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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling origin story of the Master Chief - part of the expanded universe based on the award-winning video game series Halo!

The 26th century. Humanity has expanded beyond Earth’s system to hundreds of planets that colonists now call home. But the United Earth Government and the United Nations Space Command is struggling to control this vast empire. After exhausting all strategies to keep seething colonial insurrections from exploding into a full-blown interplanetary civil war, the UNSC has one last hope. At the Office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top-secret program that could bring an end to the conflict...and it starts with 75 children, among them a six-year-old boy named John. And Halsey could never guess that this child will eventually become the final hope against an even greater peril engulfing the galaxy - the inexorable confrontation with a theocratic military alliance of alien races known as the Covenant.

This is the electrifying origin story of Spartan John-117 - the Master Chief - and of his legendary, unstoppable heroism in leading the resistance against humanity’s possible extinction.

©2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. (P)2008 Tantor Audio. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about HALO: The Fall of Reach

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator Never Played Halo

The story is good, but the narrator doesn't pronounce many things from the story correctly. The most obvious and annoying are his mispronunciation of Mjolnir and calling John 117 one-seventeen instead of one-one-seven like everyone else in universe does.

25 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal story - problematic performance

The entry point into the extended lore of my all-time favorite fictional universe, this story is so superbly written that I can disappear into it completely and not notice the hours flying by. Its so grounded and believable, yet fantastic at the same time. The characters feel real, their interactions and actions are genuine and the world is so detailed and honest that you buy every second of it.

Objectively the performance is pretty good, but not great. Normally I find Todd McLaren's smooth and dulcet tone addicting. I could listen to him for hours at a stretch. And for the most part, his delivery matches the weight of the story very nicely, though it does feel a little flat at times. He does a good enough job at differentiating the various characters through inflection and accent without sounding too forced, although a few do feel a bit overdone and he slips every so often.

It's a decent performance overall but I feel I must take a moment to vent an ongoing frustration that this reading brings back to the surface; you can tell very clearly that the narrators of these books are not even remotely familiar with the world and universe the story exists in and it negatively affects the experience of the story.

Most obvious is the repeated mispronunciation of key character and item names. They're simple things that admittedly don't seem so damning on the surface, but they're things that anyone who has spent even just an hour studying the material knows is blatantly wrong.

ONI isn't "O-N-I", its pronounced "oh-knee". And John-117 isn't "one-seventeen". Its "one-one-seven".

And why is no one able to pronounce Mjolnir properly? Its not Muh-joll-neer. Surely somewhere between reading, recording, editing and then publishing, someone must have picked up on it. How does this continue to be an issue?

It isn't even a word made up specifically for this story. It has an established and correct pronunciation that almost every entry in this series gets wrong. The fact that it continues to show up so frequently comes across as worse than just lazy, it borders on ignorant disrespect for the material.

If you're going to go to the effort of producing narrated versions of such a well known and beloved series, then the least you can do is respect the fans and material enough to spend some time getting familiar with the world, or at least even just learning the names of the key elements beforehand.

36 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t properly pronounce Mjolnir

Enjoyed the book
The space combat in ships can get a little dry and there’s a lot of it but I thoroughly enjoyed the telling of Johns story and how he became the soldier he appears as in the games

Reader couldn’t pronounce mjolnir properly and that made me cringe

30 people found this helpful

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had to return it

the narration is just awful. I wanted to like to book but I couldn't get passed how badly it was read.

13 people found this helpful

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The book is great the audiobook is eh

I love every single book in this series. The audiobook is good but seems to just fall short of being amazing. From the way he reads it, to the way he pronounces Mjolnir and ONI. It’s the little things, but I would still recommend to others

21 people found this helpful

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Awful performance

Couldn't make it more than a few minutes, wanted to like this book but mispronounced terms and flat dull voice are just too much to overcome.

5 people found this helpful

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Great story lessened by a nondescript narrator

I love this story. I have ever since it came out. Eric Nylund does an incredible job of implementing and expounding upon the Halo lore, and gives us an origin story of epic proportions that has become the accepted canon for the birth of John-117 and his fellow Spartan-IIs.

That being said, Todd McLaren's lackluster attempts at voices, constant mispronunciation of key Halo terminology (such as Mjolnir, ONI, and Shiva), and apparent lack of familiarity with the lore and universe severely detract from an otherwise brilliant story. Having read the story in print version, I can overlook these weaknesses out of love for the universe, but the narration is a severe tarnishing of what I would normally consider to be a shining silver plate.

8 people found this helpful

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Inconsistent Pronunciation

This is a fictional franchise almost 20 years old. Most of the words present in this book have been pronounced dozens of times (correctly and canonically) in many forms of media. How someone can fail to pronounce these things (Especially Mjolnir, Loki, ONI) is beyond estimation.

3 people found this helpful

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I wasn't a Halo fan but this book made me into one

I was curious what the fuss was about with these books so I decided to give this one a go. I understand now and I am officially a fanboy and about to play the game series, most of which for the first time ever. I havent enjoyed a book like I enjoyed this one in years. It's smartly written, very intriguing, and filled with that classic Halo atmosphere that the Halo franchise is known for. I really loved this book, especially as a new fan. the only gripe I have which isnt even a gripe is that I did get kinda lost at times in the space battles. But I know that's partially my own retention ability that is to blame.

Bottom line, its great, easy to understand but not dumbed down, and really a well written sci-fi military novel. I loved it.

2 people found this helpful

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Great story, bad reading.

I'm just can't understand how the narration got away with speaking over half of the story in the wrong year...from chapter 15 on it claims it is set in "2542". I have the hard copy of this book and it is all set 10 years later. I love this story, but that made me grit at the beginning of every chapter.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tim James
  • 03-26-19

All fantastic except...

Have been really enjoying the performance, I’ve been a Halo fan for years, played all games, read and re-read all the books. Fall of Reach being a favourite, and Todd McLaren does a great job...except...one thing that frustrates me as a fan is the pronunciation of Johns Spartan designation number - within the canon it is “one, one, seven”, however here it is being pronounced “one, seventeen”...I know this is a minor detail, but it’s one that sticks with me after playing the games with “one, one, seven” being used. But, that one point from a big fan aside...a great performance, really enjoyable, cannot stop listening to it!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Dylan Mayes
  • 04-02-19

Great reading but wrong dates of events

The story is as great as ever and love hearing the origins of the Master Chief, however some thing that unsatisfied me was that the dates for the Battle of Reach were wrongly read out - the narrator (who did do a great job of reading this) read the year as 2542 everytime, even though the actual year of the event was 2552. But still a great reading!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-20

Contradicts better pieces of the Halo EU, boring writing and is loved only for its nostalgia.

I decided to listen to this as my first Halo book instead of Contact Harvest, contact harvest being from what i’ve heard a more interesting and well written book then the Fall of reach, as it was impressed upon me the fact that this was the start of the Halo EU and therefore necessary in order to understand it as a whole. After listening I doubt this is the case. Before I go into the bad i’ll lay out the good... The space naval battles are very interesting to listen to, especially once you have a knowledge of how these ships look and operate from the games. The narrator is very good. He really brings forward that militaristic style Halo is known for. Although even here there’s problems with pronunciation of one or two things that will take someone familiar with Halo out of the experience. Now for the bad... The titular ‘Fall of Reach’ does not feature heavily in this book, more a third act finale, and the perspective you get is far less interesting then the Halo: Reach game. In fact, this book although I understand it was written before the development of Halo: Reach, contradicts the game at every turn and leaves anyone who has played the game, or any of the games really, baffled and confused. There is also a typo that is persistent throughout the book that adds to this confusion and frustration for anyone who has played the games. This typo relates to the year 2542 which should be 2552; an annoying realisation at the beginning of the third act for anyone who has played the Reach game and can tell the mistake at that stage. The writing is bland and the structure is all over the place. This is a story with a foregone conclusion and the plot suffers because of it, resulting in the plot being mostly an excuse to explain the Chief’s background and the background of the other characters of Halo: CE . Due to this it relies heavily, in my opinion, on the reader having already played the game to have somewhat of an emotional connection to these characters. The plot also suffers from this lack of direction in that it darts everywhere and leaps from one character to the other until you are unsure who the protagonist of this book is. Master Chief ultimately being so, but Keyes being the better option as Keyes is the only character you end up having a slitter of an emotional investment in. In relation to this protagonist problem there’s a POV chapter from a new character at the beginning of the second act, which seems like a nice once off. Once that character comes back however, a few chapters later, you assume this character will have more to say/do or perhaps become the book’s protagonist as we have seen this world through his eyes and spent time elaborating on his unique back story and exceptional abilities, but no, he is just brought back for no apparent reason and becomes a background character never to be heard from again. I looked up people’s thoughts on this book and was amazed at how many good reviews it has. I can only equate them to nostalgia. I was not expecting literature here, I knew what I was getting into, a pulpy sci-fi war novel to complement a 2001 game. The Fall of Reach is so poor it actually undermines how great of a game Halo: CE is. There are emotional events that happen to the character’s of CE in this book,directly before the game, that make their portrayal in the game somewhat off. This book doesn’t complement Halo: CE instead it makes me want to play it again to forget how bland this book portrays it’s world. I also seen that, apparently, Bungie tried to stop the release of this book for reasons I don’t know but after reading the book I don’t think that would have been a bad thing. This is not an interesting read and it is not a necessary read to understand the world of Halo. I’m sure there are other books in the canon that explain the parts of the lore this book poorly covers. In fact this book will probably confuse you more, as better pieces of the Halo EU contradict this book. At best The Fall of Reach needs a massive revision to realign itself with the Halo EU; at worst it needs to be decanonised.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lug
  • 01-11-19

Great story, decent reading

The book is interesting and well written, and a must read or listen for any Halo fan. The only gripe I had was the reader. The company that produced it had either not done their research or simply not informed the reader about the pronunciation of several of the terms, such as ONI (pronounced: "Oh-knee") or Mjolnir (pronounced: "Mole-near"). Aside from that it's very well done. I haven't listened to the other audio books yet so I am not sure if the pronunciation situation has been addressed.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • warren holmes
  • 04-25-21

m-yoll-near

cringed every time the narrator tried to say mjollnir but apart from that it was good

1 person found this helpful

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  • JTH
  • 03-22-20

Self-isolation answer!

Whether or not you’ve played the Halo games, this novel is incredible! Lots of interesting lore, excellently read and written. Onto the next one!

1 person found this helpful

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  • daniel atkinson
  • 01-07-19

Great halo book

Being a big halo fan of all the games and already having most of the paperback books.
I love this story because you get to find out about how the spartans came to be and best find out more about spartan 117 John the Master Chief before the first halo combat evolved game.
5/5 I like reading but sometime I like to lay and relax Whilst listening anyone that likes halo give it a go

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-15-21

really good

really enjoyed this fills in soo much information and expands on the game so much

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-21

Almost perfect!!

Everything about this is great if you’re a Halo fan! Very thrilling and fills in some well needed back story for the Spartans. The narrator is great by the way! All of his voices are fantastic and his voice is very easy to follow and understand! My only criticism is that he often mispronounced words during the read. Words like “chiton”, “mjölnir”, and “trebuchet”. He also mispronounces “Chi Ceti” which would be fine but he says a different way every time he has to say it…

Anyway, if you’re like me you’ll look past that (mostly) and just enjoy the story but just as a warning, it might get annoying. Otherwise this book is fantastic and I’m very glad I listened to it!!

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  • Liam Glass
  • 03-25-21

Remember Reach

Really enjoyed this book, thought I loved the game of reach more but everything about this book converted me to a true halo book fan.

the narrator's performance was great, truly made me visualise the story.
A great story that made me get through alot of boring task at work.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-15-20

Great

this was my first audiobook and halo novel experience
Safe to say that i thoroughly enjoyed it, although the ending doesnt line up with the ending of the video game "Halo Reach" which was a little frustratng but i guess that reflects in the game not the novel

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-24-19

Not perfect, but a fun listen

Narrator's mispronounciations jarring. Dates didn't line up with canon. Interesting addition to Master Chief's story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-31-21

addictive

amazing story, very very addictive!
Todd mclaren took this to another level and made it a great experience!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-15-21

Worth Picking Up

The book it self adds a lot of lore points that you never see in the games, was great to listen too.
Todd McLaren did a great job with the voices for characters, just some words were kind of off eg Mjolnir and longsword
and some acronyms like ONI and HUD being said letter by letter but it's not a big deal and easy to over look.

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  • Tobias cruz
  • 03-10-21

Great story but Narrator needs to learn.

It was a great book to listen to but the only thing that wrecked parts was words being read wrong.

Mjölnir is pronounced Myol-neer not meh-jolnear
Hearing HUD or ONI said as the individual letters rather than a word themselves. Bugged me big time, can't remember if there was the mention of any Longswords in this book BUT THE "W" IS SILENT.

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  • Peter acton
  • 12-16-20

Solid pulp sci fi

Narrator can be a little annoying. But the story is fun simple sci fi fun.

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  • Shaun
  • 12-03-20

A solid entry into the Halo franchise.

hard to put this one down. I normally listen to books while I do my daily walk I found my self walking more because I needed to know what happened next.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-25-20

Awesome

Bloody gr8 read... Awesome and well worth it
First time on audible..
Gr8 experiance..most excellent

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-28-20

Excellent prequel novel

A great book that sets up the original Halo trilogy perfectly, though it does clash somewhat with Halo Reach

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-20

I should have read earlier!

as a halo fan, these books are a must. the narrator is awesome and captures the characters well