Ever since the Halo Universe began, everyone has their favorite story in the franchise. While I love the majority of the installments, there’s one that has always stuck out above all the others. That one is Halo: Silentium, which I say is the best story in the Halo Universe ever. Greg Bear wrote nothing short of an absolute masterpiece. The story has such heavy weight and emotion. It’s such a sad end to the Forerunner-Flood War, with so much lost. I love where Greg took the characters, especially the main three: the Ur-Didact, Librarian, and IsoDidact. I never felt an installment in the Halo Universe was a satisfactory as this one, and would recommend to everyone read it, both fans of Halo and readers in general. All I have to say is, thank you so much Greg Bear!!
The Forerunner Saga is probably the most evocative and thoughtful story in the Halo canon to date. When I first read the books I didn’t approve of Cryptum or Primordium much, favoring Silentium for focusing on characters that have agency. On a recent reread, I decided that it’s not a story about characters so much as about a series of events and showing the audience how something as unlikely as the eradication of a galaxy wasn’t just plausible, but the only sensible outcome.
Silentium is the dark ending chapter, in that regard. My opinion of the book has changed little since the first read – I like the Librarian’s expedition and I appreciate how the final defenses connect to the H3 terminals and ARG materials. I like also that Our Two Didacts become two distinct persons. But I remain irked that the character I got really invested in from his portrayal in Cryptum (even when I thought it was a weak book overall) ended up being a villainous sorcerer in Halo 4, and Silentium has to give us explanations for all that. It’s unsatisfying and a little bit obvious, with details we should have seen mentioned in Cryptum suddenly defined in Silentium. And the absurdity of the combat cryptum being a less intensive hibernation device than the cryptum he used in exile.
Still, I am appreciative of the story’s general shape, and a great deal of Silentium in general. It was cool to get more detail about the twilight of the Forerunner ecumene. The storytelling conceit of the book – that ONI analysts in Onyx found the remains of Catalog and we’re reading the found recordings of interviews and observations – is cool. I have friends who insist that the Forerunner should have always been mysterious, but I’m glad we got the strange fantasy futurism we got.