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> Hello. I’ve been reading the GlassLands book by Karen Traviss recently. I am enjoying it a lot, I believe it’s well written and it gets more exciting each time I read.
>
> It is also doing a great job of filling me in on what happens between Halo 3 and Halo 4.
>
> The question is: why do people dislike the book??? I’ve seen it get some hate, and I don’t understand why.

I personally like the book, but I believe the main concern is that it messes up the Elite personalities and it has some canonical issues. Go to the Halo Universe forum, there’s usually some debates about it on there.

I think it’s because the readers were probably expecting more information and don’t really care how it was written.

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The book was alright. I just didn’t like the blatant, overt Halsey bashing. It was like Traviss had it out for her.

I fear for what will happen to her in Thursday War.

It forces people to see negative opinions of characters they have sympathized with over the years. Such as if a parent’s child was involved in a murder. The parent may refuse to acknowledge the nature of the crime or although understanding it, may still wish for leniency. From the point of view of the reader, we have a bias from knowing each character’s mental development and circumstances up until this point. The circumstances alone give rise to arguments over the justification of the SPARTAN II program itself. I like the book for that reason.

What I personally do not like about this book is how long it took Halsey to translate and find what she needed. Of course, in reality it probably would have taken just as long or longer, but from the point of view of the reader, you expect a little more to be realized by this point. But, that’s what Halo 4 is for. The core of the book is the Covie civil war and human instigation of it, the Halsey bit is tying up loose ends and teasing for Halo 4.

What also irks some (and I did find odd as well) is the personality of Mendez. Such a sudden change of character can rub a fan the wrong way. It would be different if we had some novels in between showing a gradual change in Mendez’s opinions of what he and Halsey had done, then the issue would be with Mendez’s logic itself, rather than Travis’ novel.

The main reason I hated it was cause it was completely different from all the other halo books to date(minus the forerunner saga). All the other books that had the UNSC and spartans had lots of action and fighting and was full of suspense. From what I recall, this book had two “action” parts. One where an engineer got shot, and the other was a small skirmish with some jackals. The whole rest of the book was just people walking around and talking about their feelings the whole time. And it just felt like Karen was trying to put stuff in the book just to make more pages. I was expecting so much from the dyson sphere group and all it turned out to be was 100’s of pages of walking solving puzzles and getting in touch with their emotions til the last part when they finally find some new technology and then they just grab it and go. So boring.

It may have been a good book from an artistic point of view or maybe professional writers will say it was good writing, but I don’t read/play halo for the good writing. This would have been good as a side novel, that dove deeper into people’s emotions, but as a book to drive the halo saga along, it was just boring.

Just my opinion though. If you liked it then I’m happy for you. I wish I could have enjoyed it more. I plan on reading it again before the game comes out and I’ll try to approach it with the mind set that it’s not always about action. Maybe I’ll like it more the second time.

Personally, I really like Glasslands; I loved Traviss’s Gears of War novels (I have all five of them on my Kindle), and she did extreely well for her first time with Halo.

However, I think people’s issue with the book is that a lot of the characters hated the hell out of Halsey for abducting small children for the SPARTAN-II program, and made that clear very often. Plus, Mendez acted remarkably similar to Hoffman.

I like it. In my opinion, Karen Traviss is the second best writer to contribute to the official Halo storyline. The first being Greg Bear, of course. She doesn’t seem to quite have the imagination that Eric Nylund has, but she is a better writer.

> I like it. In my opinion, Karen Traviss is the second best writer to contribute to the official Halo storyline. The first being Greg Bear, of course. She doesn’t seem to quite have the imagination that Eric Nylund has, but she is a better writer.

I think this was my problem with it. I couldn’t care less about how well the writing is done. I just wanted it to be interesting, and Nylund’s books were so much more interesting for me.

Glasslands was good.

I don’t know if either to reread Glasslands or cryptum…

Things make sense in the end. Now Halsey is Kind of doing what she’s been doing… But with more control.

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> Yeah people seem to have it out for Halsey in this book. They are not found of her, that’s for sure.
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> Are the forerunner books worth reading? I know Greg Bear is a phenominal writer, I’ve read a few of his books.
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> They are strictly about the forerunners correct?

I saw this one coming about Halsey in Glasslands. Take a look at Traviss’ ‘Human Weakness’. She made Halsey out to be a bad person there, and it’s likely her ideas about the people in the Halo Universe would carry over.

I disliked it because it misconstrued the situation with the Sangheili from being but hurt with the other former covies bar Lekgolo and losing most ability for mega industry that is required for a world wide government to Sangheili carrying zero grudges with the other covies and mysteriously hating humans even though in halo 3 and in bungie canon we were always lead to believe that the Sangheili people once betrayed by the prophets really warmed to humanity with the battle for the ark. I also hate how Travis thinks it is acceptable to know nothing of the universe and not only make opinions about the universe and characters inside the universe but then write a novel on said characters in said universe. The latter part pisses me off the most.

> > I like it. In my opinion, Karen Traviss is the second best writer to contribute to the official Halo storyline. The first being Greg Bear, of course. She doesn’t seem to quite have the imagination that Eric Nylund has, but she is a better writer.
>
> I think this was my problem with it. I couldn’t care less about how well the writing is done. I just wanted it to be interesting, and Nylund’s books were so much more interesting for me.

and it seemed as tho Traviss was afraid to do anything with characters previously defined and it kind just raped up ghost of onyx freakishly quick imo.

What it did with the Elites and the Elite characters was downright cringe worthy. Fatuous Human idioms aside, it was a book full of petty cynicism and pessimism in a fictional universe that has always been more or less optimistic and balanced with its ideas of idealism versus cynicism. Plot holes in ONI’s attempts to sabotage the Elites. Undynamic and uninspired Elite characters. They were pretty much cookie cutter characters from other Halo fiction. -Yoink–pulled reasons to widen the gulf between Humanity and other species in what should be a period where the lines are beginning to blur, and where ideas that contribute to that blurring of the lines get brought up, but these new “facts” (Humans = Liars, over-colonising parasites, etc) are solely discussed to the exclusion of every other theme and idea built up to this date that could do that. I’ll be frank and say that any attempt to re-start the Human-Covenant war is always going to be doomed to failure imo given Halo 3’s optimistic ending. (But NOT idealistic. There’s a difference.) Glasslands doesn’t do anything for me other than tell me why I should expect to see the Elites as enemies again for Halo 4.

I really enjoyed Glasslands a lot. It was a more realistic interpretation than a lot of people give it credit for. I mean people here will lead you to believe that because we were allies with a group of Elites in Halo 3 then we should be in Glasslands. That is furthest from the truth as the world is not as black and white as that. Halo 2 and 3 even establish this when we see Hunters and Grunts side with the Elites in Halo 2, yet we still fight Hunters and Grunts who have sided with Brutes in Halo 3. This is because it wasn’t as simple as one species siding with another. Everyone was splintered and broken and groups sided with who they thought was right.

This is also established in Ghosts of Onyx when the Elites take the time to prevent the Humans from accessing Forerunner tech. They had no interest in stopping their conflict with us just because of the Great Schism. There was no moment where it clicked and all Elites were our friends. Only the Elites who joined the Arbiter sided with Humans and so the Elites on Sanghelios debating about what to do made perfect sense to me. And of course people around here will lead you to believe the majority all of a sudden hates humanity when in fact the book doesn’t say that at all. It’s true that particular meeting had plenty of Elites asking the question “why stop killing humans” but at the same time only two Elites in the entire book were willing to take that question seriously. And even then they were only worried the Arbiter was good enough to sway the other Elites to his position. They only wanted him out of the way so that someone else who wanted to fight Humanity could sway everyone that way.

The Halsey hatred for the most part was justified as well because it was established in Ghosts of Onyx that Parangosky hated Halsey with a passion. They might find the reason for this hatred a little lame but it doesn’t change the fact that for years she has hated Halsey and this attitude would only naturally continue in Glasslands when the War has begun to settle down and Parangosky can act upon it. The ODSTs only hated Halsey because they had only just learned of her existence right there in the story. The only people who were informing them of Halsey’s actions were those who hate her so it was pretty obvious that what they tell them would paint Halsey in a negative way. Some people can’t seem to get that through their heads for some reason.

Mendez’s hatred mostly stemmed from his own guilty conscience for what he had personally done to those same kids. His reasoning was along the lines of “Yeah I did this but at least I didn’t do that.” This comes to a head at the end of the story when the ODSTs question him about it and he finally comes to terms for what he did.

All in all this book was a very well written political story and there are some people who think it didn’t have enough explosions in it for their tastes but to each their own right. I know I enjoyed it and just because those who complain shout the loudest it doesn’t mean they represent all of us. There are plenty out here who enjoyed the story and actually look forward to the continuation.

A Halsey Hate-fest, ONI trying to kill the Elites despite the alliance, most of the Elites hate humanity, plus the fact alot of Star Wars fans hated her Republic Commando, I really wish they had someone like Eric Nylund write the post-war books. Atleast he’s more familiar with the story, it’s like Traviss skimmed the books and halfway through she was done and it seems like she has it out for Halsey.

I just wish they would return to Eric Nylund, quintessential Halo writing.

The part where Halsey takes a Spartan punch to the face paints the author as not knowing anything about Spartans and this implies little knowledge of the lore.

Thus imparting the rest of her books or fiction as lesser canonical works.

Lack of Polarization

Over the years and after reading several Halo novels, I’ve drawn my own opinions on certain characters in the Halo lore. When it comes to Mendez, I see the traditional, gruff military officer who’s “tired” after years of military engagements and involvement in the Spartan program. I saw Halsey as a morally gray character, her actions in the Spartan program were terrifying and moral questionable, but given the circumstances can be understood. Glasslands threw this out of the water and forced on me Traviss’ opinion.

A good novel should leave the question of character’s moral and such up to the reader. That is what makes classic novels like Frankenstein so fascinating. In that book, you could end up sympathizing with the monster and hating Victor Frankenstein. Or you may still end up hating the monster and liking Victor more. Yet Mary Shelley holds NEITHER as morally better and instead lets both make their cases.

What I felt like I got in Glasslands was a pre-determined opinion on characters and told that is what I should feel. Halsey seemed really out of character, she wasn’t as quick witted as she usually is, even though it picks up roughly after Ghosts of Onyx ended. Mendez was a vengeful, grumpy old man so brimming with hate he would actually consider letting Halsey starve. Why? You could argue his guilt get the better of him, but is it really fair for Halsey to be the lightening rod for Mendez’s, Kilo-Five’s, Osman’s and pretty much everyone’s contempt?

Granted, the later’s contempt can be traced to Parangosky’s influence, but to me that just seems like a convenient cover to allow the hatred to flow. Seriously, Halsey is compared to Josef Mengele, a -Yoink!- “doctor” who purposely and unsympathetically tortured and murdered people in concentration camps under the guise of science. Halsey did not, that is simply the truth. Ironically this comes from a character who proudly boasts his Russian heritage and hatred of tyrants yet doesn’t seem to care all that much about Stalin and the Soviet’s reign of brutality. More so, he even tries to murder Halsey…yet only gives Mendez a passing remark about his manhood despite his direct involvement in the Spartan-III child suicide solider program.

And then the Elites. Practically every major Elite character has this brooding anti-human sentient that sounds like more of the same LIES perpetrated by the Prophets. I get old religiousness habits die hard…but when the people who lied to you tried to kill you and you KNOW they lied to you, this is simply zealotry and xenophobia just for the sake of zealotry and xenophobia. Sure the Elite populace at large may not have strong opinions either way about humans, but it would’ve been nice to see some contrast. Instead we get Elites who would kill to wipe out humans from existence. Where is the Elite youth and their human sympathizer movement? I know they exist, but why are they not given ANY attention or mention in a POST-WAR novel? You’d think it’d be an interesting avenue to explore. But sadly, no, only the evil -Yoinks!- get attention. SO much for the Great Schism.

I’ll give the book it’s due though, the scenes with Lucy were powerful and moving and I do like characters like Phillips and Black Box. But they just don’t make up the entire book for me. Because of it, I’m just not excited about Thursday War.

Oh yeah and what the Hell is up with Lucy punching Halsey? I know WHY she did it but how does a punch from an armored, augmented emotionally compromised super-solider barely cause any real damage to a 60+ year old woman? That just bugged me.