Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund

Nylund, E. (2010). Halo: The fall of reach. New York, NY: Random House Publishing Group.

ISBN-13: 978-0765367297

Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Cloning, Aliens, War

Reading level/ interest age: 17+

Plot summary:

Children are selected at a young age and taken from their families if they are deemed to have the genetic traits to make a super soldier. These children undergo rigorous training from the moment they set foot at the facility. Genetic modification begins sometime later and the results can have disastrous consequences. Those who make it through the training are altered to become faster, stronger, and more intelligent. However, they lose much of what makes them human in the process. Emotions become limited as these trainees become further tailored into weapons of war. 

Following the character John, readers learn that the facility has taken a special interest in his abilities. He and a small handful of others are selected to participate in the Spartan program. These few are outfitted with specialized armor to make them, as they are told, virtually indestructible. John and the other Spartans begin to test out their suits and are just getting the hang of it when an alien fleet shows up. Confident, the planet Reach launches an all-out attack against the enemy. The Spartans get to show off their new skills in what is sure to be an epic battle.

Reader’s annotation:

Discover the Master Chief’s origins in this beloved prequel to the Halo video game series. This is a battle you don’t want to miss!

Information about the author:

“Eric S. Nylund was born in 1964 though his writing career didn't seem to begin until 1995. He is a novelist and professional technical writer. He is married to another Sci-fi writer, Syne Mitchell. He holds a B.Sc. in chemistry and an M.Sc. in chemical physics. He lives in North Bend, in the Seattle, Washington area. Astrological Sign: Scorpio.

“Eric Nylund is the author of Halo: The Fall of Reach, a novel that acts as a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo: First Strike, a sequel to Halo: The Flood and prequel to Halo 2, and a sequel to Halo 2, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. Despite this, his actual job is as a writer for Microsoft Game Studios. His job is to develop character and story bibles, write backstory, prepare materials for Marketing, write game manuals, write game scripts, consult on voice casting, direct voice actors, and coordinate with MS Localization, Legal, and Geopolitcal departments” (Ifogo.com, 2014).

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:

1.       How would you feel if you had been taken away from your parents at a young age?
2.       What kind of AI would you like to have in your suit?

Critical evaluation:

One of the most heart-wrenching books a person could read. The characters are immediately loveable and become unforgettable. Chronicling the character’s lives from childhood to early adulthood, most of the book builds the readers up into thinking that humans have a chance against the Covenant. Reach is meant to be a training facility to produce the next generation of super soldiers. Players of the Halo videogame series know how powerful Spartans are and of the Chief’s legendary accomplishments. Followers of the series who have only played the video games are taught to expect good endings no matter how dire the situation becomes. This is why this book is an amazing extension of the storyline. The Fall of Reach will have readers bawling over the injustice done to the human race. The planet that has been built to withstand even the worst of attacks is destroyed in a more heart wrenching episode than watching the scene between Rose and Jack after the sinking of the Titanic. This book will crush hopes and leaves a huge hole in its wake but earns a permanent spot on any bookshelf.

Challenge issues: N/A

Why included:

There are so few books in the Young Adult section geared towards the male audience. I wanted to include this book in my blog both because I believe that there should be more male-oriented books in a Young Adult collection and because this book is simply fascinating. I also think that, because it is part of a very largely loved videogame enterprise, the book will be popular.


Ifogo.com. (2014). Bio - Eric Nylund. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from

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