FORERUNNER

13 04 2013

Here we are at yet another entry into our line of reviews here at the press.

I resolved this past month to continue exploring the expanded universes of game settings both popular and otherwise. For the first installment of the year I decided why not dive into one of those more well known universes? One that I myself, as a long time science fiction fan, enjoy terribly.

Halo.

As usual I don’t plan on spoiling you with details. What’s the point in reading a story that someone has already regurgitated to you in home brewed spark note form?

I do however; have no qualms about dropping blurbs right off the books. That’s what they’re there for.

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 super beings 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.

This 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.  

This is the first I’ve ever read of Greg Bear. My decision to pick this title up was partly due to the Hugo and Nebula credits on the front cover. That’ll sell me a great deal.

I have read other books in the Halo expanded universe and while there are some entertaining tales they are mostly the same sort of book. Military science fiction. Action, heroics, with a focus on the tech and weaponry. A touch less character driven if you know what I mean.

This isn’t to say that’s a terrible thing. Sometimes that is precisely what I want to read. As a fan of the game franchise it’s rewarding getting a glimpse at what else is going on outside the immediate scope of the arcs presented through my Xbox.

Bear comes from an entirely different perspective, writing instead, a character driven tale that sheds light on the foundation of the setting in which we’ve followed Master Chief for all those years.

His style is refreshing to see in the setting. There’s less pew pew in this book for sure. And even though planet killing lasers do enter the scene it isn’t really the tale’s focus.

This is the first time in a while that I’ve read a novel length work written in first person, a point of view I have a difficult time reading but that’s just my personal fourth wall issues. For whatever reason though, I didn’t notice. Maybe it’s Bear’s wordsmithery or maybe I’m getting over it.

Or maybe something even MORE sinister is going on here. It’s impossible to say.

Regardless, Cryptum is the first in a series with a focus on the galaxy long before it was what we know it to be; an intriguing look into the society of a civilization that up until the expanded universe was naught but speculation and old stories.

This is growing to be one of my favorite in the series of expanded novels and I look forward to jumping into the next installment not to mention more of what else Mr. Bear has to offer outside of the Halo universe.

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