant Special Forces, his comrades all KIA. If that isn't a nightmare enough, Baird learns that the ship's navigational data is not only intact, but that the Covenant operatives are attempting to access it. If they succeed, they'd learn the location of humanity's greatest secret: The location of Earth itself. And so, weak and alone save for the ship's AI, Baird has to not only find a way to defeat an entire ship of highly trained Covenant operatives, but also deny them access to the ship's database. This short would have to be one of my favourites, as its pacing is strong, the characters are very well fleshed out, and O'Connor does a nice job of putting you in Baird's shoes.
"Dirt" is a longer tale written by Tobias S. Buckell, the final moments of an ODST as he recounts his tale of woe to the Rookie. Yes, that Rookie. But how did Gage end up by that crashed Pelican? Why are the Covenant swarming after him and him alone, and where's the rest of his back up? His tale, long in the telling, dates back to pre-war and the CMA, and Buckell does a very admirable job painting the picture of the Insurrection that took place, how the Covenant changed everything for our fractured species, and just what morality means in the face of overwhelming odds, and not the odds that you're thinking of right now. Sometimes, a man needs to make a choice, the right one, no matter what it'll cost him.
Closing out this section of the compilation is another poem, "Acheron-VII," once again written by Jonathan Goff dealing with the sole victor of a battle, a Spartan, and what the reality of the situation now means to him.
The next section...