Read Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear Online


100,000 years ago, the galaxy was populated by a great variety of beings. But one species--eons beyond all others in both technology and knowledge--achieved dominance. They ruled in peace but met opposition with quick and brutal effectiveness. They were the Forerunners--the keepers of the Mantle, the next stage of life in the Universe's Living Time.And then they vanished.100,000 years ago, the galaxy was populated by a great variety of beings. But one species--eons beyond all others in both technology and knowledge--achieved dominance. They ruled in peace but met opposition with quick and brutal effectiveness. They were the Forerunners--the keepers of the Mantle, the next stage of life in the Universe's Living Time.And then they vanished. This is their story.Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting is a young rebellious Forerunner. He is a Manipular, untried--yet to become part of the adult Forerunner society, where vast knowledge and duty waits. He comes from a family of Builders, the Forerunners' highest and most politically powerful rate. It is the Builders who create the grand technology that facilitates Forerunner dominance over the known universe. It is the Builders who believe they must shoulder the greatest burden of the Mantle--as shepherds and guardians of all life.Bornstellar is marked to become a great Builder just like his father.But this Manipular has other plans.He is obsessed with lost treasures of the past. His reckless passion to seek out the marvelous artifacts left behind by the Precursors--long-vanished superbeings of unknowable power and intent---forces his father's hand.Bornstellar is sent to live among the Miners, where he must come to terms with where his duty truly lies.But powerful forces are at play. Forerunner society is at a major crux. Past threats are once again proving relentless. Dire solutions--machines and strategies never before contemplated--are being called up, and fissures in Forerunner power are leading to chaos.On a Lifeworker's experimental planet, Bornstellar's rebellious course crosses the paths of two humans, and the long lifeline of a great military leader, forever changing Bornstellar's destiny ...and the fate of the entire galaxy.Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear is a tale of life, death, intergalactic horror, exile, and maturity. It is a story of overwhelming change--and of human origins. For the Mantle may not lie upon the shoulders of Forerunners forever....

Title : Halo: Cryptum
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765323965
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Halo: Cryptum Reviews

  • Travis O.
    2019-04-21 02:12

    Halo: Cryptum ReviewPrequels tend to suck. That’s a fact that many a fan has had to deal with when reconciling unwelcome additions to their favorite franchises; the on-going chagrin for the Star Wars prequels is telling enough, but even more recent reactions to the Star Trek and Spider Man origin story rehashes (addendum: similar complaints are rumbling about The Man of Steel) remind us that, especially where highly elaborate fiction is involved, ignorance really can be bliss. Don’t take me wrong: surrounding a story in un-created space is akin to drowning it in negligence, but structured, intentional mystery is a welcome and necessary function of the appeal for many genre stories. It is surprising then that 343 Studios, which now controls and operates the Halo license, decided to abandon all of that mysterious charm and publish a trilogy of books that flesh out and characterize the climactic moments of the ancient inception point: the creation of the titular Halos that form the grounds for all subsequent conflicts in the series. And, perhaps not unexpectedly, the first entry in the trilogy stumbles pretty hard.Now, it is certainly pertinent to admit that my experience with Greg Bear, the author of the Forerunner trilogy, is limited. I own several of his books, but, despite having won a plethora of Hugos and Nebulas, I’ve never felt compelled to pull one of his novels off my shelf and crack it open. Among all of my science fiction fan friends, I’ve never once had a recommendation to read a Greg Bear book--in fact, I’m the only one who owns a Bear book, to my knowledge. So I have to acknowledge that going into reading Halo: Cryptum, I was more a bit suspicious of the “star power” that 343 had been boasting since signing Bear up to write. I can safely report that the book is competently written, and successfully employs an appropriately immense scope to qualify for the Halo moniker. That’s a good start; from the outset I was curious to see where his colorful, highly personal prose was going, because it doesn’t start where you’d expect a Halo novel to begin.Indeed, Cryptum is set 100,000 years in the past--specifically just a few years before Forerunner empire is set to implode under the encroaching pressures of the parasitic Flood. It also stars, as its main focal point, a young Forerunner named Bornstellar-Makes-Eternal-Lasting, rated as a Manipular in the Builder Caste, sent to serve with Miners after failing to live up to the standards of his Second-Form father, who is a close associate of the Master Builder. Now, the untrained eye likely gave up on that last sentence, but it is a good representation of the level of jargon that clutters Cryptum’s guts. This is what I consider to be the most fundamental flaw of the book and the one that I want to discuss first and foremost, since what lies beyond the language barrier is a perfectly acceptable space-adventure novel with just enough familiar elements to tie it into the Halo milieu. Bear pulls no punches; the book is written in a limited first person voice that attempts to pass the jargon off naturally, and he does a commendable job of doing just that. However, that doesn’t mean it is enjoyable to have to constantly parse a section for relatable meaning. In seeking to make the Forerunner less mysterious and more comprehensible, the use of Jargon succeeds in a Frankenstein of success and alienating distancing.That factor brings me to a second criticism that stuck with me throughout the novel. I consider it one of the cardinal rules of writing to never write from a non-human perspective. Being a human, and a man at that, I find it nearly impossible to authentically empathize with a non-human (and sometimes even non-male) being; I lack the equipment to do a genuine job of it, and any attempt will necessarily result in a bad analogue. My experiences are colored by my brain’s perceptions of the world and my local-ephemeral context, which means that I can sympathize, for example, with a hungry dog, I can’t really know what it’s like to be hungry for a dog. I can relate my experience to this other animal and assume equanimity in the vacuous feeling of not eating, but it isn’t a 1:1 match, and never can be. Likewise, to be frank and perhaps offensive, I can sympathize with menstrual cramps, having been kicked in the ‘nads before, but I only have ovary-analogues which lead a necessarily distinct pain from that which a woman suffers. I can’t empathize with something that I am not, and empathizing with an alien being, which hails from a civilization not thousands of years old, but millions, is far beyond my frame of reference. It seems, by that reckoning, ridiculous to write from the perspective of such a being, and indeed I would argue that it is an injustice to the fiction to assume that Forerunner mentality is so familiar to our own that it can be so casually assumed by a human audience.The jargon, therefore, attempts to validate that empathic void left by the alien narrator’s fundamental difference from a human perspective, but it is an improper and exceptionally limited illusion. Once the real-world analogue to these concepts is internalized, they become silly, colorful synonyms that clutter the text rather than develop the character of the Forerunner civilization; I tended to read it like I do highly politicized speech: fancy words that obfuscate meaning, rather than convey nuance. I don’t like books that do that (and I’m drawing a line here between Shakespeare, which is prosey and artistic, and a modern day romance writer who bedecks the work in violet metaphor for the sole sake of drawing out the word count); I like my plot complex and rich, not the nonsense fantasy vocabulary that overlays it. Character motivation is much more important to me than the nomenclature of a character’s armor and its components.Thankfully, there is character to be had in Cryptum. It just isn’t enough to overcome the sour impression of the jargon-filled pages. As mentioned before, the book tells the story of Bornstellar-Makes-Eternal-Lasting, a Forerunner Manipular (read: child) of the builder caste (read: wealthy architectural/scholarly class) from Bornstellar’s perspective. It opens with him on Erde-Tyrene (read: Earth), crossing a sea to visit an island that his ancilla (read: AI) told him held clues to finding the Oraganon (read: buried treasure). In essence, this is a book about a young man searching for treasure. He brings with him Chakas and Riser (a “florian,” or “hobbit”; click here for more actual information on this real life (but extinct) hominid), two humans who behave very strangely when they reach the strange ring-shaped island where once Riser’s family made its home. Indeed, we learn that these two humans have a “geas” or a god-given fate to call forth the great treasure Bornstellar is after. Thus comes the titular Cryptum, wherein lies the Didact in his dreaming un-death. Ugh. The purple prose.All of this requires enormous context to understand, but it happens very quickly in the book; what is related above is just the first half of the first act within the novel. Because Riser and Chakas are ignorant, filthy little humans, Bornstellar has no one to discuss these concepts through dialogue: no audience stand-in, and so much of the necessary back-story comes through often clumsy info-dumps that take the form of imaginative and introspective soliloquies that spring ex nihilo. For big fans of the franchise, these will read like nuggets of gold, for sure; they hearken back to the Terminals that are scattered through the Halo games’ campaigns. But as a literary function, I found the writing in that regard to be sloppy and ugly. It has the effect of drawing out what was, in reality, a very brief period of time within the novel into a long and dry side-bar.Once the Didact is awakened and restored to healthy strength, he kidnaps Bornstellar and his human companions and drags them around the galaxy on some unknown mission. During this odyssey, Bear stretches his sci-fi legs; we hear of enormous battles filled with thousands of ships, of solar-system sized quarantines fenced off by trillions of drones swimming in and out of slipspace (read: hyperspace), and of the true might of the Forerunner Civilization. A lot of what fills the second half of Halo: Cryptum is genuinely fun. It’s a swashbuckling space adventure, wherein a band of hapless heroes undertake a quest they don’t truly understand. Bornstellar’s ignorance relative to the ancient Didact flips the novel on its head; his smarmy know-everything attitude that colors him wise at the beginning is soon revealed to be a sham: he’s a twelve-year old (literally (in earth years? Not sure)) compared to the Didact’s ten thousand year life, the last thousand of which has been spent in near-death suspension within the Cryptum. The concepts get big and broad, as befits a Halo novel, but, unlike my experience with the extraterrestrial conglomerate, the Covenant, which serves as the antagonist in other Halo books, the more I learned of the Forerunner culture the less interesting I found it.In very brief, Forerunner civilization is a distended, time-dilated amalgam of caste-based life and pseudo-democracy. Their reach spans more than three million worlds, and tens of millions of years; they’ve noted more than 127 species of intelligent life and waged a wild, reckless battle with the ancestors to Humans. Yet, each Forerunner we meet appears to be a total self-centered schemer, or else a hopelessly romantic ignoramus lost in the “glory days.” And we do meet precious few; there are no teeming cities filled with Forerunners, no city-ships akin to Iain Bank’s GSV’s which house hundreds of millions of souls. Indeed, for a massive, nearly omnipotent civilization, the Forerunner are remarkably absent from their own affairs. The effect reminded me of the representation of Asgard from the 2011’s Thor: a rich set of splendid structures utterly devoid of a real populace. That’s lame. Forerunner civilization lacks the impressive strides taken to flesh out and characterize the other races within Halo. It’s almost as if they’re already dead.As a reader, it made the entire episode feel melodramatic; whenever the “Forerunner civilization” was threatened, especially in the climactic final chapters, I had no stake in the game. There was no Thessia, crisscrossed with beautiful amphibious cities, no Vavitch Orbital that hadn’t yet evacuated its half-oblivious populous. Just empty halls as crypt-like as they are in the Halo games themselves.So, while the book is a competent novel, it lacks the character and personality present in many of the other, earlier novels, and doesn’t hold a candle to the first entry in Karen Traviss’ Halo: Glasslands, which is the first in another trilogy within the series. I can’t help but think that Bornstellar is something of a wasted opportunity, for all of his intrigue and Bear’s genuine skill in building him out to be a living narrator goes to waste on a story that feels at once distended and over-thin. Indeed, having read so many other game books for the Games as Lit podcast, I find it hard to believe that this wasn’t a committee-chosen contract job. It takes many of the right steps towards a genuinely interesting, but it feels machined rather than crafted. For example the Forerunner perspective seems angled specifically to introduce and crash-course readers in Forerunner jargon to prepare them for Halo 4. A human’s perspective--especially a diminished Human--would have a similar perspective of the Forerunner from that of the current characters: that they’re aloof, long-lived demigods parading in armor and playing out their arcane politics on the scale of galaxies. And to an extent, that is true even with Bornstellar as a narrator. I just couldn’t really come to grips with the justifications for how Forerunners treat one another, or why such a massive civilization has the problems that it apparently does.I find it a shame that the book leaves such a bad first impression, but I can’t help but feel that this is the final product of some calculated committee that was tasked with deciding how the book would pan out. It is an acceptable read that doesn’t know how to unravel its own mysteries with anything like the grace of the first three games. Thankfully, Cryptum is part of a trilogy with an arc most fans already understand. That gives Bear what I think is a considerable advantage; the first book can (and is) largely an introductory but expendable installation used to set the stakes. By Cryptum’s end, players are familiar with the expanse of Forerunner civilization and power, however, ridiculous, and with the basic politics of the events that lead up to the rings being fired and the Forerunners being eliminated. Aya.

  • Fred Hughes
    2019-03-27 04:21

    This is the start of a trilogy detailing the rise of the Forerunners in the Halo world. The first book is by Greg Bear as is the second.In this start to the Forerunner Saga we meet a very young Forerunner named Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting who just can’t sit still it appears. He is obsessed with the past and sneaks away to look for lost treasures. Contrary to his Dad’s instructions he strikes out for a planet called Erde-Tyrene where it is rumoured that ancient Forerunner and Precursor technology lies waiting to be discovered. Bornstellar finds two humans that are willing to take him to a special place that is hidden from direct site either on land or from the air.There the young Forerunner activates an ancient cryptum that contains a warrior who has been asleep for over a thousand years.Soon Bornstellar and his two human guides are on a ship with the warrior and on their way to stop a plot to destroy the centre of Forerunner Technology. Along the way Bornstellar is linked to the warrior as he mutates to a higher state in the Forerunner hierarchy.Great forces are at odds with the Forerunner political elite and we are introduced to not only Halo and what they were created for, but also the background to the Flood, and the Ark.This book is a great start to describing in more detail how the Forerunner dominance of space occurred and who their enemies were. I can’t wait to get a copy of the second book which came out this month (January 2012)

  • J.
    2019-03-29 05:13

    ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS AGO, the galaxy was populated by a great variety of beings. But one species—eons beyond all the others in both technology and knowledge—achieved dominance. They ruled in peace but met opposition with quick and brutal effectiveness. They were the Forerunners—the keepers of the Mantle, the next stage of life in the Universe’s Living Time. And then they vanished.This is their story.” – from the back cover of Halo: CryptumThis book has started me on a great reading journey. The embarrassing fact is that I picked this up simply because it was a Halo book by a major science fiction writer. I’ve ever read any Greg Bear material until this book. I knew of his work and knew that he was widely read. Halo Cryptum was a great entry work into a a great writer.Greg Bear’s ability to frame cosmic level events and actions into a tangible form is stunning. Halo: Cryptum has the forerunners as its primary characters. If you’re not a Halo fan, you should know that the Forerunners presence is ubiquitous in the Halo games but that none of the characters in the games are of that race . . . the Forerunners died out millennium ago and we are just discovering their impact and technology. Halo: Cryptum is the start of this back story. The Forerunners are characters that are nearly immortal and their reach is galactic in scope. Creating a book that has humans as only peripheral elements and that the main characters are immortal and almost god-like makes a major difficulty in establishing story. Story is usually defined around the limits and dangers of humanity . . . death and our inability to actually do much beyond our physical bodies. Greg Bear does a phenomenal effort in bridging this gap and creating a god-like creature of a god-like race and making you care about him. The story is told from a young Forerunner (only a few centuries have passed). Like most youngsters, he’s brash and unsure of his future.There are significant plot elements that happen early on in the book and it is difficult to discuss the various points of the story without giving away too much. If you want a plot review (full of spoilers), visit Halo Nation’s review. Simply to say, the scope of the story is vast . . . crossing galactic spaces with ease. The events that happen are excellent. Only rarely does Bear seem to falter in explaining such cosmic concepts. He does a remarkable job overall and those few areas with the technical detail begins to build too much are rare.My one primary issue is the length of the book and the ending point. It is stated early on that this is the first novel of a series. When I put the book down, I was sure that Greg Bear submitted his original manuscript, the publisher wanting some additional income, said, “Hmmm. tell you what — let’s make this three novels, make the font bigger, and make three times as much money. Good job, Mr. Bear.” This book starts and the last page appears before the book has even developed. This isn’t even a first act– it’s the first three scenes of the first act. I’m seeing this trend more and more in books and it concerns me. It’s harder to find the large tomes of Rowling and King length. Instead, publishers are providing the big tomes into multiple novels, creating a serial type reading effect. It’s irritating at the least. I doubt it’s Bear’s fault– the plotting feels distinctly as if it was cut off mid-action and a chopped paragraph to summarize and link to the next novel was inserted at the end as a last second thought.Knowing this now, I would’ve purchased this as an e-book instead of in the store. It’s a great book but I’m not sure that it’s length justifies the hardcover price. A $9.99 Kindle price seems much more favorable and justifiable. This book was definitely engaging enough that I turned around and picked up Eon by Greg Bear and read that cover to cover in two days. And the journey rolled out from there.

  • Richard A.
    2019-04-09 01:57

    Greg Bear completely destroyed my fond ideology of an advanced, peaceful and selfless alien society in this book by interpreting the Forerunners as a species more closely resembling modern day humans with an appetite for politics, control and war. Mindless techno babble dominates seemingly every page as if readers are engineer experts on this fictional technology. Lack of a antagonist makes for a boring read as well as the awkward historical revelations of humankind's war with the Forerunner's which states Humans to be the Forerunners' greatest foe ever to be faced despite the fact all humans are some how captured by the Forerunners and dumbed down by genetically reversing evolution and splitting species. Let's face it, when it comes to Halo we want action, naval battles and righteous warriors facing nihilistic odds of survival.

  • Travis L.
    2019-03-30 06:17

    I had the hardest time following this storyline. I love Halo and was particularly interested in the Forerunner Saga, but lord does this book have a high learning curve. There are times where I would get so frustrated with all these unexplained (and conveniently Alien named) objects that my imagination would be working overtime in order to create an image of what the author was trying to write about. The best I can say about this book is that it takes work to read, even for me and I have a fantastic imagination.Perhaps if I read more of Greg Bear I'd be more used to his imagery.

  • Callum Shephard
    2019-03-29 04:17

    Halo: Cryptum is a hard book to review as there is a lot here to both praise and criticise. On the one hand it is well written, has a good pace, had likable characters and feels like the beginnings of a complex science fiction trilogy. On the other it introduces a lot of elements which serve little purpose in the overall universe, is utterly disconnected to the Covenant war and in all honesty seems like it’s Halo in name only.As you might have guessed from the cover, the book looks into the lives of the Forerunners, the mysterious race who created Guilty Spark and the titular halo devices seen in the video games. In this case the book specifically follows the tale of one of the race, Born (Born Stellar Makes Eternal Lasting), who records the final years of his species’ existence. While this will likely answer a lot of questions about the games over time all I kept asking while reading it was “Do we really need to know this?”The Forerunners were like Mass Effect’s Protheans. They’re a long dead race of aliens who we know little about and were involved in a major event which threatened the very existence of the galaxy itself. This works well on its own, expanding upon their lives removes a lot of the mystery behind them which makes their civilisation so interesting. If this was not bad enough there are many aspects relating to humanity which are quickly brought up, we have seen no sign of until now, and actually had me stop to check I had the right book only a few pages in. Yes, humanity is in this and yes they feel very out of place but it gets much stranger later on, trust me.To give the book some credit the story itself is very well written. As the book is told through a first person narrative from Born the reader gets a good feel of how different his species from humanity without pages being spent trying to show just how alien they are. The only problem with this is that the style in which the first person narrative is written can be initially off-putting, helped in no small part by the author, Greg Bear, spending little time easing the reader into the novel. Bear in mind the book opens up with a Forerunner standing on a steamship filled with choirs, a crew of human subspecies going over a sea of kraken. Did I mention this doesn’t feel something from Halo?It doesn’t get any easier to read in chapters following this, all of them feel slow and plodding, before thankfully picking up once the first big reveal is made. From there on it starts to get very interesting, expanding greatly upon the Forerunners and, despite the lack of action, has a feeling of major events being in motion. This is primarily due to the frequent hints about the Flood and the exploration of that antagonist’s origins.This is a book which was enjoyable but it might have been better suited as a standalone series rather than a prequel to Halo. If you can manage a number of odd creative choices, major changes to the history of a number of species, big reveals and fewer explosions than usual, you might want to give this one a shot. If you’re a Halo fan who wants to preserve the sense of mystery behind the Forerunners and is more interested in the war between the UNSC and Covenant, then I’d suggest buying the novel Ghosts of Onyx over this. One final warning I will give about Cryptum is that it’s not something you can read casually. Despite the short chapters and large font you need to concentrate to read this one, it did prove to be hard to focus on events taking place in the novel. It’s nowhere near as hard to follow as Frank Herbert’s later Dune novels or similar stuff, but it’s much harder to follow than other Halo novels like The Cole Protocol.

  • Rebeca
    2019-04-08 21:54

    Halo is probably among my most important and influential science fiction epics. If I hadn't played the original trilogy as a child, I don't think I'd be into science fiction at all, let alone have it be my genre of choice as a writer.A lot of what makes Halo great is the lore, the size and scale of the universe and the depth of the characters and their actions. So going into the backstory of the Forerunners--arguably one of the many great mysteries that hold up the original trilogy--is a bit risky.I'm actually surprised this book came out before Halo 4. It feels like I wouldn't have enjoyed the game nor this book as much if I'd read Cryptum before playing H4. I was not expecting the Didact to show up, let alone to find out his true relationship with the Librarian. (Which is actually kind of awesome, in my opinion).Greg Bear is a great writer. Though he's already established himself in the sci-fi community, this is the first time I've ever read anything from his, and I'm glad he was given the chance to explore the Forerunners. The book's best moments are toward the end, when Bornstellar actually experiences the change brought on by the mutation the Didact forced him to go through, and when it gets to some of the backstory of the Halo constructions, it does feel pretty incredible. The book does have some problems though. Even as a Halo fan it took me a while to really get into the beginning, as I wasn't sure how long ago in the past this was taking place in or what events had or hadn't occurred already. (Like, yeah, I knew it was a prequel, but how far into the last era of the forerunners was this taking place in--that had been my main question). The pace is also a tad on the slow side, which is difficult to really get into when Halo's built a reputation as a story that's constantly in motion, wars breaking out, terror everywhere, the need of a hero, you get the gist.And we did not need to wait 260+ pages for a female character who was a) not related to Bornstellar, b) an A.I. of an armor, and c) actually named. Glory of a Far Dawn is a pretty cool action girl, but he does seem to admire her and praise the simplest of her actions too much. It's like, book, I know she's cool. If you actually let me see her, I'll see she's cool. You don't need to overdo it for me.Biggest problem is that Cryptum very much feels like the set-up for something bigger. It's a great set-up, mind you, but even the first part of a prequel trilogy needs to stand on its own, some way or another. But at least I am definitely excited to read the other two books. This isn't an easy story to tackle, but it's certainly worth the effort.And the ending is so jaw dropping good that I'm awarding it an extra star. The last 100 pages or so really spike up in quality, action, and character development. I have a newfound appreciation for the Halo 4 plot now that I've been given a closer look at its origins.It really is incredible.(Oh, but I would NOT recommend it to people who aren't Halo fans. You are going to be wayyyy lost if you've never played the games. As for the fans: Go right ahead and dive in. I hope you like it. I certainly enjoyed it~)

  • Will Johnson
    2019-03-31 06:10

    With the exception of a final 20 pages in which the plot gets a bit too heavy, the complexities get too, well, complex, and the motivations get confusing, this book is a science fiction tour de force.Greg Bear wisely decided to get involved with the portion of the Halo property that is virtually undefined. This way he can utilize his very unique writing style and his excellent world building skills without damaging the 'canon' of the Halo games.Consider the Halo games main storyline is a jumbled mess of confusion, Bear gets to basically tell a different Halo story from the beginning (or, the middle, I guess, as the video games would be the Third Age of Halo, if I can steal a Babylon 5/Tolkien phrase).A lot of people have complained about the elaborate names and such but they didn't bother me. And I've learned with Greg Bear to just be patient and everything will make sense. Bear is an exceptional writer who doesn't shy away from complexity and hard science fiction. . .so sometimes things can get a bit technical or dense. But he always finds a way to make it work and to provide a summary and/or conclusion of sorts to explain to the reader who may be behind.This, along with Star Wars Rogue Planet, is probably Bear's most accessible work as Bear deals with high concept hard science fiction. It's nice to see him tackle a space battle, including a marvelous one towards the end when a Halo tears apart and an entire ocean and mountain range starts flying everywhere in space.But at it's core, Cryptum is about characters and Bear has always been a good character guy. I bought this book purely because of him because, frankly, I find Halo books to be insufferable and awful. He makes me want to replay the games and see the backstory behind the environments in the game. That's probably the best thing you can say about a media-tie in book.

  • Tina
    2019-04-04 02:20

    I really enjoyed this book when I first started reading it, because it was different in tone and style from all the other Halo books I've been (devotedly) reading. The only problem was about halfway through when it started to get a little dry. I just found that Bornstellar wasn't the most engaging of characters. He was more interesting when he was confused, because he had emotions even if they weren't very deep ones (like curiosity or the need to rebel), and when he started to change and became more passive he grew more and more boring. And when the two human characters left the scene, a lot of the life left the story as well. Maybe it's just his style of writing, but I found the battle scenes to be a little dull as well. I confess to rushing through the last thirty pages. Bear is definitely a different kind of writer than the Halo series usually employs, and I liked that aspect, but I find him a little dry (and given that I read a lot of Victorian novels, when I say dry I mean "desert sands" kinda dry) and not as engaging as I'd wished. Oh well! I'll still read the other two.

  • Michael Castro
    2019-03-28 23:12

    This book is the prequel to the Halo series, and to the Halo universe in general. "Halo: Cryptum" explains the Forerunner race, the Didact who appears in the Halo games, and what we thought was the beginning of mankind. I would recommend this book again to anybody who is interested in the history of the Halo games, wants to know what happened before the first books, and possibly anybody who just wants to read a good book. This book would probably be confusing for anybody who hasn't played the games or read the books. The detail and visualization this book gives you is incredible, just like the other books. The only reason that it is not a 5/5, is because it drags out some scenes, making them relatively boring.

  • Brad Hotelling
    2019-04-14 03:02

    Halo Cryptum was first shown to me through a friend. I am a fan of the Halo series and i wanted to see what it was like. The book take place thousands of years before the main Halo Series, it is through the perspective of the Forerunners (a long dead race during the original halo series). The Forerunners are dealing with some problems at which if left unchecked would bring ruin to their civilization and way of life. At first I struggled to get through the first couple of pages which turned me off to the book. After a couple of months went by i finally brought myself to read the book. I found the book very enjoyable after the first few pages.

  • Mack
    2019-04-14 03:16

    A wonderful addition to the origins of the Halo Universe. The novel goes deeper into the history of the Forerunners and sheds some light on my key elements to the Halo storyline. In addition, other mysteries are unraveled, such as the beginning of the Flood outbreak and the appearance of the Halo superweapons. I cannot wait for book two.

  • mookie kong
    2019-03-31 06:18

    Not bad. A good addition to the Halo universe and a good start for the history of what happened before the events of the Halo games. The book starts off a bit slow, but quickly picks up pace. At the end, I found myself wanting to learn more.

  • Emir Girgin
    2019-04-25 06:09

    First book of the trilogy, it's mostly about the character introductions, and the state of the galaxy at the time. It also includes some of the events leading up to the time of the book. A good read for those who're interested in the forerunners and the creation of halos

  • David
    2019-04-19 04:59

    This is a combined review of all three of Greg Bear's Forerunner Saga novels and is the same for all.I thoroughly enjoyed Bear's fleshing out of the Forerunner backstory to the HALO games. He weaves a rich tapestry of the Forerunner caste society, its achievements and flaws, its greatness and its limitations. Of millennia-old plots and plans, and of how the longer those plots and plans run, the more they mutate beyond the control of the original authors. Of the shortsightedness of blind loyalty, and the rarity of true deep-time visionaries of any race and the cursed burden of futility that breaks nearly all of them.But finally, there is the marvelous subtext that human life will find a way, that humanity will always rise up from the depths and take or resume its place among the stars... even if it needs a helping hand from those nearly forgotten visionaries of another race.Perhaps the best review I can give is that the novels leave me thoughtful and contemplative.

  • Robert
    2019-03-31 23:06

    Dreadful.The protagonist is luggage floating in a sea of exposition, carried along by currents of mysterious origin, achieving nothing, influencing nothing. Despite the huge wodges of exposition, I was still completely baffled by the the denouement, having very little idea of who was doing what or why.Just a huge waste of time. Presumably the Xbox game can't be this dull?I long since gave up paying for books by Bear but at this point I think I will give up even reading him for free.

  • Hugo
    2019-03-28 02:05

    meta-game on pointgood tie-ins to the rest of the series. Initially hard to place locations and ideas, but consistent with the idea of an alien species

  • Dave Brink
    2019-04-02 04:12

    This is an awesome book for an awesome writer. I purchased the book and once I finished it I purchased the audiobook and I've listened to it a dozen times. Excellent from start to finish.

  • Caleb Platt
    2019-04-20 02:53

    This book was surprisingly good. If you like halo I would highly suggest giving it a read. Even if you've never heard of halo you can easily pick this book up and understand whats going on.

  • Gavin Bethea
    2019-04-19 22:04

    This was very interesting to see the way the everything is portrayed. In the games I always wondered what it was like before the halo event

  • Angus
    2019-04-14 00:10

    Simply breath taking.It consists of a lot of hot-blooded battles and quick action combined with incredible descriptives.

  • A.D. Bane
    2019-03-24 23:01

    Another great addition to the Halo saga

  • Steve
    2019-04-03 00:13

    An interesting beginning - it was nice to get a different perspective on the Halo universe. looking forward to the following two parts.

  • Rebecca Burke
    2019-03-27 22:57

    The end of Cryptum was so good I have already begun Primordium which is the sequel.

  • BraveSlave
    2019-03-30 04:57

    This book contains a lot of information but not enough Halo "action" to make it a perfect book

  • Psychotic Chipmunk
    2019-04-11 04:58

    Unlike my issues with the rest of the books, the Forerunner Saga despite it's obviously quick writing felt like a real trio.

  • Jojo
    2019-03-27 22:57

    Seems written for teenagers.

  • Josephine
    2019-04-13 06:12


  • Rob Micensky
    2019-04-24 02:21

    Meh. It was good enough to keep me reading to the end. It was a different saga than the original Halo storyline. It was interesting to learn more about the Forerunners and Precursors. The Didact character is one BAMF. I'll read the next one, cause like, what am I gonna do? Not read it?

  • Brandon Cole
    2019-03-28 06:20

    Bornstellar is a first form forerunner from the Builder class. He was traded by his family to a family of miners on Mars because he wanted to explore for Precursor artifacts. From there, his Ancilla (AI) helps him stow away to Earth where he enlists a human and a sub-human to help him search. While searching on an island, they find a Forerunner Cryptum. When Bornstellar opens the Cryptum, he finds the Didact, an ancient Forerunner Commander. After awakening the Didact, he takes them to a Precursor world once controlled by humans. When the arrive, they find the planet has been destroyed and a prison cell broken. In search of the missing prisoner, they travel to a nearby system where the human’s ancient allies, the San-Shyum reside. On the way, the Didact decides that Bornstellar should undergo mutation and ascend to second form in order to access the Didacts memories. While searching the Didacts memories, Bornstellar recalls memories of the Flood. The Flood is a plague which controls people into spreading the disease. It threatens the entire galaxy and in the prison cell was the last infected, a Precursor. Upon arriving at the San-Shyum world, they are captured by the Master Builder who is the Forerunner ruler. He returns Bornstellar to his family because of their high standings in the government. Word reaches his family that there has been a coup and Bornstellar’s presence has been requested at the Master Builder’s trial in the capital. Upon arriving, Bornstellar finally sees the Halos, giant rings capable of destroying all life in the galaxy. He realizes one is missing. During the trial, everyone’s armor locks up and nobody can move. Mendicant Bias, a Metarch-level Ancilla, reveals himself and the missing Halo. Both are being controlled by the Flood. Part of the Didact awakens in Bornstellar and speaks an override code to stun Bias and unlock his armor. Bornstellar flees along with some council members and a guard. While escaping through a slip space portal, they watch as five Halos have encircled the capital and are prepared to fire. Once on the other side of the portal, they arrive at the Ark, a facility to preserve specimens of life in the event of a Halo firing. Bornstellar meets with the Librarian, the head of the Ark, and they plan their move against the Flood.The most obvious reader for this book would be fans of the Halo video game series. However, others who are interested in science fantasy genera may also enjoy the book. I am a fan of both. This story offers a background into the Halo games and insight into the ancient race of Forerunners who play a central role in the series. It provides interesting details and information about the customs, beliefs and way of life in the far future which may be of interest to sci-fantasy fans.I thoroughly enjoyed this book! As a fan of the Halo series, the author did a great job of starting to fill in the gaps in information from the games. The book has a good balance of action and detail so the reader does not feel like they are reading a video game. While the book supplies a large amount of information about the Halo universe, it links this information to facts we know from the video game, which makes the series feel more interconnected.