For the past several decades, Halo has been best known as an ongoing series of video games featuring enhanced futuristic super-soldiers. Now that a live-action Halo series is on the horizon, the franchise is opening itself up to a much wider audience. However, a collection of Halo novels began around the same time as the games, and the background they can provide to viewers might be more valuable now than ever.
Set to release on Paramount Plus this week, the TV series based on the popular video game franchise will follow the character of Master Chief as he defends the human race from the alien Covenant.
Whether you’ve played the games or the show is your first introduction to the universe, these are the best books to read as you watch the show unfold if you want to know more about what’s going on in the story.
‘The Fall of Reach (Halo, Book 1)’ by Eric Nylund
If you’re interested in diving into the Halo book universe, there’s no better place to start than where it all began. First published in 2001, The Fall of Reach is still considered one of the best books throughout the franchise more than 20 years later.
The story serves as a prequel to the 2001 Halo: Combat Evolved video game and was eventually adapted into a series of comic books.
‘Cryptum (The Forerunner Saga, Book 1)’ by Greg Bear
The Forerunner Saga was a series of three Halo novels published between 2011 and 2013. The overall trilogy focuses on the Forerunners thousands of years before the Human-Covenant War.
Cryptum, the first book in the trilogy, chronicles the events of the Forerunner-Flood War. The trilogy as a whole further expands the lore of the franchise, serving as supplementary material for fans of the games.
‘New Blood (Alpha-Nine series, Book 1) by Matt Forbeck
Both books in the Halo: Alpha-Nine series by Matt Forbeck are centered on the Alpha-Nine fireteam and were published in 2015 and 2018.
New Blood is connected to Halo 5: Guardians, and the end of the book even directly sets up the events of the game to give backstory to Edward Buck’s involvement with Fireteam Osiris.
‘Silent Storm (A Master Chief Story, Book 1)’ by Troy Denning
Troy Denning’s A Master Chief Story novels and comic book series focus on John-117 (Master Chief) and his work with Blue Team at the start of the Human-Covenant War.
Because Master Chief is expected to be such a prominent character in the upcoming Paramount Plus series, Silent Storm and its subsequent stories might provide the kind of background information viewers who haven’t yet played the video games will be looking for.
‘Battle Born (Battle Born series, Book 1)’ by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Fans of YA and Halo might gravitate toward the Battle Born books, a young adult series focused on teenagers and a supersoldier surviving the Battle of Meridian conflict.
Battle Born is the first of two books by Clarke in the young adult series of the same name. The second book, Meridian Divide, was published in 2019. Unfortunately, the third book in the series was canceled, but the existing books are still worth reading.
Halo premieres on March 24, 2022 on Paramount Plus.