Book Review: Halo: Cryptum

Greg Bear’s Halo: Cryptum  (2011) is a novel based in the Halo universe. In case you didn’t know, Halo is a first-person Xbox video game. The game was a smash hit when it came out and spawned a number of sequels. This book tells a prequel story of a young forerunner. The forerunners are an alien race responsible for what happens in the video game. In this book we meet Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting. He is a builder set to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he doesn’t want his father’s future. He is fascinated with treasure. He goes off to explore the universe and gets himself involved in something bigger than treasure hunting.

Strange World

So, I found this book to be a bit of a mixed bag. I enjoyed more the setting of the book than anything else. The characters are well developed, but I didn’t connect with the protagonist. I think it might have something to do with expectations. Since the book has Halo on the cover I was expecting more of a military sci-fi story and instead I got a coming-of-age drama. Whenever I hear the Halo franchise, I draw parallels to the video game. Shooting, explosions and running around in alien settings to do it over and over again. But this book had none of those things. It did a fantastic job in providing detailed descriptions of the places, but not much in the way of action.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the lack of action mislead you, this book has some gems. I enjoyed reading the origins of who built the Halos and the backstory of some of the alien races in the game. I just think this book might not appeal to everyone. I recommend this book to die-hard fans of the game, everyone else might not get much out of it.

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