Today I finally finished Karen Traviss' latest contribution to the Halo universe - The Thursday War. And well, honestly... I have mixed feelings about it.
This book is a sequel to Traviss' "Glasslands" and the second installment to the Kilo-Five trilogy, no BSing around and gets straight into it where Glasslands ends off, but still subtly and slowly linking the two books together for readers who may not have read the previous title.
This is not an action packed book, and is more set around politics than probably any previous Halo book or game in the series. Its the two-faced side of the 92 year old Admiral trying to make it look like shes on the Arbitors side while he faces civil war on his home planet of Sanghelios, but secretly supllying his enemy with the weapons that face him without the UNSCs knowledge. Its all a plot to keep the Sangheili busy enough to stay away from Earth.
But as you slowly find out, theres more to that. Many rules of the peace treaty between Admiral Hood and the Arbitor have already been broken by ONI, one of them being to release all hostages on both sides. ONI are keeping Jul 'Mdama hostage on the planet previously known as Onyx, and have made something important that might wipe the Sangheili out for good without the humans even touching them. It goes back to good old fashion essential supply deprivation and manipulation.
Meanwhile, while Kilo-Five are supplying the Arbitors enemies with ordanance to keep them in conflict, they are also struggling with their own deep personal situations. Naomi, the Spartan-II in Kilo-Five, has finally been told that her father is a rebel terroist against Earth on the belief that his daughter was taken by the government. They face not only Naomis reactions, but have to make a hard desicion on whether to tell her father that he had been right. What will it make him do when he finds out that his daughter, taken at 6 and replaced with a clone that died very soon after, is alive and well? Will he get angrier at Earth and the UNSC? Or be hapy that hes daughter is alive and well and forget the whole thing?
Also a bee on Kilo-Fives bonnet, one of their team members - Phillips - has been lost track of on Sanghelios during an invitation by the Arbitor to explore their home planet. With him, a fragment of the AI Black-Box (BB), who seems to have been majorly damaged after a bomb explosion set off by the Jiralhanae. Back on board Port Stanley, BB must face his own personal challange to reintegrate and with this damaged fragment and face his own past, just as the human amongst Kilo-Five will.
Its these four story paths that drive the whole book and eventually intertwine slowly and fluidly. The book is very well written and broken up.
The only problem I have with it is the fact that it seems to be getting... desperate. The Kilo-Five trilogy are the first novels to come out after the events of Halo 3 and setting the stage for Halo 4, but it seems that the author was looking for reasons for certain events to happen just so it "makes sense" in Halo 4. In the past, the Halo books have been their own story. Coming off certain events and giving background to certain characters. Dont get me wrong, the Kilo-Five trilogy is, at the moment, going very well and is an interesting read. But its seems to be just there to make excuses for the Elites to be turning up again in Halo 4, to keep "the halo feel".
Was 343i scared that if they didnt have the Covernant in the game, that people would be outraged? Because of all the changes they are making to the story and also adding the Prometheans as an entire new enemy, would they feel like they didnt have a certain Halo formula that previous games could relate back to?
We'll soon see. I am very keen for Halo 4, and itll be interesting to see if the Covernant will have any major roll in the story, or are just there to have more guys to shoot at.