Web-exclusive: “Halo: Silentium” review

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By David Hurtado

In the final years of the Forerunner Ecumene, the galaxy is in a state of capitulation.

The Flood has returned in force, more than 10,000 years after having seemingly been defeated at the hands of humanity. Thousands of systems across the galaxy have been infested by the parasite and an insidious plan 10 million years in the making is finally coming together.

Halo: Silentium picks up right where Primordium left off, with the Forerunners attempting to pick up the pieces in the wake of the attack on the Capital.

Master Builder Faber has been put on trial by the new council for crimes against the Mantle. The Ur-Didact has been abandoned in a flood infested system by the Master Builder. And the Librarian is preparing to depart for Path Kethona (the Large Magellenic Cloud) in the hopes of learning the origins of the Flood.

As the final book in the Forerunner saga, I cannot imagine a more worthy conclusion to the end of the series. The plot was compelling and many of the questions that long plagued me were finally resolved in the pages of this book.

The origins of the Flood are revealed, more light is shed on the still enigmatic Precursor species and we learn why the Ur-Didact seemed to be completely mad in Halo 4. Still, there are questions that are left unanswered.

We don’t know how the Precursors, a Tier 0 civilization, lost to the ancient Forerunners. Nor do the pages disclose any more on the relationship between Forerunners and Humanity; we know they are similar genetically and both products of the Precursors, but that’s about it.

Unlike the previous two installations in the Forerunner saga, Cryptum and Primordium, Silentium has a considerably different narrative style. In lieu of using one or two characters to tell  Silentium’s story, he uses many different voices to spin this tale. Personally, I found it a little difficult to keep track of everything that was going on, with all the different perspectives.

Aside from that, I don’t have many other major complaints. The pacing was excellent in this book. I never found myself bored while reading or utterly overwhelmed with new knowledge. Flipping through the pages, you can almost feel the heightened sense of urgency and suspense of  the Forerunners as the Flood slowly closed in; the twilight of their civilization.

Silentium is an intense read; clocking in at 330 pages, it’s a tad shorter than its two predecessors. However, it forces you to read slowly and carefully; there are many small, yet important details hidden in the pages that are easily overlooked.

If there’s anything that could have been improved upon, it was definitely the ending. There was absolutely no tie in with Halo: Primordium, where 343 Guilty Spark takes control of the ONI prowler in search of the Librarian. In comparison, Silentium’s ending felt weak and ineffectual.

All in all, I give this book a 9/10. With its compelling and cohesive narrative tapestry and fresh insights into Forerunner civilization, I don’t regret reading this for a moment.

Contact David Hurtado, staff reporter, at dhurtado@jccc.edu.

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