HALO: The Fall of Reach

HALO, Book 1
Narrated by: Todd McLaren
Series: Halo, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2,178 ratings)

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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.
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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

23 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.

18 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

18 people found this helpful

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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.

8 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.

7 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.

4 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.

1 person found this helpful

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Great narration, with some lore inconsistencies

There are some errors in this book's edition. Mostly the timeline. dates that should be listed as 2552 appear as 2542.

1 person found this helpful

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rreeeeeeee

great book . very few strange pronunciations. good place to start halo cannon. required words

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its pretty good

cant wait to hear the rest of the books this one hyped me up omf

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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!

3 people 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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  • 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.

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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  • Callum Macey
  • 07-01-20

Fantastic reading

Although the story doesn't 100% fit the Canon anymore, it really is a fantastic book.

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  • Aidan Moore
  • 06-21-20

Absolutely Fantastic

The depth of lore presented within the novel is, to put it lightly, phenomenal. The character progression, plot points and twists, as well as the minute details regarding Spartan physicality, genetics, and intellect are fascinating.

One minor annoyance is the way in which the narrator pronounces the word "Mjolnir", a word which appears with quite some frequency, but overall this has been one of the best audible performances I have encountered.

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  • James Earl
  • 06-08-20

One of a kind

This story is such a classic and so unique! Full of emotion, creativity and action. The detail of the ships, locations and more get you so immersed especially after it adds to what you see in the games. The loss of Spartans you see there is humanity in John which is so rarely seen. The ability of the spartan is showcased far better than the games ever can and same goes for the space battles. The narrator does capture the characters very well and is good at making it clear who is speaking. The only complaint I'd have is minor and it's that he pronounces a couple of the words wrong like pronouncing the "j" Mjolnir or saying one seventeen instead of one one seven. However this is just a splash in the ocean and I listened to the entire thing on one long trip there and back and the journey flew by.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-21-20

super book

i love this book it,s a very good story
and i love halo get this book every one

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-27-20

My riview

super nice long story awsome time and super additieve like the game and love the reading voice

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-07-20

PRONOUNCE MJOLNIR CORRECTLY

Are you serious hahahahah this guy cant even pronounce words properly and says O N I not oni jesus

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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

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-20

Worth the read

Fantastic narrator albeit he does pronounce a few words (such as mjolnir) incorrectly.

Only real gripe is that for some reason they chose to narrate the 2010 reprint of the book which has glaring oversights (that have been acknowledged by the creators & rectified in the 'difinitive' editions of the first 3 books), such as 2552 being incorrectly stated as 2542, and other small issues like misnumbered Spartan group sizes etc.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-20

great experience

narration was really good, captured the tension of the moments and suspense of the scenes well

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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.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-09-19

Narration

Narration can break a story.
Plenty of fans who had played the game out there

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-17-19

An amazing story

It is truly amazing listening to this great story, 10/10 reccomend to anyone into Halo!

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  • Newton R
  • 10-26-19

My favourite of all the series

Pre covenant. The origin of master chief and the original Spartans. The story and struggle of how it all started is awesome. The introduction of the covenant race and how the war began.

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  • NeitherSoldier
  • 04-21-19

Cuts off a few words

The only problem with it is that some words are cut at the beginning of them

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-17-19

Awesome book. Decent storyline, solid narration.

The story has depth in the characters, action and drama in an excellent balance. Thoroughly enjoyable and the narrator does a great job