The Best Halo Books Every Fan Should Read

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The Fall of Reach, Evolutions, and Encyclopedia.


The popular first-person shooter series is a strong one, with solid games and works in other media, like series. One thing that’s held strong to Halo, however, is its novelizations. There are over 30 Halo lore and spin-off books and novellas, with the first one dating back to 2001.



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Many fans of the franchise might have fond memories of the Halo books, whether they found them back in middle school or they’re still reading them today and awaiting new releases. With such a volume of reading material, it can be jarring for someone looking to get into the paper and ink version of Halo, so here are ten of the best books in the series that every fan should read.

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10 The Halo Encyclopedia

Master Chief strikes a pose on the front cover of the Halo Encyclopedia by Dark Horse and 343 Industries

Dark Horse has compiled everything you need to know about the Halo universe and all its lore in great detail all in one book. This book outlines the technology present in the games and books, as well as descriptions of the vast planets everyone has come to know and love.

Additionally, there are unique concept artworks that can only be seen in a compendium like this one. If you’re looking for a definitive book that covers everything in an educational and explanatory way, the Halo Encyclopedia is a book you need on your shelf.

9 The Fall Of Reach – Eric Nylund

This was the book that started it all, delving into Master Chief’s backstory and providing significant world-building lore for the series. John-117, a Spartan soldier, leads the Resistance against impending doom and destruction. This book was the first novelization, and it’s still the #1 selling Halo book to this day.

The Fall Of Reach is the perfect place to start for not just chronological reasons, but to learn about how the Spartan project got its origins and how Master Chief became involved in an intergalactic war.

8 The Flood – William C. Dietz

The second book in the original Halo series, The Flood follows the Pillar of Autumn crew, along with Master Chief and his trusty AI Cortana, after the last battle for Reach. In true cosmic horror fashion, the crew crash lands on a seemingly safe construct of a ringworld, where they run into bigger problems than the war against the Covenant, and larger threats than anyone could have imagined.

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This book turned The Flood from just zombie mode in the Halo games to a colossal horror.

7 Ghosts Of Onyx – Eric Nylund

Nylund has been one of the biggest names in the Halo novelization world. He was the one that kicked off the beginning of the series, after all. New York Times bestseller Halo: Ghosts of Onyx sees the government-led Spartan program under a more scrutinous eye now that the public has been made aware of the war going on lightyears above them.

The barren planet of Onyx enters the picture, and the UNSC awakens ancient technology that suddenly half the galaxy is vying for. Only, Onyx might have other plans for itself.


6 New Blood – Matt Forbeck

Halo: ODST was the first game in the mainline Halo series that brought fans a view of the war-stricken world outside of Master Chief’s perspective. While humanity was being protected at large from the Covenant by the Spartans, the shock troopers on the ground were fighting a war of their own against the threats that managed to slip through the cracks and make a successful invasion.

New Blood sees a new problem arise: Master Chief is out of the picture and nowhere to be found. The Covenant war is over, but the UNSC has plans to create a new group of Spartan soldiers.


5 Cryptum – Greg Bear

In 2011, Halo fans were gifted the beginning of a new trilogy in the form of the Forerunner Saga. Cryptum is the story of the Forerunners, the ancient and dominant species that began the building blocks of sentient life. Despite the Forerunners’ successful reign over less technologically and intellectually advanced beings, they vanished without a trace.

In the Halo games, they’re referenced and often mentioned, but no one seems to know what happened. Cryptum explores more into the ancestral backstories of these people and sets up a long-forgotten world for exploration through the lens of literature.


4 Primordium – Greg Bear

This second installment in the Forerunner trilogy is set 100,000 years in the past during the collapse of the Forerunner race. Chakas and Riser are two humans who find themselves captured by the Forerunner, who manage to lose track of the two during a battle.

The two end up on a topsy-turvy world full of grief and suffering, still caught up in a game of intergalactic chess between the Forerunners and the other sentient races that inhabit the far reaches of space. Can two displaced humans find the leap that brings them home?

3 Silentium – Greg Bear

The terrifying race of parasitic monster-like beings known as The Flood is back in the finale of the Forerunner Saga penned by Greg Bear. The Forerunners, still in the midst of their downfall, are now at odds with each other internally, causing rifts within their own faction and leading two Forerunners to reveal everything they know about the Flood and their origins.

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Some Forerunners have taken a stand in hopes that the information they hold might be the key to stopping the infection from overcoming every living being in the galaxy.

2 Evolutions – Tobias Buckell

Including short stories from Karen Traviss, author of the Kilo-Five Trilogy of Halo books, this compilation boasts “Essential Tales From The Halo Universe” right on the cover, and they’re right. Eric Nylund’s short stories in this anthology hit as hard and deep as his original novels, and the volume is packed with both familiar and brand-new names bringing all-new tales and worlds to the series.

Tobias Buckell himself has authored a number of Halo books and is a well-traveled multi-award-winning author.

1 Fractures – Troy Denning

The Fractures anthology of short stories brings back popular Halo book authors like Kelly Gay and Matt Forbeck for a collection of canonical tales from the timeless Halo universe. This compilation gives even more backstory on the Forerunners, as well as the Covenant and their means to bring destruction to all humanity.

Other stories detail the Guardians and the events surrounding their resurrection in a way that the Halo games just haven’t come close to touching on. Fractures is a short story anthology that brings new light to the Halo canon.

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