The Halo series has an expanded universe chock-full of exciting stories, intriguing lore, and memorable characters. While the games cover a portion of it, the majority of Halo’s expanded universe has been explored through novels. Ever since the first book was published back in 2001, Halo’s book portfolio has swollen to over 30 complete novels and anthologies.
With so many different books out there, it can be tough for a curious Halo fan to know where to start with this side of the franchise. Don’t worry, though, because we’re here with an overview of every single Halo lore novel out there, listed in the optimal order that you should read them in.
Halo: The Fall of Reach
Halo: The Fall of Reach is the first ever Halo novel published, and it contains a wealth of information about the series’ main characters and serves as an excellent entry point for people that want to get into the series’ expanded universe. It’s also one of the first stories in terms of chronological order as well.
Halo: The Fall of Reach is a fantastic starting point for new readers, as it provides context for the universe and introduces many main characters.
Halo: Contact Harvest
Halo: Contact Harvest follows Avery Johnson (as seen in the Halo games) as he leads several UNSC Marines and other rag-tag resistance fighters against the Covenant on the planet Harvest, marking the very first battle of the Human-Covenant War.
Halo: Contact Harvest follows the fan-favorite Sergeant Johnson and his involvement with the beginning of the Human-Covenant War.
Halo: The Cole Protocol
Halo: The Cole Protocol is an interesting novel that follows Jacob Keyes and Thel ‘Vadam prior to their appearances in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, respectively. It also features the SPARTAN-II team Gray Team and the events of the story chronologically line up with Halo: The Fall of Reach.
This novel provides backstory for a few of Halo’s main characters and also features the Spartans of Gray Team.
Halo: Silent Storm
Halo: Silent Storm follows the Master Chief and Blue Team as they attempt to gather vital intelligence about the Covenant during the first year of the Human-Covenant War. Meanwhile, the human Insurrectionist faction attempts to intercept the Spartans.
This tale follows the Master Chief and Blue Team as they gather intel about the Covenant early in the war.
Halo: Oblivion is the sequel to Halo: Silent Storm. In it, Master Chief and Blue Team attempt to steal a frigate from the Covenant while a ruthless Elite Fleetmaster tries to stop and kill them.
This sequel to Halo: Silent Storm follows Master Chief and Blue Team as they attempt to steal a Covenant ship while being pursued by an Elite Fleetmaster.
Halo: Battle Born
Halo: Battle Born follows four teenagers and a Spartan as they work with the rest of the UNSC forces on the planet Meridian to combat the Covenant’s grueling invasion of the planet early on in the war.
This story follows several teenagers and a Spartan as they work with UNSC forces to try to fend off a Covenant invasion.
Halo: Meridian Divide
Halo: Meridian Divide is the direct sequel to Halo: Battle Born, taking place a few months after the Covenant’s invasion is over. The characters from the first story return to Meridian to monitor the Covenant’s efforts to retrieve a piece of Forerunner technology on the planet.
Halo: Meridian Divide follows the characters from Battle Born as they return to Meridian after the Covenant’s invasion.
Halo: The Flood
Halo: The Flood is, for all intents and purposes, a novelization of the first Halo game, Halo: Combat Evolved. Some interesting subplots are introduced alongside the Master Chief’s perspective, fleshing out the events that take place in the game as a result.
This novel takes place during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and fleshes out the game’s story with new subplots from various characters.
Halo: First Strike
Halo: First Strike is set between the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, and tells the story of how the Master Chief managed to make his way back to Earth, encountering new friends and dangerous foes along the way.
This book takes place between Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 and explains how Master Chief made his way back to Earth from Installation 04.
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx is a novel that focuses primarily on the secretive Office of Naval Intelligence and how the SPARTAN-III program began, while also following the story of a skilled and cunning Covenant Elite. Some of the plot also lines up with the events of Halo 2.
Lining up with the events of Halo 2, Ghosts of Onyx explores the start of the SPARTAN-III program and actions taken by ONI.
Halo: Broken Circle
Halo: Broken Circle is a deep and thought-provoking novel that focuses on when the Covenant was founded and provides amazing context for the series’ infamous alien menace. Certain parts of it also line up with the events of Halo 2 like Ghosts of Onyx does. Overall, if you love the Covenant, this book is for you.
Halo: Broken Circle is a Covenant-focused book that explores how the Covenant was formed.
Halo: Hunters in the Dark
Set directly after the events of Halo 3 in the Post-War era, Hunters in the Dark follows a coalition of humans and Elites as they travel to the Ark to stop a mysterious activation of the Halo rings.
Hunters in the Dark follows a coalition of humans and Elites as they move to stop the sudden threat of a Halo ring activation.
Halo: Glasslands follows up on story threads from Ghosts of Onyx while also featuring the secret ONI team Kilo-Five as they go undercover in Elite territory following the end of the Human-Covenant War.
Halo: Glasslands introduces Kilo-Five and shows the tension between different Elite groups following the end of the Human-Covenant War.
Halo: The Thursday War
This sequel to Halo: Glasslands follows Kilo-Five as they get caught in the middle of an emerging Civil War being fought by the Elites on their homeworld, Sanghelios.
The Thursday War sees Kilo-Five get stuck in the middle of an Elite Civil War that breaks out on Sanghelios.
Halo: Mortal Dictata
The final Kilo-Five novel focuses on a rebel force on the planet Venezia that plans to threaten Earth. Additionally, one of the planet’s most prominent arms dealers has an unusual connection to Kilo-Five’s SPARTAN-II Naomi-010 that is explored in the novel.
The final Kilo-Five novel sees the squad encounter Venezian rebels and make discoveries about how one of the planet’s arms dealers is connected to the team’s Spartan, Naomi-010.
Halo: New Blood
Halo: New Blood is the spiritual successor to Halo 3: ODST, focusing on the actions of the ODST squad Alpha-Nine during and after the war with the Covenant.
This novel follows the ODST squad of Alpha-Nine during and after the Covenant war.
Halo: Last Light
This story is a detective-themed tale set on the planet Gao. The Spartans of Blue Team work together with investigator Veta Lopis to try and uncover the culprits behind several murders on the colony world.
Last Light is a detective story that features Blue Team and investigator Veta Lopis working together to investigate murders on Gao.
In this sequel to Halo: Last Light, Veta Lopis works with covert SPARTAN-IIIs and Blue Team to try and identify the assassin of a UNSC Admiral.
This sequel to Last Light sees Blue Team and Veta Lopis try to discover who assassinated a UNSC Admiral.
Halo: Envoy is a dramatic action thriller set several years after the Human-Covenant War, in which humans and Elites attempt to negotiate peace on a colony world that both groups live on.
Halo: Envoy is a Post-War novel that follows humans and Elites as they try to live together on a fringe colony world.
Halo: Legacy of Onyx
Halo: Legacy of Onyx follows teenager Molly Patel and her peers as they adapt to living on the Forerunner Shield-World of Onyx, all while a Covenant splinter faction threatens the safety of the planet.
Legacy of Onyx is a unique, emotional story that tells the tale of a teenager trying to survive on the alien world of Onyx while threatened by Covenant remnants.
Halo: Smoke and Shadow
Halo: Smoke and Shadow focuses on the daughter of Halo Wars’ John Forge, Rion Forge, as she sets out to discover what happened to her father and the UNSC Sprit of Fire.
Smoke and Shadow follows Rion Forge as she attempts to find out what happened to her father and the Spirit of Fire.
This sequel to Halo: Smoke and Shadow follows Rion Forge as she and the crew of her ship, the Ace of Spades, continue to look for the Spirit of Fire. However, both ONI and Covenant remnant forces are on their tail.
Halo: Renegades continues the story of Rion Forge as she searches for her father, with ONI and Covenant remnants hot on her heels.
Halo: Bad Blood
Halo: Bad Blood is the sequel to Halo: New Blood, taking place after the events of Halo 5: Guardians. The story sees Edward Buck, now a SPARTAN-IV, reform the ODST squad Alpha-Nine and go on a mission to discover how an Insurrectionist-controlled colony world has avoided detection by Cortana and the Created.
Bad Blood follows Edward Buck and the rest of Alpha-Nine as they reunite to try and discover how a planet has hidden from the Created.
Halo: Shadows of Reach
Halo: Shadows of Reach follows Master Chief and Blue Team as they return to the glassed planet of Reach following Cortana’s takeover of the galaxy. The Spartans’ mission is to retrieve an important asset on the planet while being careful to avoid detection by the Created.
Shadows of Reach precedes Halo Infinite and follows Master Chief and Blue Team as they retrieve an important asset from Reach.
Halo: Evolutions is a massive anthology containing countless short-stories that focus on all kinds of eras, settings, and characters within the Halo universe. This is a book that every Halo fan should read, especially since some of the stories tie into the other books in this list.
Halo: Evolutions features a wide selection of various short stories that flesh out the Halo universe.
Halo: Fractures is the spiritual successor to Halo: Evolutions, as it’s also a large anthology filled with plenty of interesting short stories. Like Evolutions, many of the tales are related to other Halo novels.
Halo: Fractures is a collection of short stories like Halo: Evolutions that covers interesting side stories that help contextualize the Halo universe.
Halo: Cryptum is the first book in the Forerunner Trilogy of novels and follows both an adolescent Forerunner and the Didact during the Forerunner-Flood War, countless eras prior to the events of the Halo games and other Halo books.
Halo: Cryptum focuses on the Forerunners and the Forerunner-Flood War that precedes the rest of the Halo story.
The second Forerunner Trilogy novel is focused on an ancient human known as Chakas. The story explores his journey across the massive Installation 07 Halo ring, also known as Zeta Halo. This is significant, as Zeta Halo is confirmed to be the primary setting for Halo Infinite.
The second book in the Forerunner Trilogy follows an ancient human named Chakas as he travels Zeta Halo.
The final Forerunner Trilogy novel is centered around the closing years of the Forerunner-Flood War and how the Forerunners were ultimately forced to fire the Halo rings in order to stop the Flood.
The final novel in the Forerunner Trilogy covers the end of the war with the Flood and how the Forerunners were forced to use the Halo rings.
What do you think of the Halo novels? Have you read any? If not, are you planning on reading some? Let me know. They’re a great way to pass the time while waiting for Halo Infinite! If you’re looking for more on Halo’s full story, don’t miss my Halo Story Timeline series of articles that cover the major events in the universe at great length.
If you’d prefer to pass the time with a Halo game instead, look no further than Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC). It includes all of the pre-Xbox One Halo shooters as well as Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary, all for an amazing price. Also, the game greatly improved over the course of 2020.
The MCC is available for $40 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 PCs. You should absolutely try it out if you haven’t already, as it has become one of the best Xbox One shooters over the years.
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This post was written by Brendan Lowry and was first posted to WindowsCentral
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