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Halo: The Thursday War (Book) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Page Count: 448
 
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4.5/ 5


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Offers many different perspectives on the story.

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The Halo name may be intimidating to newcomers.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Halo: The Thursday War is a well written tale of life in an elite military team. But it’s really a book about the people – how they interact, how they deal with the constant threat of death, how they cope with a constantly changing world – that makes this story. Of course, fans of the Halo games will likely adore the book, as it takes you further into the story than a video game can. But even if you’ve never even picked up a controller, this is a book that anyone can enjoy. It is for the most part kid friendly, so it’s a good option for teens who are interested in the games but not allowed to play them yet. It’s also a great pick for science fiction fans, war fanatics, and anyone who loves a good read.

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Posted November 26, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

No Halo experience necessary.

It’s easy to say a good book is a good book, regardless of content. But jumping into a long running series can be intimidating, particularly when it’s based off something else. Picking up a Halo novel might seem out of place for someone who’s never played the game, or even for a gamer who hasn’t read any of the previous novels in the series. I am happy to say that Halo: The Thursday War is one hundred percent readable and enjoyable, regardless of your previous Halo experiences (or lack thereof).

Halo: The Thursday War is a novel by Karen Traviss that takes readers into the world of the Kilo-Five black-ops team. A special forces unit that often has no family beyond their team members, Kilo-Five is a close knit group that runs like a well oiled machine. Of course, even machines run into problems once in a while, and Kilo-Five has had more than their share of bumps in the road of late. How they handle that diversity will be the deciding factor in their worth as a team.

Halo: The Thursday War is about Kilo-Five – Mal, Vaz, Naomi, Dev, and their commanding officer Osman – and it tells their story well. The camaraderie, the zest for life, and the unwavering military principles that make up their very moral fiber are evident in every interaction, every skirmish. But it’s also a story about so many more people, and it is how Traviss takes you into the heads of so many different characters that makes this story great. The Thursday War does not allow you the luxury of seeing only one side; feeling righteous triumph when they succeed, and indignant sorrow when they fail. Instead, you also see things from the eyes of their enemies, their subordinates, even their electronics, and thus no outcome seems a clear victory or defeat.

One of my favorite characters in the novel is that of BB. BB is the AI that serves Kilo-Five, and he is very nearly everywhere at once. With the amazing technology and speed of a computer, he is able to guide ships, provide translations, record data, and so much more, all at the same time. And yet, BB is based off a human donor brain, and so is not entirely mechanical in thought. He must face the scepter of his own mortality, as it were, and also accept the limitations of working with humans when his own speed is lightyears above them. BB handles it all with humor and sarcasm, two of my very favorite things, and he definitely adds both levity and depth to the story.

I’ll mention just a couple other notable characters – Jul Mdama and Evan Phillips. Jul is a prisoner of the humans, a Sangheili whose people have been fighting the humans ruthlessly for ages. Though he has been taken from his family and even his planet, Jul is determined to find out all he can about his captors, their plans for his people, and the mysterious Forerunner artifacts they have uncovered. His commitment to his people makes it difficult to wholly dislike the Sangheilis, even as Kilo-Five works to spur a civil war among them.

Evan Phillips is a very interesting character – a linguistics expert who is studying the Sangheilis and their artifacts in the hopes of uncovering the remaining Halos, which is sort of a weapon of mass destruction. Although Phillips is working with Kilo-Five, he is no Marine. His love of language and his empathy for the Sangheili people help him provide a different perspective, even as he has to come to terms with life in a war zone.

Halo: The Thursday War is a well written tale of life in an elite military team. But it’s really a book about the people – how they interact, how they deal with the constant threat of death, how they cope with a constantly changing world – that makes this story. Of course, fans of the Halo games will likely adore the book, as it takes you further into the story than a video game can. But even if you’ve never even picked up a controller, this is a book that anyone can enjoy. It is for the most part kid friendly, so it’s a good option for teens who are interested in the games but not allowed to play them yet. It’s also a great pick for science fiction fans, war fanatics, and anyone who loves a good read.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)