Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Halo: Legacy of Onyx Review

The shield-world Onyx has been the location of many Halo stories that run parallel to the games, and Legacy of Onyx moves it forward to the days of Cortana’s war. I could not help but think that the ideal audience for this book is the teenage Halo fan I have been, because the book follows a young girl who wants to be a soldier: Molly hates the Sangheili who killed her parents, but she has been enrolled in a multi-species school and winds up tangling with the struggling remains of the Servants of the Abiding Truth. 

I’m delighted by stories of the peace after the human vs Covenant war, and the school on Onyx presents lovely friendships between humans and aliens. This is truly a slice-of-life story, including a Sangheili headmaster and Spartans teaching children self-defense. Molly’s life is dictated by her desire for revenge against the Sangheili, but as one of the “outsiders” in the school she’s thrown into an alliance with aliens. Her wonder is infectious, and it was easy to find common ground when she remarked how beautiful the Forerunner shield-world is. 

The book also offers the over-the-top action and drama one can expect from Halo, compressed into stories a bit closer to home: the fact that schoolchildren are in danger makes that danger much more visceral for an adult. I’m curious to find out whether there are more adventures in store for Molly, and I very much enjoyed the story of a Sangheili teen and his warring clan. 

However, the flatness of the prose made it hard to follow some scenes. The kids’ perspective means that some major events happen without Molly being actually present, making them feel rushed. Matt Forbeck’s voice seems more suited to the Nathon Fillion styling of New Blood than to more straightforward prose: it was sometimes difficult to distinguish characters’ dialogue from one another even if they had strong personalities.

Legacy of Onyx doesn’t go into the kind of detail that made The Fall of Reach such a great start to the Halo series, but it does move the series forward in a meaningful way. It’s also a great school story, something we’ve never seen in quite this way in Halo before. Legacy of Onyx was a fun and different look at the shield-world, and I’m curious to see where these characters will go next.

A copy was provided to me by the publisher.

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