Hunters in the Dark is one of the best installments in the Halo extended universe, so much so that I rate it as one of my all time favorite scifi novels.
Full Review: Very rarely do I find myself completely lost in a book. Now, there's your average everyday page turners, but then there's stories which have such a magnificent air to them that you find yourself closing off everything else. Hunters in the Dark was my first audiobook-only halo novel I’ve owned. I went into the novel expecting a nice story to listen to whilst I worked on other projects, but found myself laying back, eyes closed, just listening to the story play out. Peter David does a splendid job writing a fun, entertaining, and a sometimes very serious novel. This book is the perfect summertime afternoon pleasure for any scifi fan. Most of the critiques I have for this novel are tangential and overall, David delivers.
The Book is set following the events of Halo 3, Where a team of scientists working on the launch site of the ship that created the portal to “The Ark” discover the coordinates of a new halo ring. On this halo ring, they find a blinking beacon, which can be found on the launch site as well as the other known halo ring. They theorise that the blinking represents a countdown, to what they can only surmise correlates to the activation of all the halo rings. They quickly form an alliance with the new sangheili government and plan a mission to reactivate the portal to the ark and stop the rings from firing. This ragtag team of scientists, SPARTAN IVs, and Elites must work together to fight off the dangers of the ark and deactivate the halo array which threatens all life in the universe.
The character development throughout the story is consistent and realistic, and the tensions between the different species die down as they go through the different challenges and experiences during their mission on the ark. David did a great job capturing the long seeded distrust that has formed between the Sangheili and humans thanks to the decades long conflict between the two races, but he also helps add a hint of respect every soldier has for a fellow warrior. The varying personalities mesh well, and every exchange of violence or suspense leads to a unique reaction from each character. By the end of the novel the reader feels satisfaction in how each plotline for every character ended and feels complete with the story.
It's not always easy to take a previously established world and make it your own. As I have said in my previous reviews, this is one of the many challenges that plague writers who chose to add to the Halo series. David does an amazing job expanding upon the unknown world that is the Ark. In Halo 3, we only get to see glimpses of the arks large habitat, but Hunters in the Dark gives us much more of the Halo-y mystery and beauty that we all love. From the expansive wilderness, to the vast, mechanical tunnels, to the grand, temple like control room, David leaves no detail untold, and no image left from our mind. This is easily my favorite halo novel in the terms of descriptive scenery.
Overall, the novel delivered in entertainment value. The only “problem” with the book is, although very fun to read, it isn't very revolutionary. It is fairly thought provoking, but overall just aims to be a good book to read on a day off. That said, it's still one of my favorites and will continue to be a valued part of my collection for a long, long time.
Final Score: 8.5/10