Halo is one of the most popular and engaging military science-fiction media franchises. Over the course of the years, the games have been adapted to numerous other forms of media including a popular TV show and numerous novels. The franchise itself revolves around the ever-growing conflict between humans and numerous species of aliens inhabiting the universe. If you’re just getting into the franchise you’re probably excited to notice that are a lot of books written on the matter and in today’s post we’re going to be dealing with them. Let’s start with the basics, how many Halo books are there, and in what order should you read them?
How many Halo books are there?
There are currently 34 books in the Halo series, and if this seems like a lot, we haven’t counted the other more general books in our reading order like compilations of screenshots, encyclopedias, concept art books, creation commentaries, etc. We’re focusing on the books that deal with expanding the story of Halo itself only, and that story began with Halo: The Fall of Reach which was released way back in 2001.
Halo books encompass 9 series and numerous other standalone books and novellas. As you can see that much material at one point get’s hard to keep track of, that’s why this Halo reading order is here.
Halo books in order – at a glance
The following order of Halo books is the release order and it’s actually not the best order to read the books at all, but we’re going to deal with that more later. As we’ve mentioned before, everything started with Halo: The Fall of Reach which started the “Original Series” other books followed, and over time, the universe grew to encompass both minor and major characters. But more on that later, let’s take a look at our release order of Halo books:
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (2001)
- Halo: The Flood (2003)
- Halo: First Strike (2003)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (2006)
- Halo: Contact Harvest (2007)
- Halo: The Cole Protocol (2008)
- Halo: Evolutions – Essential Tales of the Halo Universe (2009)
- Halo: Cryptum (2011)
- Halo: Glasslands (2011)
- Halo: Primordium (2012)
- Halo: The Thursday War (2012)
- Halo: Silentium (2013)
- Halo: Mortal Dictata (2014)
- Halo: Broken Circle (2014)
- Halo: New Blood (2014)
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark (2015)
- Halo: Saint’s Testimony (2015)
- Halo: Last Light (2015)
- Halo: Shadow of Intent (2015)
- Halo: Fractures (2016)
- Halo: Smoke and Shadow (2016)
- Halo: Envoy (2017)
- Halo: Retribution (2017)
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx (2017)
- Halo: Bad Blood (2018)
- Halo: Silent Storm (2018)
- Halo: Battle Born (2019)
- Halo: Renegades (2019)
- Halo: Oblivion (2019)
- Halo: Meridian Divide (2019)
- Halo: Shadows of Reach (2020)
- Halo: Point of Light (2021)
- Halo: Divine Wind (2021)
- Halo: The Rubicon Protocol (2022)
The books are further divided into 9 series those are: The Original Series, Gray Team Series, The Forerunner Saga, Kilo-Five Trilogy, Alpha-Nine Series, The Ferrets Series, Rion Forge & Ace Of Spades series, A Master Chief Story, and Battle Born. The series are followed by individual books and novellas with no central characters around which to connect.
What is the best way to read Halo books?
The best way to read Halo books is definitely in chronological order. The books are divided into series and the events do not follow the release date closely as some series were running simultaneously during their original respective release dates.
Halo books in chronological order
The Original Series (2001-2006)
Halo: Fall of The Reach (2001, Eric Nylund)
The first entry in the series it chronicles everything there is to know about the SPARTAN-II program, the Covenant attack on Reach, and UNSC Pillar of Autumn. This a must-read for everyone starting the Halo Universe.
Halo: The Flood (2003, William C. Dietz)
The second entry in the original series chronicles the events of Halo: Combat Evolved, the first game in the series.
Halo: First Strike (2003, Eric Nylund)
This entry bridges the gap between the two games, Combat Evolved and Halo 2. It also deals with unresolved questions about how Master Chief returned to Earth and how several characters survived The Reach.
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (2006, Eric Nylund)
Details the training of Spartan-IIIs, and the battle for 2552.
Gray Team Series (2008-2017)
Halo: The Cole Protocol (2008, Tobias Buckell)
The first entry in Gray Team series. It introduces the Gray Team a group of Spartan-II supersoldiers and its members. It follows the characters Jacob Keyes and Thel ‘Vadam in a bit more detail.
Halo: Envoy (2017, Tobias Buckell)
Gray Team finds itself in captivity and the book deals with Melody Azikiwe’s journey to Carrow in order to set them free.
The Forerunner Saga (2011-2013)
Halo: Cryptum (2011, Greg Bear)
The first entry in the Forerunner Saga deals with the events of the Forerunner-Flood war. It details what transpired during the Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting and the Didact.
Halo: Primordium (2012, Greg Bear)
The second entry deal with Chakas, a human born during the events of the Forerunner-Flood war whose body perished but his mind lived on. It also deals with his journey across Zeta Halo.
Halo: Silentium (2013, Greg Bear)
The last installment in the series tells of the events that led to the fall of Forerunners caused by Ur-Didact’s madness. It deals with the ramifications as well as detailing the activation of the Halo Array.
Kilo-Five Trilogy (2011-2014)
Halo: Glasslands (2011, Karen Traviss)
Halo: Glasslands deals with the ramifications of the Human-Covenant War and tells of the events that transpired after Ghosts of Onyx books written by Eric Nylund.
Halo: The Thursday War (2012, Karen Traviss)
Swords of Sanghelios and numerous Sangheili factions were involved in a massively destructive event called Blooding Years. The Thursday War deals with the role humans played in the event.
Halo: Mortal Dictata (2014, Karen Traviss)
Revolves around the Venezian militant rebel movement and their threats to commit terrorist acts on Earth.
Alpha-Nine series (2015-2018)
Halo: New Blood (2015, Matt Forbeck)
This installment introduces us to Human-Covenant War, more specifically it introduces us to the Alpha-Nine squad led by Edward Bucks.
Halo: Bad Blood (2018, Matt Forbeck)
After the fall of Alpha-Nine, Edward Buck manages to resurrect the team once again in order to offer resistance and fight Cortana’s Created.
The Ferrets series (2015-2021)
Halo: Last Light (2015, Troy Denning)
Last light details the events that took place on Gao, a human colony with Forerunner technology. A series of murders took place on the colony and Special Inspector Veta Lopis gets involved followed by a Blue Team.
Halo: Retribution (2017, Troy Denning)
The high-profile murder of Admiral Graselyn Tuwa required the involvement of Special Inspector Veta Lopis once again, joined by the Blue Team and the Ferrets.
Halo: Divine Wind (2021, Troy Denning)
The Halo Array once again threatens to be activated by Keepers of the One Freedom and Special Inspector Veta Lopis gets involved with both the Blue Team and The Ferrets.
Rion Forge & Ace Of Spades series (2016- 2021)
Halo: Smoke and Shadow (2016, Kelly Gay)
Sergeant John Forge seemingly perished along with UNSC Spirit of Fire. Last Light follows the story of his daughter Rion Forge and her mission to find him.
Halo: Renegades (2019, Kelly Gay)
Rion Forge is a bit closer to finding her Father Sergeant John Forge and his Spirit of Fire. Things get complicated when ONI and Covenant remnants get involved and now Rion needs to juggle two tasks, finding her father and saving her life.
Halo: Point of Light (2021, Kelly Gay)
Rion Forge and her Ace of Spades crew are still chased by ONI and try to complete the librarian’s plan.
A Master Chief Story (2018-2020)
Halo: Silent Storm (2018, Troy Denning)
Deals with the start of the Human-Covenant War, and follows John-117 and a group of Spartan II soldiers as they are gathering info on the Covenant.
Halo: Oblivion (2019, Troy Denning)
Continues the story of John-117 and Spartan II soldiers while they are being chased by Fleetmaster Nizat ‘Kvarosee.
Halo: Shadows of Reach (2020, Troy Denning)
Blue Team returns to The Reach in a last-ditch attempt to save humanity from the consequences of Cortana’s Created.
Battle Born (2019)
Halo: Battle Born (2019, Cassandra Rose Clarke)
The first installment in the Battle Born series oriented toward teens. As such, the book follows a teenage group of rebels in alliance with Spartan II Supersoldier as they try to survive the Battle of Meridian.
Halo: Meridian Divide (2019, Cassandra Rose Clarke)
Follows the characters introduced in Battle Born. After the Battle of Meridian, they return to Meridian to surveil Covenant and its effort to retrieve the Forerunner artifact.
Standalone books & novellas (2007-2022)
Halo: Contact Harvest (2007, Joseph Staten)
This standalone book tells the story of how the Human-Covenant War started as it chronicles the events that happened after the First-Contact. The central character of the story is Sergeant Avery Johnson.
Halo: Broken Circle (2014, John Shirley)
Follows Sangheili and San’Shyuum characters at the beginning of the Covenant and before the Great Schism, a major civil war between the Covenant and their respective species.
Halo: Hunters in the Dark (2015, Scott Brick)
Set in a post-war era it follows the joint efforts of humans and Sangheili as they try to explore The Ark.
Halo: Legacy of Onyx (2017, Matt Forbeck )
The central character of this standalone book is Molly Patel. A young girl was orphaned during the Human-Covenant war. She tries her best to adapt to living in the Onyx Forerunner shield world with a bigger threat looming on the horizon.
Halo: The Rubicon Protocoll (2022, Kelly Gay)
A standalone book dealing with the fight of UNSC against the Banished, a group of rebel Covenant members as they raid Zeta Halo.
Halo: Saint’s Testimony (2015, Frank O’Connor)
Follows Iona a third-generation SMART AIs who are threatened to be decommissioned. The book introduces the readers to the world of SMART AI that can be found across the Halo Universe.
Halo: Shadow of Intent (2015, Joseph Staten)
Deal with minor events after the Covenant War. It focuses on conflict between Tem’Bhetek and Rtas ‘Vadum.
Halo: Evolutions – Essential Tales of the Halo Universe (2009, Steve Downes, Holter Graham, Frank O’Connor, and Jen Taylor)
This anthology features 11 stories, all told from different perspectives. Some are told from the point of view of humanity’s saviors and heroes and some are told from the perspective of blood-hungry creatures that woved to destroy humanity.
Halo: Fractures (2016, Scott Brick)
One more anthology that deals with the conflict. This time the stories are told solely from the perspective of Halo Universe heroes that served on the side of humanity.
Do you need to read the Halo books in order?
There are many books in the franchise, and more are on the way. It’s difficult to follow the chronological order of events but the books should be read in order. We’ve provided you with the order of the series and since the exact chronology is somewhat difficult to establish, you should at least try to read the series in the order that we’ve provided. The standalone books at the end of the list can be read in whatever order you wish.
Are Halo books connected?
Halo books are connected through characters and through events. All books are set in the same universe even if they are not set during the same straight timeline. If we’re talking about individual series, those are mostly focused on the same character set in a specific timeline. As for standalone books, those are often told from the perspective of specific characters that appear only once in the series, still, the books are connected to the rest of the franchise due to being set in the same universe.
Will there be more Halo books?
There will be more Halo books in the future, in fact, Halo: Outcasts written by Troy Denning is set to be released at some point in 2023. There is also the matter of Halo: Epitaph written by Kelly Gay who doesn’t have a set release date as of now. We’re going to update this as soon as we gather more info on the upcoming Halo books.