The series also has plenty of literature under its belt, with more than thirty books based on the Halo series.
If you are looking to get stuck into the Halo books, then it might be a little difficult to know where to start due to the vast amount of content.
That is where we come in, as we are going to be looking at the order of the Halo books to see if there is a chronological way in which you can read them!
Halo is a popular science fiction first-person shooter video game franchise created by Bungie Studios (for more video game books, read here).
The franchise was first released in 2001 and has since become one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, with over 60 million games sold worldwide (for more video game books, check out our guide to the Mass Effect Series).
The series is set in the 26th century and follows the adventures of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced super soldier, and his artificial intelligence companion Cortana as they fight against a group of alien races known as the Covenant.
The franchise’s central storyline is centered around the discovery of the Halo rings, massive artificial structures that serve as weapons of mass destruction, and the ongoing conflict between humanity and the Covenant over control of these structures.
The books can mostly be read in the order in which they were published, with a few exceptions here and there.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the best order to read the Halo books.
Halo Books In Order
The Fall of Reach details the events leading up to the discovery of the Halo rings, and explores the origin and training of the main protagonist of the Halo franchise, the Master Chief.
- Provides insight into the Halo universe’s backstory and history.
- Establishes the characters and motivations of the Master Chief and other key figures in the Halo franchise.
- The book may be confusing for those unfamiliar with the Halo franchise.
The Flood follows the events of the “Halo: Combat Evolved” story, telling the story of the Master Chief and Cortana as they try to save humanity from the Flood, a highly infectious parasitic life form that threatens to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy.
- Focuses on character development, particularly for the Master Chief and Cortana.
- The book focuses primarily on military action and may not appeal to those looking for more character-driven storytelling.
First Strike takes place between the events of “Halo: Combat Evolved” and “Halo 2.”
The book follows Master Chief and Cortana as they continue their fight against the Covenant.
- Provides further insight into the Halo universe and the events leading up to “Halo 2.”
- May not offer much new information for fans who have already played “Halo 2.”
Ghosts of Onyx focuses on the events surrounding the mysterious Onyx planet and a group of Spartan-IIIs, a special operations unit of super soldiers, as they fight against a new threat from the Covenant and an internal struggle within the UNSC.
- Well-researched military tactics and technology.
- The themes may be too mature for younger audiences.
Contact Harvest takes place in 2525 and focuses on the first human contact with the Covenant on the planet Harvest.
- Introduces key video game characters
- Might be less exciting without the video game visuals
Next up is The Cole Protocol, which focuses on the Office of Naval Intelligence’s efforts to protect the location of Earth from the Covenant, taking readers into previously unexplored elements of the Human-Covenant war.
- Provides on the inner workings of the Office of Naval Intelligence and the UNSC military.
- Limited focus on main characters
This novel is centered around the Elites, a proud and powerful alien species, and their struggle against the Covenant.
The story focuses on the Elite’s quest to find and destroy the Covenant’s super weapon, the Halo Array.
- Insight into the motivations and beliefs of the Elites
- Lack of resolution
This novel follows the adventures of a Spartan-IV soldier named Edward Buck as he attempts to save humanity from the Covenant.
- Strong sense of continuity
- Limited character development for supporting characters
Halo: Hunters in the Dark takes place after the events of Halo 5: Guardians, wherein Master Chief goes missing.
The novel follows a team of both humans and Elite soldiers as they embark on a dangerous mission back to the Ark.
- An intriguing exploration of the Covenant
- Slightly formulaic
Saint’s Testimony focuses on the military-grade artificial intelligence Iona, who has one week left to live due to the UNSC planning to terminate her after seven years so that the threat of data corruption- known as “rampancy”- cannot overcome her.
- Touches on interesting themes, such as the rights of an AI and whether Iona qualifies as being “alive”
- Very short
Last Light focuses on a series of brutal murders that are occurring on the planet Gao around the same time as a UNSC research battalion- protected by the Spartan Blue Team and led by well-known Spartan soldier Spartan- II Fred 104- have arrived.
- Interesting themes such as mystery surrounding the murders and the truth of what is hiding on planet Gao.
- A tad overstuffed
Shadow of Intent takes place during the aftermath of the Covenant war.
The story follows the Arbiter, a former Covenant leader, and the crew of the Shadow of Intent, a Covenant ship.
- Exploration of deeper themes
- Complex backstory
Smoke and Shadow introduces Rion Forge, who is on a mission to find her long-lost father whilst engaging in her profession as a salvager.
- An interesting and complex protagonist in the form of Rion Forge.
- A short novella
Halo: Envoy is set on the planet Carrow six years after the Covenant War and focuses on a new battle that emerges on the edge of the Joint Occupation Zone.
- A deeper look at the factions and politics involved in the post-war conflicts within the Halo universe.
- Limited character diversity
Following on from Last Light, Retribution is set less than a year after the Covenant War ends, wherein the tenuous peace is threatened by a string of particularly violent incidents.
- An interesting look at the instability following the Covenant War
- A confusing story for those not well-versed in the Halo lore.
Legacy of Onyx explores the history and events of the Onyx planet, which is known for its Forerunner technology and its mysterious artificial environment.
- Balances action and character development
- Predictable at times
Following on from Forbeck’s New Blood, Bad Blood continues the story of Edward Buck and his team as they undertake dangerous missions for the UNSC.
- Features the return of Edward Buck, a beloved Halo character
- Intense plot
- A little predictable for experienced sci-fi readers.
Continuing Gay’s 2016 novella Smoke and Shadow, Renegades focuses again on Rion Forge along with the crew of the Ace of Spades as they navigate the post-Covenant war galaxy.
- Unique perspective
- Supporting characters aren’t always well-fleshed out
Continuing Rion’s story, Point of Light focuses on the crew’s commitment to a personal mission that has made them enemies of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
- Gay clearly has a deep understanding of the Halo universe.
- Might be confusing for those who aren’t well-versed in the Halo franchise.
These are the main individual novels in the Halo book series, with the following being books that are part of a larger saga.
So there you have all the Halo books in order, including the novellas and collections of novels that can be found!
Whilst there is no single “right” order in which to read the Halo books, as many of them are standalone stories that do not follow a strict chronological order, you will likely get more out of the science fiction series if you read them in the order that we have mentioned above.
Frequently Asked Questions
u003cstrongu003eWho Wrote The Halo Books? u003c/strongu003e
Many different authors have written books in the Halo series, including Eric Nylund, Kelly Gay, and Matt Forbeck.
u003cstrongu003eAre The Halo Books Suitable For All Ages?u003c/strongu003e
The Halo books contain mature themes, violence, and military language, so the recommended age range is typically 14 and up.