Author: Matt Forbeck
Publisher: Gallery Books, 2015
Rating: 5/5 stars
Amazon Price: $9.68
All Halo fans are familiar with Gunnery Sergeant Buck from Halo 3: ODST as well as Halo 5. Yet in Halo 5, it was a shock to us all to see Buck as a SPARTAN-IV. How did he get recruited into the new SPARTAN-IV programme? Well, Buck tells us that story in this new book. The book takes place just before the Halo 5 timeline starts, beginning with a life-changing mission on Talitsa. As the mission starts to go wrong, Buck takes us back in time several years before the Human-Covenant War ends, the excursion in New Mombasa, and his recruitment into the SPARTAN-IV programme until he gets back to the current mission he’s on as a Spartan. I could not put this book down. I read it in just a matter of two days. At first, I was going to give the book four stars, but 1) the ending was insanely good, and 2) as Buck is narrating he says, “Sorry if I’m jumping around here. That’s how I’m hard wired. Try to keep up” (64, iBook edition). As I read the first few chapters, I was frustrated with Buck’s jumping around. I found that I kept saying to myself, “Get to the point already!” But as it turns out, Buck’s jumping around is actually just part of his personality. So I can’t really knock off a full point for the author staying faithful to the character’s personality. Overall, if you’re a Halo fan, I recommend this book as a must read.
As I said above, I could not put the book down. At first it was mostly due to frustration since Buck kept jumping into other stories from his past. But I eventually grew patient—after I learnt that it’s just part of his personality—and became so mesmerised by the story that I had to keep reading. “Just one more chapter,” I’d tell myself, and then I’d read three to five more. What also kept me going were some cameos from previous games and, I must admit, the romantic comedy shared between Buck and Captain Veronica Dare. Some of the cameos include the Rookie from Halo 3: ODST and a forgotten character from Halo: Reach the game. I always wondered what happened to this character, and now I finally know. I won’t give away who it is, but if you’re curious you must read the book. In fact, I recommend this book as a must read for every Halo fan whether you like reading books or not. Get over it. It’s good for you. (Really, it is. Reading builds vocabulary skills and increases learning abilities.) Anyway, Forbeck writes the book so well that the Buck we read of in this book is no different than the Buck we’re familiar with in ODST and Halo 5. It’s terrible writing to have a character’s personality in a book be different than what we’re most familiar with in the game. That doesn’t happen here. Buck is still the same ole Buck we know and love from the games. New Blood is just such a phenomenal book that every Halo fan would enjoy reading it. Multiple thumbs up, Matt Forbeck. Terrific job.