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Don't miss the first-ever young adult fiction novel based on the megahit Halo video game series!Saskia, Dorian, Evie, and Victor aren't exactly friends at their small high school on the middle-of-nowhere colony world of Meridian. Each has their own problems, from absent parents to supporting their family, getting into a good college to making the next hit holo-film. But those problems were nothing next to the threat now facing their world: The alien alliance known as the Covenant is laying siege to Meridian, for reasons that aren't so easily explained.With their village in flames, the four teens find themselves stuck aboveground, locked out of the town shelter where the rest of the survivors are gathered. Together, Saskia, Dorian, Evie, and Victor are thrust into battle with nothing but a few scavenged weapons and an injured Spartan, one of the UNSC's super-soldiers. What's forged from the destruction will determine the fate of Meridian, and tilt the battle for humanity's survival.

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First published January 1, 2019

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About the author

Cassandra Rose Clarke

75 books1,455 followers
Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Both of these degrees have served her surprisingly well.

During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, where she enjoyed sixty-degree summer days. Having been born and raised in Texas, this was something of a big deal. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 45 reviews
Profile Image for Ben Brown.
422 reviews136 followers
March 26, 2020
A YA-“Halo” novel? Yes, you read that right….and yes, it reads about exactly as you would expect.

To be fair: “Halo: Battle Born” isn’t BAD, at least so far as readability goes – the story moves at a decent clip, the characters are likable, and all in all, there’s an affability to the thing that’s not un-charming. Writer Cassandra Clarke is clearly enjoying herself here, and it shows – one thing that “Battle Born” isn't is dull. The problem is less execution and more conceptual – for all its appeals to the younger demographics, “Battle Born” still looks and feels EXACTLY like the same “Halo” we’ve gotten for going on 20 years now, except now it’s just a little more watered down, a teensy bit safer, and with an ounce more “teen-iness.” It’s pretty standard-issue stuff, which – if that’s all you’re looking for out of the ten-millionth “Halo” novel – is fine. If, however, you’re craving something – ANYTHING – new or different from “Halo” as a franchise, then be prepared to be disappointed: “Battle Born” ain’t what you’re looking for.
Profile Image for Teenreadsdotcom.
696 reviews39 followers
January 28, 2019
Cassandra Clarke has written many books for young adults and teenagers and is most noted for her book titled OUR LADY OF THE ICE and her series called The Assassin’s Curse. Her most recent book is HALO: Battle Born; books similar to this one include HALO: The Flood by William Dietz and HALO: Last Light by Troy Denning. All of the books that have “Halo” are each somewhat based off the video game series called Halo.

In this thrilling book, four teenagers unite together in an attempt to save themselves, their home and everyone they love. Saskia, Dorian, Evie and Victor hail from a small town in their colony world of Meridian where nothing ever happens. Each one of these teenagers has their own goals and dreams which they wish to achieve. Then one night everything disappears in an instant when their small town becomes held siege by the alien allegiance called COVENANT. This is the same alien allegiance that had attacked Meridian before several decades ago. Evie and Victor happened to be in the woods working on a project when the attack happened and were unable to reach the underground shelters. As a result, they were forced to go into hiding in the woods where they encountered Saskia and Dorian.

Saskia lives away from all other people in a fortified mansion and Dorian washed up on shore after an attack at sea. With no means of communicating with the other survivors, together Saskia, Dorian, Evie and Victor unite in an attempt to save themselves and families from their alien enemies. As the story progresses the weather is miserable and is a straight downpour causing flooding in the underground shelters where the survivors were. Regardless of all this, the four teenagers come upon a very important game changer, a Spartan soldier by the name of Owen. Together they go off trying to find out what Covenant wants from their town, and how to save their families and fellow townspeople. By placing each other’s lives and trust in the hands of each other, this group proves to be more than what they seem and set off to try and accomplish what they deem impossible.

This book was a pleasure to read because it was a page-turner that always had me wondering what would happen next. All in all, everything flowed smoothly and the transitions of the narrations of Saskia, Dorian, Evie and Victor from chapter to chapter were smooth. In the midst of all the good things about this book, one flaw should be noted. Clarke, the author, had a tendency to give information that was not necessary to the story. However, it should be noted that you must read this book with a keen eye otherwise you may miss a few important details.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in science fiction and action books. Also if you are a fan of the video game series Halo you are sure to enjoy this book just as much. In my opinion, this book combined Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings series together and ended up making something more modern. Therefore it’s fair for me to say that HALO: Battle Born is one of the better books I have read recently. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
Profile Image for Drew.
21 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2019
I love the Halo video games, especially Halo 3, and I love young adult literature so this book is perfect for me. The author doesn't go into too much detail about the Covenant; those who have played the video games of course will have a better understanding of the aliens but that knowledge is not needed to follow along in the story. I would definitely keep google open so you can see what some of the aliens and weapons look like if you're new to the Halo universe.

I think this is an excellent first book in this new series and I'm excited to see where it goes.
Profile Image for Chris The Lizard from Planet X.
360 reviews7 followers
November 23, 2021
Halo: Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke is a Young Adult video game tie-in novel based on the Halo game franchise, and first book of the “Battle Born” Trilogy.

Set in 2548 late into the Human-Covenant War. The alien alliance known as the Covenant have been carving a warpath through the colonies of humanity. On the colony world of Meridian, four teenagers Saskia, Dorian, Evie, and Victor must learn to survive with the help of Beta Company Spartan-III Owen as their town is invaded by the Covenant who are search for Forerunner technology buried beneath.
their small town.

So in short, the book is good. It is. I really like the opening especially, as it shows us a glimpse of the Halo universe we haven’t seen. Most Halo EU material has been about heavy military sci-fi action. This novel is different by showing young civilians teaming up to do something way outside their comfort zones.

In addition to being glad for a lack of cheesiness, I was also very thankful that the protagonists are not treated as unstoppable suits of plot armor. For the most part, the young teens the story is about do not actually do battle with the Covenant. They spend most of their time running and hiding, which I appreciated. The first encounter with a lone Kig-Yar is a genuinely scary thing.

Luckily, despite being a Young Adult novel about teenagers, we are spared from having to dredge through teenage and school melodrama before the Covenant shows up; from the first chapter we see hints of the Covenant preparing their invasion and it is only a few chapters later that the Covenant invade in full. It also helps that the story starts on the weekend. Really, the only melodramatic thing that I can think of is Victor's crush on Saskia. It is almost mentioned any time a chapter is focused on his narrative, even after the Covenant appeared. Made me want to just slap him upside the head and scream, "Priorities, you idiot!" Though I do feel if that if any romances happen, I would be all in for Evie/Dorian due to how natural their interactions were, them staying friends and comrades would also work.

Overall, I quite enjoyed Battle Born. It was a nice view of a Covenant invasion from the civilians' view. There were a few places that were a bit contrived, like how the energy shield projector didn't seem to be as defended as you would have thought, but nothing that broke the suspension-of-disbelief for me. Just made me stop for a second and shrug. I would definitely recommend Halo: Battle Born to any fan of Halo franchise or Military Sci-fi books.
Profile Image for Peter.
68 reviews
January 23, 2022
I was pleasantly surprised with HALO: Battle Born. Adaptations don't always go well, but this book did a great job.

This book did a great job at almost everything. Not an amazing job, but a great job. The characters are all good, and the story was definitely better than I'd expect for a Halo book. It was written well, although occasionally I wasn't a fan. There's not much in here that I can say wasn't good, apart from a few nitpicks like the cliché of "programmer" meaning the same thing as "hacker." Battle Born succeeded at having intense fight scenes, but I thought they got a little less interesting near the end.

I will give this book four stars. It's much better than I'd expect. I think there's also a sequel, so I be sure to read that.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
275 reviews2 followers
January 31, 2019
I enjoyed all of the Halo games and most of the Halo books that surround the Masterchief story. I was excited to see a YA book that was centered around a Spartan and not the forerunners. Great fun book, but I do wish that it had connected more to the existing universe.
Profile Image for Carl Malmborg.
34 reviews1 follower
June 7, 2020
I was a bit sceptical at first when I heard them releasing a YA-fiction within the Halo universe. I’m happy that my sceptisism was in vain. The book is a good start to get into the Halo universe. I’d say that you don’t have to have too much knowledge about Halo before jumping into this and it’s a lighter read compared to the main line books.

Find peace in the domain yall.
Profile Image for Kelsey Riggs.
247 reviews1 follower
February 19, 2019
This was terrible. Between the cliches, flat characters, and the writer having issues following their own world rules, I cringed after every chapter. I will admit that I am new to the HALO world, so i was hoping that this book would be a slow introduction for me. That it could integrate me into the game world. Unfortunately, the book didn't explain what the Covenant was until half way through the book and didn't mention ONCE what UNSC even stood for. The description of the invaders was lacking severely too! If I hadn't known that the HALO universe was set in space, I certainly wouldn't have known from BATTLE BORN until like page 150.
Did i also mention that the characters had almost no dimension to them? They had backgrounds, sure, but the reader felt no connection to them. They felt like cheap knock-offs of Katara, Aang, Soka, Toph (Avatar).
As I was reading this, all i could think of was...my god...i'm reading a fanfiction. That's not to say there are not good or even great fanfiction out there (i've read those), but this one was the standard "I'm a 14 year old writer and I want something published" fanfiction.
Can i also add that no teen (at least the ones that I talk to every day) would pick this up? HALO is more for the older generation - those who grew up with the game. Now, teens have other first-person shooters that are more relevant to them. They will take one look at this and either ignore it or pick it up like i did (not knowing anything but the name) and hope for the best.
This book was a waste of my time and I truly wish I hadn't read it. It's only positive note: the cover is attractive.
Profile Image for Dustin Street.
Author 5 books11 followers
March 12, 2019
I enjoyed this one pretty well. I have to say, as a huge fan of Halo, I was not disappointed with the way familiar elements were portrayed in book form. The author was clearly knowledgeable about the series, and I didn’t really see anything that came into contradiction with established canon. If anything, the book made the Halo universe feel more intact, more real.

My only real gripes with the book are from a craft standpoint. I love that there’s now a YA series set in this world, but I almost felt the book was written with more of a middle-grade audience in mind. The plot was very straightforward, with lots of action pieces. And that’s fine, but what it lacked for me was enough subplots to make its characters really come alive. Saskia has the most potential as a complex, evolving character, and Dorian had a semblance of uniqueness. But the other two POV characters, as well as the SPARTAN Owen were almost lost in the mixture.

I just think the story was a bit too careful in terms of not trusting its audience to handle a more in-depth character study of our leads, not to mention a plot that doesn’t rely on the redundant pattern of “go on mission, regroup at house, repeat.”

Still, this was an enjoyable first entry, and I am definitely excited for the obvious sequel that will have to follow after that ending (the entire last third of the book was the most enjoyable part, with a satisfying ending that left me wanting more). I just hope all of the characters have more to lean on in the next one that just running around shooting guns and trying to keep from dying. I want to know more about who they are...both to themselves and to each other.
Profile Image for Echoes.
239 reviews26 followers
September 14, 2019
The Halo video game series is one of my all-time favorites and I’ve been reading any novel connected to the Halo universe practically since the original novelization of the first game came out. I think this was a great addition to the multitude of novels that have come out since that first one.

It focuses on a group of teenagers and a Spartan III that got stranded during a Covenant attack on the planet. The author does a great job of keeping the energy and tension high as well as giving each of the major races in the Covenant (except for the Brutes and Prophets) some really good battle scenes. People who have never played the games before won’t have any trouble understanding what’s going on because she also does a great job describing the different species.

I listened to this on audiobook and must say that the narrator (Thérèse Plummer) did a fantastic job of giving everyone their own unique voice and showing the emotions that they were going through during their adventure. I never had trouble following who was saying what and was actually on the edge of my seat for a lot of the action sequences.

I am hoping that there will be a direct sequel to this because the book ends with some mysteries unresolved but gives the reader plenty of ideas about where things can go from there. I wouldn’t mind reading about these characters again.
Profile Image for David Ramirez.
63 reviews2 followers
October 8, 2022
I was a little wary going into this one knowing it was specifically YA, but I actually found myself enjoying it quite a bit! Just like so many of the other reviews say, I appreciate that these kids very rarely engage in full-on combat with the Covenant. It's a fantastic contrast to see how they react to things versus what we've seen from all of the other books, from the point of view of trained, experienced soldiers: this group is terrified out of their wits almost all the time, barely finding time to relax and unwind. They're just regular civilians, and aren't even full adults yet. It's fast-paced and believable, and it's also quite nice to see what a Covenant invasion actually looks like to the residing population.

It -did- have its flaws, of course - mainly the same high-school stuff that other reviews mention (one of the characters having a crush in school on one of the others is a major point of repetition and focus), and it was also a task of suspending disbelief for this Spartan agreeing to take four minors into combat against the Covenant (though I guess not so much, thinking about the origin of the Spartan program...)

But all in all, I liked it a lot! Looking forward to when the next one arrives.
19 reviews
January 2, 2019
@kidlitexchange #partner #kidlitexchange Thank you for the opportunity to preview this free review copy that is set to come out January 2019! All opinions are my own. As a big Halo fan, I was so excited to see this coming out. The story is told from multiple POVs by characters that each have a different background, both in social status and in their thoughts and beliefs about the UNSC. While they are all going about their seemingly normal day, their town is attacked by Covenant forces and each of the characters is prevented from entering the town’s shelter. By chance (and a little bit of luck) they are able to find each other. They realize they have to come together, despite their differences, if they are going to save the people of their town. Being the Halo fan that I am, I was disappointed in this book. You can definitely tell it’s written to appeal to the masses. The Halo universe is so intricate but the amount of information given in this book would probably fit on a single page. However, Halo biases aside, I really enjoyed the characters and how they were able to overcome their differences to save the people they love.
Profile Image for Andrew Bulthaupt.
435 reviews12 followers
January 8, 2019
I listened to this book via Audible.

I wasn't sure what to think when I started reading a 'Young Adult,' Halo novel. When I think YA I think of authors like John Green, who I like, but don't quite see as a fit for a Halo-style story. To that end, I didn't feel like Battle Born was a typical YA novel at all and was more in line with what I've come to expect from other Halo stories.

All that said, I thoroughly enjoyed this visit to Meridian, a place we've seen in the Halo universe at several other points in its history. There's plenty of characters to meet and get to know, which is definitely the focus of the novel. It's a smaller story than some of the galaxy-spanning tales we've come across, but it's certainly not a bad thing.

By the end, I was invested in each of the main characters and what happened to them, which perhaps is part of where it gets it YA moniker. There are plenty of heightened emotions and you may get 'the feels,' near the finale.

If you're looking for a Halo story and don't mind the lack of familiar faces, Battle Born will certainly scratch the itch. I know I'll be looking forward to the sequel!
Profile Image for Thijs.
261 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2019
A well written Halo novel with an unexceptional, but still tense and exciting plot. It is simple, but it does simplicity very well, and sometimes you need that too. They can't all save the galaxy.

Even though it is listed as a young adult novel, the focus isn't too heavy on teen stuff and it just feels like 4 civilians getting caught up in a larger problem. Which was very well done. The characters are like the plot: realistic, not too out of the ordinary and relatable.

Seeing the civilian perspective on the Human Covenant war was VERY refreshing for the Halo universe, where almost everyone is a soldier or scientist for the military. (Which again the novel does very well: every character has someone close who is in the military and again this aspect is very refreshing).

All in all you won't miss anything in the large picture of the Halo story, but fresh point of view, relatable characters and a background of an important planet make it a well written, very good(relatively speaking) relaxing novel in the Halo Universe.
Profile Image for Stephanie Bange.
1,602 reviews13 followers
March 10, 2020
The first of a new YA novel series based on the Halo gaming franchise, this story follows four teenagers - Evie, Victor, Dorian, and Siskia - who live in a "backwoods" village on the planet Meridian, as they try to seek information on why the aliens of the Covenant have invaded their small village, covering it with an impenetrable barrier. They are rescued from peril and befriend Owen, a Spartan/super-soldier of the UNSC, who helps train them and guide them in this quest to save themselves, their families (who are barricaded in a safety shelter), and the life as they know it.

Clarke has written an engaging science fiction tale. It is one rip-roaring ride. Readers unfamiliar with Halo will quickly buy into it. Each chapter is written about or from the perspective of one of the four teens, helping to show the character's backstory and evolution during this episode. I can't tell you too much more -- it's classified!

Give this to sci-fi fans; they will gobble it up!

Recommended for grades 7-up
February 9, 2023
It was a very nice and smooth read, it went by at a very good pace, never boring. I’m reading the novels in chronological order of events (so my opinion might differ from somebody that read them by release date). And for this I found it quite different than the rest.

The last few books I’ve been reading had quite of a repetitive formula which was starting to be boring: insurrectionists, covenants, the hierarchs between themselves and the UNSC, rarely some other military force or civilian with some military expertise. This comes in a different way. For the first time we have the impact of the Covenant attack directly from the point of view of the civilians living in that planet. On top of that on the point of view of teenagers. And this is the part I really really enjoyed.

Obviously the narration has teenagers as a target, so the book must be taken with that in mind, but overall the story is very enjoyable, and if you are reading in chronological order of events, also a breath of fresh hair.
We’ll see how the sequel is, hopefully it will not disappoint.
Profile Image for Alice.
378 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2022
As a YA Halo book, this is actually pretty good. There's enough time spent establishing the characters, their wants and desires, and who they care about to give the rest of the book an sense of tension and urgency. Their ages/experiences allow Clarke to introduce the Halo universe technology and enemies slowly, but without characters magically revealing information they really shouldn't know. The story plays out like a Halo game - a teenager's ODST.

But it's very firmly a YA book in how it's written and that's not my personal taste. There's a focus on interior monologues, and the plot focus is pretty simple and action based. Doesn't make it bad, just not what I enjoy the most.

If you're looking for a younger sci-fi book to get your teenagers interested in Halo, or don't like the weird lore in some of the other Halo books and want something that is a bit more like the games, then check this out.
3 reviews
June 10, 2021
The book is fine overall. Too me, it was a lot of fluff and plays on emotions but I think that comes with the genre. There was some good action in it but it wasn't as grandiose as other Halo books.

Speaking of which, this book isn't as involved in the verse as its predecessors. It's more of a side story or even a spinoff. It just gives off lore and details as breadcrumbs but imo, nothing worth noting.

As an intro to Halo, I feel like this book doesn't do a good job. It just tells you tidbits of what is happening and how things should be perceived but it doesn't give you anything to work with to match that perception.

On a side note, I listened to the audiobook version and that version is horrible. She speaks in almost an ASMR tone and it's just bad. This is a not accounted for in my review of the book by itself.
Profile Image for Luca Cresta.
997 reviews25 followers
March 15, 2020
Attirato dal brand "HALO", il mitico VG Bungie, di cui ho letto tutti i romanzi collegati, ho comprato questo YA ambientato nello stesso universo narrativo. Pur essendo un classico YA, questo romanzo SF è veramente notevole, ben scritto e con un buon ritmo narrativo. I personaggi compongono una squadra di ragazzi, che vengono appoggiati dallo Spartan B096- Owen, nella loro avventura di difesa planetaria. Il testo è divertente ed godibilissimo. Certamente, gli appassionati del VG troveranno tutto quello che hanno apprezzato, le pistole ad aghi ed i fucili al plasma Covenant, le IA e le ambientazioni che hanno fatto la fortuna della serie. Un'ottimo esordio nella serie per questa giovane autrice di talento. Ho messo nel reader il secondo volume appena tradotto.
Profile Image for Jacob Brown.
16 reviews23 followers
January 15, 2022
This book started out as an immense disappointment and managed to work its way back to something that has me thinking about reading Book 2. The first 50-75% of the book is underwhelming character development and the introduction of some seemingly second rate spartan that the author does nothing to make us like. That being said the last chunk of the book had me so engrossed that I could have easily stayed up to the wee hours of the morning to finish. The ending of this book is the only thing saving it from a 1-2 star review dragged down by a lack luster opening and a mediocre middle section.
Profile Image for rellimshelby.
6 reviews
March 13, 2019
3.5 stars! I love playing Halo so this was a fun YA read into the same universe. I didn’t find myself binge reading like usual until about 65% in, but I still felt like it delivered on world building, adventure and suspense by the end. I will definitely be following Evie, Dorian, Saskia and Victor into the next book!
9 reviews
May 21, 2019
This book has been my least favorite book to take place in the halo universe. Not to say its bad or awful, but to say that it was fairly average. First the main characters are a little dull or feel boring. Dorian being the worst of the bunch from abandoning his band to being just mean to Owen for no reason. Just overall the book was bland
Profile Image for Natasha.
103 reviews1 follower
March 9, 2019
I actually liked this, it was a surprise but I really liked it. I mean anyone who is a fan of Halo would know how the Meridian ends up towards the end of the war but it was interesting to see it from the beginning
60 reviews
May 26, 2019
A solid first entry in a new line of Halo YA novels. The cast was a highlight as each of the 4 protagonists felt unique with different personalities, abilities, and goals. I’m looking forward to seeing how this storyline continues in the next books!
35 reviews
April 17, 2020
My first ever video game based book. Big fan of the games but the book just wasn't my cup of tea. There could of been a lot more depth and detail. Obviously not marketed at me. Would of probably enjoyed it if I was closer to 13 not 30. Still completed and would recommend for target audience.
Profile Image for Jordan.
2 reviews
July 1, 2020
Reading the book you can definitely tell it’s aimed at a slightly younger audience, but story wise I still unashamedly really enjoyed it and found it to be quite gripping. Growing up playing the HALO I couldn’t resist picking this book up when I stumbled across it and I wasn’t disappointed
Profile Image for Hans Melius.
199 reviews
July 3, 2020

A refreshing take on the Halo Universe. We still get the thrill of a Spartan and the dread of an Elite’s approach, yet there is something new and fresh with the main characters. Looking forward to part 2.
1 review
May 3, 2021
The book was pretty short but had a good story. I really liked the characters, but some areas of their personalities could use some work. Still, the book had a good story and was very engaging at parts.
November 1, 2021
Meh, so so. Even for a YA. Not being a big fan of the Halo universe this series was really not worth the time to read. Especially compared to some of the really good halo books out there. (And other better YA series)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 45 reviews

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