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Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe (Halo)

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  2,695 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
When humanity expanded beyond the safety of Earth to new stars and horizons, they never dreamed what dangers they would encounter there. When the alien juggernaut known as the Covenant declared holy war upon the fragile human empire, millions of lives were lost—but, millions of heroes rose to the challenge. In such a far-reaching conflict, not many of the stories of these ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Tor Books (first published 2009)
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Halo by Eric S. NylundAssassin's Creed by Oliver BowdenBioShock by John ShirleyAssassin's Creed by Oliver BowdenAssassin's Creed by Oliver Bowden
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Halo by Tobias S. BuckellThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónHalo by Karen TravissHalo by Eric S. Nylund
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 12, 2011 Samuel22212 rated it really liked it
Halo Evolutions is a book involving many of the incredible stories in the Halo universe.
When humanity expands beyond the stars in a feat of human technology that allows them to strech beyond the stars they find something that shouldnt have been found. An alliance of alien species who's orgins come from far parts of the universe believes humanity to be a plague of the glaxy and believe humans to be against their gods. This group of aliens called themselves the Covenant and is sworn to extinguish
Nov 29, 2009 Jbergamini rated it it was amazing
This month I read the 500+ page book of science fiction short stories set in the Halo universe. It includes 4 poems and 11 short stories. To begin with, I'm going to talk about Dirt. The theme of this story is that if you have to choose between doing the right thing and being set for life, choose the right thing. The author's writing style is very straight forward; I could almost hear the ODST talking about his life as he lay dying. This and Human Weakness were my two of my favorite stories.
Jared Shilts
Jan 20, 2016 Jared Shilts rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melisa Ramonda
May 29, 2015 Melisa Ramonda rated it really liked it

I'd like to spare two stories that, for me, were just perfect: "Mona Lisa", since the characters were extremely detailed and the story itself unraveled in fast-paced ultra-high-emotional bases and it was also a nightmarish depiction of what happens when the Flood attacks; and the "Biography of Preston Cole" (yes, the same guy from the Cole Protocol). The name of the story is actually different but I don't remember it (it was too long). The lat
Jan 28, 2010 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: halo
This is a must read if you're a Halo fan. It's possibly the best book they've released after The Fall of Reach. Since it's a collection of short stories, I'm going to say a couple of quick things about each one.

Beyond, Acheron-VII, Icon, Connectivity

Pariah - This story looks back at the creation of the Spartan IIs and focuses on Soren-66. It's a good story, but there were a couple things about Soren that didn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the Spartans, which makes sense, I suppose, consid
Nov 11, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tina by: Hunt
4.5/5 actually. This was, by far, the best Halo book I've read. 13/15 stories were well-written, expertly-paced, character-driven tales that kept me fully entranced. There were two that were similar in resolution, which was odd - the editor shouldn't have put them so close in the anthology. There were two I wasn't entirely fond of, but I didn't dislike them. Karen Traviss' "Human Weakness" wasn't bad, but, like her Star Wars novels, it was full of repetition (this leaves me wary of her continuat ...more
Jan 16, 2010 Chad rated it really liked it
Like most short story collections, this is hard to review. There's a couple of clunkers mixed in here, but also some real gems. Some of the editorial choices were odd, like allowing two stories with essentially the same ending (hero sacrifices himself with a grenade to take out enemies in the process) into this collection. They were close to each other in the book, which just highlighted the repetition for me.

My three favorites:

1. The Mona Lisa by Jeff Vandermeer and Tessa Kum, which tells the
Matthew Ciarvella
Jan 07, 2016 Matthew Ciarvella rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
You might notice I have both this book and "Halo: Evolutions Vol. 1" on my "have-read" shelf. Which suggests that they're different books. Why would I read the same book twice? On the other hand, they have the same cover and they seem very similar. So what's the difference between "The Essential Tales" and "The Essential Tales Vol. 1?" That was the question I set out to answer.

So here's the thing. They are different books. They do contain a few different stories. But only a few. MOST of the stor
Delray Beach Public Library Public Library
Evolutions by Tobias S. Buckell
Halo 1

This book collects together the stories of many heroes who stepped up to fight the covenant as they waged genocide upon the human race. You will look into the perspective of these heroes as they fought and died across the galaxy to save humanity, and into those who wished to destroy it. From Spartan super soldiers to ordinary troopers, you can read about their heroic acts and their final sacrifice.

To discover the interesting tale of each mini-story pick up a
Apr 11, 2016 Jamy rated it it was amazing
This is my second time listening to this book. I got the audiobook many years ago, at my son's urging, because he was a rabid Halo fan and I will confess, I groaned inwardly when he chose it. I mean, it's fanfic written for a game, for crying out loud. But I ended up being very pleasantly surprised. The writing was good, the stories were compelling, and I am here to tell you that "The Mona Lisa" was one of the skin-crawliest, creepy stories I've read in a while. The stories are very action packe ...more
Mar 29, 2016 JasonColumb rated it it was amazing
The book Halo Evolutions: Essential Tales of the Halo Universe starts with a six year old boy named Soren. Soren lived on an illegal farm with his parents, on the planet Dwarka. His mother was sick with a disease,(her name was not said) so his father locked his mom in a closet so she wouldn't infect them. Soren did not understand, and planned to kill is father to free his mom. After stabbing his father in the neck with a knife, and running away to the forest. He ended up living in the forest wai ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Quaskie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every type of Halo fan
Shelves: halo-canon
Following The Cole Protocol, Evolutions is one of the best book I've ever seen since The Fall of Reach ! Tobias S. Buckell did an amazing job on this one, showing us he can still write something good (whereas it not having necesarily to be an entire book). All stories were good, more or less, but none of them were below average. This however, varies in everyone's eyes, but one thing is certain: there's something for everyone in this book, either you want to drop with the ODST, are interested in ...more
Shaun Heenan
Mar 03, 2016 Shaun Heenan rated it liked it
Like any collection of short stories, some parts are much better than others. A lot of the book is the same utterly dull space-military hoo-rah-ism that fills most of the books in the main series, but there are a few real highlights that really elevate the collection.

The best of them is the story of Cortana's encounter with Gravemind between Halo 2 and 3. She's always been the most interesting character in the games, and this was probably the most important blank spot in the plot.

There's a horro
May 05, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
Fun to get short stories of so many aspects of the universe and well done keeping them consistent. Also loved the artwork.
Jun 22, 2015 Natalie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Halo fans
Anthologies are difficult to review because the stories always differ in strengths and weaknesses. Some of the short stories were more compelling and developed than others - "Mona Lisa" was by the far the most exciting and well-written story, though many of the others are a close second. Overall, though, they were all interesting and fun to read; because the stories happen at different times and places, this anthology can be read at any time instead of in tandem with the other novelizations in t ...more
Nov 13, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Halo fans, science fiction fans
This book had been on my to-read list for years and, somehow, it kept getting pushed back to the bottom of the pile. I picked it up because said pile got really short (only three fiction books left—the horror!) and the first thing I thought when I finally started reading it was, "Why the hell didn't I pick this book up sooner?!"

Halo Evolutions is a collection of short stories (and a few poems and artwork) based on the boundless Halo universe. The stories are as diverse as they are interesting, a
Andy Parkes
May 21, 2011 Andy Parkes rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reading
Originally posted on:

One of the things I really enjoy about the Halo series of games is the back story and for Halo fans there has been plenty of fiction thrown up which I’ve been more than happy to read!

So when I saw Halo Evolutions and Halo Evolutions Volume 2 on Amazon I ordered them straight away.

In a nutshell the books are a series of short stories based around the Halo Universe and explore multiple areas from various different characters such as Ad
Alex Brown
Sep 26, 2013 Alex Brown rated it it was amazing
I picked this book one day because i needed something to read for school, but something that interested me, in this case halo. The whole book doesn't have any specific or one setting because its many short stories put together, but generally all across the halo universe. Some of the main stories are on a planet called harvest, or other random planets. in one big book. There is also no main character, as every story has there own main characters. Almost all of the characters face internal and ext ...more
Jesse Booth
Feb 24, 2011 Jesse Booth rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I have no idea how long it took me to read this book. A very long time.

I was excited when this collection came out. I have written several short stories myself, so when I heard that a compilation of Halo shot stories was being released, I quickly snatched up the first copy I could get. Now, two years later, I can finally say that I finished it.

To be completely honest, the stories weren't very good. The only one I really cared for was the one about Cortana's experience withstanding the gravemind
Feb 01, 2012 Hugo rated it really liked it
I could not believe how much the people who created this game had so much of a story plot before the game saga. How many different stories they had is the one thing that actually surprised me, with the awesome final story of how a man who became a highly respected cammander from a lonely lieutenent. Another story i really liked was the one when a man got hurt and he had to sleep in a special medical bed, and while he slept, his ship got invaded by the covenent, when he woke up he found out he wa ...more
I.F. Adams
Mar 24, 2016 I.F. Adams rated it liked it
I'm always a little embarrassed by liking video game adaptations, but you know what? The Halo universe is surprisingly rich. So screw y'all, I liked it.

This ones just a collection of different short stories. Some great, some less so. None are terribly compelling but were plenty entertaining for commute reading. Always like the ones that focus on the human civil war "before" the covenant war.
Dec 01, 2012 Denzel rated it liked it
If you are a fan of the Halo series who is somewhat interested in the rest of its universe, this book will satisfy you. The quality and enjoy-ability of the stories varies, as happens with any anthology. Be prepared to be bummed out however, as there are several tales of heroic self-sacrifices and lost causes. The characterisation of the Master Chief and Cortana, the main players of the series, also varies, as each author gives their own take. While you may not enjoy or agree with the interpreta ...more
Jason Hamilton
Dec 29, 2012 Jason Hamilton rated it liked it
"Pariah" by B. K. Evenson, is actually a very enjoyable short story. It covers elements of the Halo universe that wouldn’t normally be covered in a novel, comic, or video game, namely what happened to the Spartans who became deformed due to the human augmentation procedures. The short does a remarkable job of getting into the background and psyche of the character in few pages. The story was easy to get into and identify with. Additionally the action is well paced and keeps the reader engaged. T ...more
Sep 12, 2011 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can see why my son likes this; I read the book tie-ins for the various pop culture fads when I was his age. That said, they aren't bad and while you don't necessarily need to know or play Halo to understand these stories, it helps.

Some of the stories have short sections here and there that read like the author (or possibly the editor) went down a rote list of things from the video game that were required to be in the stories, just in case the drawing of the Spartan on the cover wasn't enough
Jared EVHS Victoria
Feb 13, 2015 Jared EVHS Victoria rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the stories of how Master Chief came to be the the war hero we gamers know him as. I was intrigued when Master Chief was believed to be normal like you and me, until a science experiment changed his life forever.
Fred Hughes
Jan 06, 2012 Fred Hughes rated it really liked it
This book makes eminent sense. It includes some of our favourite HALO authors – Eric Nyland, Tobias S. Buckell etc. and their short stories encompassing various aspects of the HALO world.

It takes time to develop a fully flushed out and viable HALO series book so this is a nice gap filler while we wait for the next full novel.

There are 14 different HALO short stories here of which all of them could be developed into future full length novels. It’s fun with the short stories to be able to read an
Melissa Cuevas
May 17, 2012 Melissa Cuevas rated it really liked it
Now this is what I'm talking about! Just because it's a game world tie in doesn't mean it has to suck, and Evolutions definitely does *not* suck. Well written, deep, dark and gritty, all of the stories bring some real heft to the table of Halo canon lore. If all game tie in fiction could be this good, I'd be a happy little camper indeed.
I originally bought this for my Halo fanatic son when it came out, and have only recently worked my way towards it. While I am fairly familiar with Halo's story
Kenneth Peterson jr.
Dec 30, 2014 Kenneth Peterson jr. rated it it was ok
going to read again just so I can give a honest rewiew because no book should be read only once before opinions are made
Nov 01, 2014 Kado rated it it was amazing
Some of these stories are pointless but most of them are really great reads! Especially the one about Cole.
Jun 14, 2014 Gwen rated it really liked it
Interesting back stories from the "HALO" universe. I love sci fi. These are good and are keeping my interest
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong book type 5 26 Oct 02, 2014 04:14PM  
  • Halo: Uprising
  • Halo: Contact Harvest
  • Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
  • Halo: Glasslands
  • Halo: Cryptum
  • The Halo Graphic Novel
  • Halo: Helljumper
  • The Art of Halo
  • Halo: The Flood
  • Halo: Blood Line
  • Halo: Fall of Reach - Covenant
  • Halo: Broken Circle
  • Halo: New Blood
Born in the Caribbean, Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author. His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author. He currently lives in Ohio.
More about Tobias S. Buckell...

Other Books in the Series

Halo (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Halo: The Fall of Reach
  • Halo: The Flood
  • Halo: First Strike
  • Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
  • Halo: Contact Harvest
  • Halo: The Cole Protocol
  • Halo: Cryptum
  • Halo: Glasslands
  • Halo: Primordium
  • Halo: The Thursday War

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