Quick View: The continuation of the Kilo-5 Trilogy, Traviss looses any crutch she had from Eric Nylund’s books. Better written and developed than Glasslands, however still just barley readable as a fan of the series. On its own, though, a decent book.
Full Review: Thursday War is the second installment of Karen Traviss’ Kilo-5 trilogy. This novel follows on the heels of Glasslands, and focuses more on the conflict on the Sangheili homeworld of Sanghelios. Traviss chooses to anchor her novel in this one location, and the book is better off for it. In previous reviews I’ve noted how in Halo novels, one typically needs to exploit the vastness of Halo’s large galaxy of systems, but Traviss’ focus on the Sangheili civil war makes the focus on one planet necessary for the book to stay centered
on the conflict. We do get to see some appearances in other places, but overall Sanghelios is the place we call home for the duration.
The story, much like the previous novel, is focusing on Kilo-5s mission to destabilize the peace between the Sangheili and humanity. In this novel, we get to see kilo-5 directly involve themselves by helping arm the rebelling factions of Elites on Sanghelios. We get to see the civilization unravel between the different factions and watch as the UNSC helplessly tries to help Thel Vadam, known to most as the Arbiter, fight off these rebels who seek the destruction of humanity as well as the arbiters new government. The novel ends with the conflict erupting into a war which has no immediate end in sight, ultimately leading to the success of Kilo-5’s mission to destabilize peace amongst “the enemy”
Character development for the members of Kilo-5 is the same as in glasslands, so, nonexistent. However, we do get to see the different members of the Sangheili government, primarily Jul Mdama and Thel Vadam, evolve as the story continues. We get to see how their relationships to their allies and enemies evolve, and with the introduction of the UNSC’s latest superweapon, the megaship UNSC Infinity, we see how each handles both victory and defeat. It’s quite ironic that the characters which should be seen as the adversary become painted with a brighter light thanks for the initial disdain for Kilo-5’s mission and objective.
World building is superior in this novel compared to the previous one, as the focus on Sanghelios allows Traviss time to be specific and build on the lore of the Sangheili. We learn what daily life was and is now like for them, and more about how they function as a culture. This new information on these formerly mysterious enemies of humanity adds a new depth to the novel and the story benefits from the new angle. Again, Traviss becomes one of the first to explore this new topic and the book gets credibility from it.
This book really highlights the lengths in which ONI will go to ensure their selfish ideals come to fruition. Traviss, as much as I dislike her novels and writing style, actually manages to make even the a highly critical reviewer such as myself see what’s good in the novel and find some way to enjoy it. Overall, it’s a decent halo novel and offers good contributions to the Halo universe.
Final Score: 7/10