Halo: Cryptum: Book One of the Forerunner Saga Paperback – Sep 13 2011
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“Holter Graham's narration is excellent” ―SFCrowsnest.com
“Holter Graham does a spending job narrating all the roles…this first in the Forerunner Saga tells an exciting story that spans millennia.” ―BookLoons.com--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From the Back Cover
Bruno Dante has fled Los Angeles for New York City. With its cold, hard edge, it's his kind of town. . . . But the string of deadbeat temporary telemarketing gigs is getting to Bruno and the steady work he can stand is hard to come by. Bruno's trying everything: hotel night manager, window cleaner, and cab driver, all the while punctuating his unsatisfying employment experiments with meaningless affairs and intense drinking binges. Then something totally unexpected pops up and Bruno finds himself in a position to act responsibly, to start writing again, and to get his life back on track. But like his drinking, screwing up might be a habit that's too deeply ingrained to shake.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In what reads like a last confession, Bear puts the reader in the shoes of Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting, a rebellious young Manipular who will advance to become a Builder, one who will be responsible for the grandest of Forerunner constructs. His journey rapidly morphs into one on which hinges the fate of the Forerunner civilization and galactic life itself. Bear draws his characters from the Terminals found on the Ark in Halo 3- Mendicant Bias, the Didact, and the Librarian all make appearances- and helps to put those in context, along with astonishing revaluations about the origin and history of humanity and the Prophets (San 'Shyuum as they are referred to in the novel) their earlier interactions with the Forerunners, and the origins of the Flood.
It's nice to have a non-militarySF take on the Halo universe, and doubly so to have that voice be Greg Bear's. Anyone who wants to get started on what's looking to be an excellent trilogy would be well-served to pick up this book.
As a novel on its own merits, good but not great. As part 1 of a scifi opera, a very auspicious beginning. If you're a fan of Halo's fiction, this is the payoff to your dedication and the best reason thus for why we do what we do. With any luck part 2 will be something akin to Empire Strikes Back in its personal grandeur. I'm of the opinion Bear has the talent.
I was immediately at home with the writing. Like many of Bear's books, the story unfolds without much explanation, you're instantly immersed in the world. Despite knowing a fair amount about the Halo universe, most everything in this book was new to me. It's set well before the Halo games, and has more to do with the Forerunners and the Precursors than anything else. These races are almost mythical in the game, discussed only tangentially.
The story unfolds through the eyes of a young forerunner, eager to explore the universe for reasons of his own. Although it starts a little slowly, this lets you get at least a preliminary bearing in the universe. From there the story unfolds, and the relevance to the Halo universe becomes more clear.
I found the characters interesting, as well as the technology, and the mythology of the universe. The story unfolds in a way which almost makes me forget it's based on the Halo game universe. To me, this is a Good thing.
If you're not a fan of immersive science fiction (jumping straight into the universe without much in the way of explanations), this will probably be a hard read for you. If you DO like that sort of fiction, however, and you like Bear's other works, you'll be in heaven. And, even if you hate Halo, if you're a fan of some of Bear's other works, I suspect you will be quite happy to read this book.
Personally, I loved it and I'm happy we own a copy!
I actually don't really like it. In fact I would say it's the lowest of the Halo series to me. Were I rereading every Halo book I might very well skip this.
The main reason is that the story seems INCREDIBLY random. Nearly all the events and action that happen in it come from out of the blue with no real reason other than the author wanted it to happen. It's almost as if he wrote a bunch of scene ideas down on scraps of paper, put them in a hat and would choose one at random when he felt like it. This isn't true of the entire book but most of it, so it seemed to me. The last 100 pages or so seemed more coherent. Another way to put it is that it seemed like the author was unwilling to share the plot of the story with the reader. Like it was some big secret he didn't want us to know about.
Also the descriptions of Forerunner tech didn't match completely with anything we see in the games. He had rooms rearrange for furniture, ships made out of hard light (it was stated that the first major ship ridden in was mostly made of hard light), and just other stuff that didn't seem to fit what we've seen. It was pretty cool on its own merit and had this not been a Halo book I would have liked it. It just didn't feel like Halo to me.
The characters seemed completely flat and lifeless. It's as if they were just going through the motions saying what the director (the author) wanted them to say. I don't feel any attachment to any of the characters, save one. Runner had a spark of personality but even that is muted. But they are just lifeless characters.
I did like the description of Forerunner life cycles though. The concept of mutating several times, with the help of another, into something is a cool idea for a race. I also didn't like that he was only 12. We were constantly introduced to characters who were centuries or millennia old, but this guy isn't even a teenager. In a culture with that long a life span (even with technology extending it drastically) a 12 year old would be considered to barely be out of diapers.
SLIGHT SPOILER PARAGRAPH!!!
I didn't like that the Humans had been a galactic power rivaling the Forerunners. One of the reasons Halo is liked as much as a franchise is that it's designed to be our world just a few hundred years from now. Adding this layer of history breaks that. We've never found any evidence that humanity progressed beyond cavemen before us, and if we were a galactic power 100,000 years ago we would have. There would be records of it the arctic ice, there would be ruined cities, there would be structures visible on other planets, there would be evidence. It would take a LOT of effort to remove all of that. If the Forerunners wanted to punish us by barberizing us it would have been easier for them to dump us on another world than to erase all records of our past (they made it a point to blatantly say they put humanity back on Earth).
SPOILER PARAGRAPH AHEAD!!
Oh, one major thing I disliked is that they gave the Forerunners the same exact relationship that modern Halo races have. The Forerunners had their own ancient, unbelievably advanced civilization they admired and coveted. What a load of bull! That completely undermines the premise of the Forerunners being a fantastic, nearly unknowable race. Suddenly now there is someone even better than them. Plus we've never heard of this other race before now, even though their stuff is "eternal". They even claimed their artifacts could survive plate tectonic, being pushed into a mantle and then forced back out ages later. That means the covenant SHOULD have found something of theirs, and that would have shaken them to their very core. Yes they can retcon and say the Covenant has found this stuff but it just smells of BS.
Final, SPOILER FREE thoughts, had this book had nothing to do with Halo, I likely would have just been indifferent to it. It's main problems still persist without the Halo license. But as a Halo book, I'm REALLY disliking it. I might read it again to see if things seem clearer to me a second time... but I might not.
Halo: Cryptum tells the story of the enigmatic race known as the Forerunners and reveals how the massive Halo structures became to be. It also talks about the connection between humans and Forerunners. This whole book is told from the perspective of a young Forerunner Manipular named Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting, or Bornstellar. It is about his journey
If one is looking for action in this book, they will not find much of it. Halo: Cryptum relies on more character-driven narratives so one can learn about life in Forerunner society. The first quarter of the book starts out slow, but the pace eventually picks up as the story progresses. I like the way Greg Bear wrote this book because when reading the book, one can feel like he is being told the story from Bornstellar. I enjoyed the journey of Bornstellar and all that he went through to become a mature Forerunner. It was not very easy for him, especially when he undergoes a mutation. He begins to realize that he cannot go back to his old life and must face the reality of what is going to happen in the times ahead.
Since this is the first book in the Forerunner Saga, one can expect that this book lays the foundation of characters and places for the next two books. In this book alone, many questions will be answered and many twists will appear, especially the ending.
After reading this for the second time, I have to say that I enjoyed it ten times better than I did the first time. As said, I was really motivated this time to learn about the Forerunners and their mysterious society. The book was still somewhat of a challenge at times because of Greg Bear's writing style, but in my opinion, that makes the book a whole lot better. I think that this book is for the hardcore Halo fan only, but if you are new to Halo and want to know more about the mysterious Halo rings, pick up this book to learn more. To all Halo fans: I definitely recommend this book!