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Halo: The Fall of Reach

by Eric Nylund

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Halo Novels (Original Quadrilogy 1), Halo Universe (Original Quadrilogy 1)

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1,4554012,043 (3.86)1 / 8
Before the Human-Covenant War engulfed Halo, the planet-colony Reach came under attack by the Covenant, and Earth's specially trained and augmented warriors, code-named SPARTANs, stood alone to fight for humanity's survival.

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English (39)  Italian (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Going in, this was the sum total of my knowledge about Halo:
* Someone in it was called, "Master Chief."
* The point of the game (presumably as Master Chief), was to kill hostile aliens (perhaps all aliens)
* When I tried to play, I would die in no more than 28.7 seconds.

In other words, I had no preconceptions about this going in. My tabula was about as rasa as you can ask for.

In the 26th century, humanity has colonies in star systems throughout the galaxy. And finally, that moment we've been waiting for happens: First Contact. And like SF movies from the early 20th Century tried to warn us: the alien race we make that First Contact with is vastly technologically superior and isn't friendly.

They're called the Covenant, and are apparently made up of an association of various races—each with their own specialties. And unless something dramatic happens, they're going to wipe out humanity. They don't seem that interested in humans joining with them or assimilating humanity. It pretty much seems like they want humans eradicated.

Enter Dr. Catherine Halsey of the Office of Naval Intelligence. She's got an insane, ethically-vacant, implausible idea—she's going to take a bunch of children, train them to become the greatest soldiers in history, surgically/medically augment them, equip them with unbelievably advanced suits of armor, and set them loose on the Covenant. Basically a combination of Urban-Legend understanding of ancient Sparta + Ender's Game + Red Rising + Tony Stark's suits.

We see these Spartans in action, flashback to their early training, and then see them at their—and possibly the war's—most pivotal moment. We get to know a few of them, a bit—but the focus is on the trainee who will become their Master Chief.

There's also a plotline focusing on one starship commander (he switches vessels a couple of times, so I'll go generic there) who takes a lot of risks—and has some solid crew members to back him up. Their combination of nerves, cleverness, and luck makes them about as successful as you can be without the scientific enhancements that the Spartans get. Eventually, they play host to the Spartans on a last-ditch mission, and that's when things really start cooking.

I don't have a lot to say about this. Like every book (so far) that I was recommended in this 12 Books challenge, this isn't something I'd typically read. But this was pretty fun. Sure, Pierce Brown and Mike Chen aren't going to be looking over their shoulders worrying about Nylund—but the dude can write an entertaining scene with some decent character moments.

The battle scenes in particular were just what you want in a book like this (or a video game like this, I assume). The space battles brought me back to Jack Campbell's books or the Robotech novels that I lived on in the late 80s. I need to make time for more stuff like that.

Reach, I should mention, is the biggest and most important military base for humans outside of Earth—the location of both are tightly kept secrets. So the book focusing on the fall of Reach tells you right away that this book will have an ugly end. And, spoiler alert, the title is apt.

But there's hope—in the Dumb and Dumber "So, you're telling me there's a chance"—kind of hope. But that's enough for a bioengineered super-soldier, a cocky AI, and a starship of maverick officers, right?

I'm definitely not going to rush and grab another Halo book to see what happens next or to learn about other escapades of the Spartans/Master Chief. But if they come across my path? Yeah, I'd read more.

If you're into Halo or if you want to understand what someone in your family/friends group sees in the game, this might be just the ticket. It's a decent amount of fun with just the right amount of action. Give it a shot. ( )
  hcnewton | Mar 30, 2022 |
I never would have expected this from a video game book. I have read other style books before and liked them, but this was really really good. I loved how he developed the characters. ( )
  kaballerau | Sep 18, 2020 |
Playing the games are not a pre-requisite to understand this series, but it helps enjoy the lore. This is the first book to show the Spartan II program, as it covers the early recruitment and training of the Spartans, their pre-Covenant missions, and how they adjusted to the Covenant, and the events leading up to the original game. Eric Nylund did an incredible job humanizing the Spartans and even giving them distinct personality traits.

This book didn't line up with other events in the overall story after the Reach game was released, so was edited to fit. (grab the edited version if you haven't read it before.) Nylund's writing style is grittier and more technical than Bear's, so expect a different feel to this (and his other) books. The game also goes into more detail about other event that happened prior to and during the Battle for Reach. ( )
  ryvaut | Jul 10, 2020 |
I was surprised by how much I liked it. I tend to avoid things set in space and I'm not into the Halo-type games at all, but everyone was right and I enjoyed it because of the characters. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
Because my honey said it’s actually pretty good and it’s actually is. With the caveat that I was recovering from surgery and needed something easy and fun to read. But I’ve read Star Wars novels… Been compared by some to Ender’s Game and other space marine SF. Without having read that I’d guess it’s a fair comparison – at least in terms of genre. I especially enjoyed the development of the Spartan program. ( )
  Seafox | Jul 24, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eric Nylundprimary authorall editionscalculated
McLaren, ToddNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Syne Mitchell. She watched my six, patched me up, and provided transportation to my DZ everyday--no soldier could ever ask for better support in the field...or a better wife.
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Prologue - 0500 HOURS, FEBRUARY 12, 2535 (MILITARY CALENDAR) / LAMBDA SERPENTIS SYSTEM, JERICHO VII THEATER OF OPERATIONS - "Contact. All teams stand by: enemy contact, my position."
Chapter One - 0430 HOURS, AUGUST 17, 2517 (MILITARY CALENDAR) SLIPSTREAM SPACE - UNKNOWN COORDINATES NEAR ERIDANUS STAR SYSTEM - Lieutenant Junior Grade Jacob Keyes awoke. Dull red light filled his blurry vision and he choked on the slime in his lungs and throat.
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Before the Human-Covenant War engulfed Halo, the planet-colony Reach came under attack by the Covenant, and Earth's specially trained and augmented warriors, code-named SPARTANs, stood alone to fight for humanity's survival.

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