Author: Eric Nylund
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation, 2010; Originally published by Del Rey, The Random House Publishing Group
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Amazon Price: $8.91 – $14.52
As if the Master Chief single-handedly annihilating Halo Installation 04 and an entire Covenant armada weren’t badass enough (pardon my French) of the Spartan elite, First Strike gives us even more insight into the “badassery” of Spartans—their incredible strength with the inclusion of their MJOLNIR enhancements as well as their tactical genius and supreme resilience. That is, aside from what’s portrayed of them in Nylund’s Halo: The Fall of Reach. Besides this first book of the Covenant War trilogy, First Strike gives us a deeper look at the Spartans as human beings. To other characters who haven’t been exposed to Spartans much, they appear to be like robots, but by reading First Strike we come to learn they’re just as human as someone who hasn’t undergone their augmentation treatments.
The book answers the question to the story gap between the games Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 after the Master Chief destroyed the Halo ring and, to our satisfaction, how Sergeant Johnson survived both the Flood and the destruction of the ring. (Johnson’s survival of the Flood on the scientific basis also connects to the Forerunner saga by Greg Bear. So there is a continuity throughout all the books so far at this point in the Halo storyline.) For those who’ve played Halo 5 and have no idea how the remaining SPARTAN-IIs survived Reach, this book gives the answer. The reader also discovers how the Covenant find Earth just before Halo 2 starts. The whole point of the book is the Master Chief’s mission to delay the Covenant’s arrival at Earth—they’re taking the first strike before the Covenant’s inevitable arrival to Earth. So the events between the first two Halo games were not peaceful as the gamer is led to think, but rather the Chief’s arduous efforts to delay the Covenant’s arrival to Earth before we see him put his helmet on aboard Cairo Station in Halo 2.
I would have given this book a full 5 stars because of its content and easy flow of reading, but its alienating spelling and grammatical errors make it almost unbearable to read at times, which seems to be a hallmark of some Halo books. I’m positive that every single time the word “though” appears in this book, it’s supposed to be “through.” This is at the fault of the editor, not the author. Overall, this book is definitely a recommended read for those who are curious about the story gap between the first two Halo games.