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Halo: Ghosts of Onyx

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Halo: Ghosts of Onyx Eric Nylund   Quick View: The satisfying final battles, heroic sacrifices, and gratuitous fan fair in the perfectly described climax gives the readers the ending they deserve.   Publisher’s summary: The Spartan-II program has gone public. Tales of super-soldiers fending off thousands of Covenant attacks have become the stuff of legend. But just how many Spartans are left? While the Master Chief defends a besieged Earth, and the myriad factions of the Covenant continue their crusade to eliminate humanity, an ultrasecret cell of the Office of Naval Intelligence known as “Section Three” devises a plan to buy the UNSC vital time. They’re going to need hundreds of willing soldiers, though . . . and one more Spartan to get the job done. The planet Onyx is virtually abandoned and the perfect place to set this new plan in motion. But when the Master Chief destroys Halo, something is triggered deep within Onyx: Ancient Forerunner technology stirs, and fleets of UNSC and Covenant race to claim it to change the course of the Human-Covenant War. But this reawakened and ancient force may have plans of its own . . .     Full Review: Halo: Ghosts of Onyx is the final installment of Eric Nylund’s Halo Trilogy. I recommend anybody who wishes to read Ghosts of onyx first read the previous two novels in order to have a better grasp on the story and characters going into the book. However, this is not required to enjoy the novel as it was written well enough to make a good stand alone story. Ghosts of Onyx is by far one of the greatest endings to a trilogy I have read to date, with a satisfying climax and a great wrap up, allowing for a feeling of completion as well as possibilities for future installments. Nylund delivers his signature character development, and pulls out all the stops with story and plot progression. Like every story, however, there are a few points which must be noted as to why this novel is the work of a god, but of one of us lowly humans. The book starts by taking us back to one of Blue Team’s early missions. The protagonist, Kurt, who was a member of Blue Team, ends up having his MJOLNIR power armor damaged during a zero G operation. Whilst the team thinks of him as dead, The Office of Naval Intelligence secretly recovers Kurt in order to give him a new mission: to train the new generation of SPARTANs. Kurt must face the many challenges of leadership as he reunites with his old instructor, and must look to the faces of hundred of orphaned children and tell them the same thing he was told: Their parents are gone, and they now belong to the military. He would train them to the best of his ability, knowing full well the military intended to use them for ulterior purposes. Blue team must also go through their own challenges, and the stories of Kurt, Doctor Halsey, Blue team and the SPARTAN IIIs all come together along with that of the leader of the enemy forces, and all of these events collide in a stunning work of fiction. Again, Nylund pulls out all the stops for this novel. He hits a lot of different key points on emotion, responsibility, the sense of belonging, family, duty to one’s species and, of course, free will. The exposition is done thoroughly through story progression and realistic human reactions, much like we saw in the previous two novels. With the varying cast of Humans, SPARTANs, Aliens, and even some AIs, we get to see all of the different moral issues and ethics re emerge, and we see events from all sides. Mystery still shrouds the forerunner installations the different species encounter, and we get to see how each and every character deals with the situations in which they are placed. The only issue I find with this novel is possibly the over abundance of story. I know, I know, that sounds weird considering it’s a book. But the vast majority of different characters, their stories, points of view, and decisions all come together into one book to form a massive story. Perhaps Nylund would have been better off making this two novels instead of one. How he managed to squeeze it all into a fairly average-sized book I’ll never understand. On top of that, this is only a negative if you see it as that. Many might even consider it a positive. The satisfying final battle, heroic sacrifices and gratuitous fan fair in the perfectly described climax gives the readers the ending they deserve for rummaging through this trilogy. The surprise ending and plot twist leave the story open to interpretation, until another author down the line feels fit to pick up this story. My thoughts on the Kilo-5 trilogy which follow Nylund’s trilogy are for their own reviews. For now, looking back on Nylunds work on this final novel, it’s easy to appreciate the effort put into completing this story. The different arcs and twists make the whole series incredibly re-readable and very enjoyable. It’s a shame Nylund is now under contract with Amazon Games, as I and many Halo fans would love to see him return to bless the halo universe with another stunning work. Reviewed By Joseph Tierney [ques] [aff]

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