Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Halo Cryptum: Book 1 of The Forerunner Saga Impression

Before the Spartans or Covenant there were the Forerunner’s. Who and what were they? Time to find out in Halo Cryptum Book 1

Author Greg Bear takes Halo fans into the world of the Forerunner’s. How could a civilization, so advanced, disappear from the universe leaving only their massive weapons? Encounters with the Flood will do that but how exactly did this threat and ensuing war play out? A young Forerunner will help answer these questions.

The Story – 100,000 years before the Earth/Covenant war, the Forerunner civilization dominated every other civilization in technology and knowledge. Each Forerunner was born to a specific caste, their lives already determined with learning and growth ahead. Like with every civilization there are the rebellious the curious and Bornstellar makes Eternal Lasting is one such Forerunner. His thirst for knowledge about the past is outside his dictated Manipular duties. As part of the highest political and powerful rate Bornstellar must follow his role, yet he can’t which leads to his fascination with Precursors artifacts. Punished by his father, Bornstellar is sent to live with the lower rate of Miners yet he continues his hunt and stumbles on a slumbering war legend, the Didact, with the help of two primitive humans. Soon Bornstellar finds himself on a journey which uncovers political issues within the seemingly perfect Forerunner society and the threat of a mysterious power, The Flood. Who, what is The Flood and how are they to be defeated? The humans managed to push back the Flood but were in turn defeated by the Forerunners, their knowledge lost. How will Bornstellar play into this new game where Warrior ranks play their own agenda while utilizing the powerful, Lifeworker created, Halo’s meant to house life? Curiosity has changed Bornstellar’s fate and with it the galaxy will also change with ripples across the ages.

Confusing at first, riveting a bit later. Like Forerunner names, jumping into this story of new terms and history will require readers to slow down and digest. Learning about the history of a historic civilization is interesting but by the time readers get into the book by a few chapters things do begin to take off. Bornstellar’s initial chapters round out his character and present setting but once the Didact wakes its full speed ahead as events begin to build and even more about the Forerunner society is revealed. The references to the Human/Forerunner war will leave readers wanting more and once the first ‘Halo’ species shows up, well the mind begins to speed ahead to the games. The book starts off very alien when compared to other Halo novels but the political intrigue helps it take shape and common threads brings it together in time for the final chapter. Greg Bear does a fine job of creating one unique world free of constraints from the established Halo canon then brings it back home with the official canon.

Why Halo Fans Should Care – Learning more about not only the Halo’s as weapons but seeing the fall of the Forerunner society is a must for all Halo fans. The universe is based in the legacy this civilization left and learning about them, and in turn their Precursors heritage really builds out this universe. In much the same way Star Wars uses the Old Republic to build out their universe so too does Cryptum begin to build out the long lost past of the Halo universe. It’s not all about Master Chief or even Spartans and the Covenant, it’s about a galaxy of stories and events, one that is deeper than gamers could ever have imagined when first stepping foot on the Halo with Master Chief.

Overall Greg Bear has done a fine job with this tale, the first in the Forerunner saga, which builds the pillars and fills in the colors that are the core of Halo. What happened to this race, what is the Flood and how will this all affect the Halo universe gamers know and love? That’s the joy of reading and for this alone Halo fans need to read Halo Cryptum.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed Cryptum, a great start to a prequel trilogy. It was a technical read at times, and didn't hold my hand as much as other book/game tie-ins. The pacing was good, and I enjoyed the progression of the characters and the way that my perceptions of them changed by the end. The book also had an epic scope that really felt appropriate for a novel on the Forerunners. As for the Forerunners, it was great to final get a gimpse of them in their element.