Audiobook Review — Halo: First Strike

Today, while taking part in an Xbox Ambassadors playdate, where I was participating in Halo: Infinite multiplayer matches with a group of gamers from around the world, one of them asked, “Have any of you read the Halo novels?” I chimed in saying, “Actually, I’m reading all of them, and I just finished the third book in the series.” That book is First Strike by Eric Nylund. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Todd McLaren, using the Downpour app. Read on for my thoughts on this third foray into the world of Halo.

Publisher’s Summary

The New York Times best-selling aftermath of Halo: Combat Evolved featuring the Master Chief – part of the expanded universe based on the award-winning video game series!

It’s 2552. The theocratic military alliance known as the Covenant is showing no mercy as it continues to assault every human world it encounters, but in the way lies humanity’s greatest champion, the supersoldier Spartan John-117 – the Master Chief. Together with his AI companion Cortana and the last remaining Spartans, the galaxy-spanning fight rages on two fronts following the destruction of the human military stronghold Reach by Covenant forces and the mysterious artificial ringworld known as “Halo” at the hands of the Master Chief.

One faction – a squad of Spartans lead by Blue Team’s Fred-104 and Kelly-087 – is trapped on the glassed surface of Reach, the only planet they’ve ever known as home. Beneath this ruined world, Dr. Catherine Halsey has discovered an ancient secret…one that could alter the course of the war. Meanwhile, the Master Chief and Cortana lead a second group toward a gathering of Covenant warships, as the United Nations Space Command’s worst nightmare has finally come true: The Covenant has discovered the location of Earth and is forming a massive fleet to utterly destroy it, as well as all who oppose the indomitable will of the Prophets….

My Thoughts

In addition to my Halo: Infinite Xbox Ambassadors playdate, today, I also started Halo: Reach for the very first time. I’ve been making my way through all of the Halo games in the order that they were released, so reading the novels alongside this videogame journey makes for a pretty cool experience. As for the third audiobook in the Halo series, it’s another solid entry. Personally, I enjoy Todd McLaren’s narration. However, I know that some have said that he mispronounces numerous words from the games. I’m not as well versed in Halo as them, so this isn’t as apparent to me. But if you’re sensitive to these sorts of things, keep that in mind.

Eric Nylund wrote the first Halo book, yet William C. Dietz was brought in for the second one. Nylund returns for the third title in the Halo series, and he produced a captivating tale featuring Master Chief, Cortana, and the Spartans at the top of their game. Replete with all of the hard-hitting action fans have come to know and love in the games, First Strike also features a plethora of nitty-gritty lore that readers can sink their teeth into. If you want to envelope yourself in the world of Halo, then First Strike is the book for you.

Halo: First Strike is another excellent novel in this long-running series and listening to the audiobook using the Downpour app was a joy. The audio quality is crystal clear and clean as can be, and the narration suits the story, with a cadence that naturally undulates with the flow of the narrative. First Strike is a satisfying story, and I look forward to seeing, and hearing, where Eric Nylund takes us in the fourth book: Ghosts of Onyx.

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