The pacing, the characters, the plot there are several things I had an issue with while reading, though Ill talk about what I liked first. I also liked that the focus on the Covenant was consistent as with the previous novel the races acted similarly as to how they did in Harvest, though the Elites were pretty over-the-top. The characters I thought were going to be interesting, like Watanabe or the Spartans, either disappeared ten minutes after they arrived, or they had no real face time. You have the Spartans, you have Delgado, you have Reth, you have Thal, you have Keyes, and then you have all the bunch of minor characters like the Prophets, Keyes staff, Bonifacio, the other Elites, and randoms like Maria and Diego. This is a 350 page, large font, very short-chaptered novel there is no space for this many characters. That being said, having no depth to the characters means Im not going to care about them, so that takes away from the suspense of the novel. I wanted them to have personalities yes, they did have a touch of this, but I wanted the story to revolve around them more so than some Delgado guy whom I kept mixing up with Diego. Convert Delgados chapters into Spartan-personality extrapolation. The council plot, the betrayer on the bridge plot, the chip plot, the guns plot, the Kip-Yar plot, the Thal plot, Spartan plot, the Zhang is unstable side plot, the overall plot there are too many damn plots in this novel.
Look, I genuinely am looking forward to the day that I read and love a Halo novel thats not written by Eric Nylundbut so far, two books past his original trilogy of Halo stories, Ive yet to be completely impressed by what other authors have brought to this amazing universe.
They may not be built to the scale of an Alastair Reynolds epic, or as personal as an Orson Scott Card narrative, nor as hard-fact informed as a Niven novel, but they are usually solid reads that you can count on to keep you interested and change the way you think about the Halo-verse. This is due in large part to the fact that the Halo design team, now 343 Industries (owned by Microsoft) has a remarkable quality-control team that keeps their license under tight reign. Cole Protocol, the sixth of a rapidly growing number of Halo novels, is easily one of the weakest installments. Note here that the Halo series is not one of those that degrades in quality over time; indeed, some of the strongest entries came later. There are four narratives: Jacob Keyes, a mainstay of the Halo-verse, Gray Team, a guerrilla Spartan trio, Thel Vadam'ee, a Covenant Shipmaster, and Ignacio Delgado, who is a pilot and guardian of the coveted coordinates to Earth, which are threatened under the titular Cole Protocol. Megastructure science-fiction and Halo are like peanut butter and chocolate, but Buckell doesn't spend his time describing, exploring, or even developing the Rubble. Keyes is whiny, the Spartans are too emotional, and Thel Vadam'ee is, frankly, one of the worst-written narrators I have read in some time. Buckell also uses unusual terms that other established authors step around, making him sound like a player talking about the game, rather than an author dictating new canon.
Countless times Bucknell would repeat nouns or verbs within a sentance or two of each other, like he couldn't come up with any other way to convey meaning. Bucknell has no idea what "subtle" means; he tells you exactly what he wants you to understand, like when things are going to hell, stuff is blowing up, people are dying, and Bucknell brilliantly states "This was bad." I'm a huge fan of Halo, and this is the third Halo book I've read, but it was by far the worst.
Halo to me always had some of the best stories out of all the games I played. For those who haven't read the previous books or played the games, which you don't have to, Spartans are a type of super soldiers. For many people who have read the other book, having a story that followed a different view on the war is very exciting. The one thing I didn't like about the story is the little time spent with the characters interacting with the main story line in the games. I feel like having them connect to the main story line a bit more would make the story rememberable one reading the other books, giving you that oh yeah!