Run for your lives!!
I went ahead and read the second of Karpyshyn’s 3 Mass Effect-centric novels. Actually, I read it in two days.
Much of what I said in my review of Revelation holds true here. The novel is a great addition to the Mass Effect Universe for fans of the video game series. I enjoyed this book much more than Revelation for a couple of reasons, and they’re purely biased on my part: One of the main characters is a young autistic girl, and you see a lot of Quarians in this book.
If you found the Quarian culture fascinating in the books and are thirsting for more of the enviro-suited aliens, look no further. A good portion of the novel takes places in the Migraint Fleet. Unlike the events of Tali’s loyalty quest in Mass Effect 2, the characters in the novel actually spend time among the Quarian’s living quarters. You get a much more intimate sense, as the characters do, about the Quarian’s plight; living on cramped ships with limited supplies, and how that, in turn, fosters their strong sense of community and loyalty. I really appreciated this because it was sorely lacking in the video games.
If you don’t care one way or the other about the Quarians, there’s always Cerberus! The Illusive Man is a character in the book. It’s great to get an idea about other “business ventures” Cerberus had sunk its teeth into. Besides, you know, spending billions of credits resurrecting Shepard. Instead, they spend 10 years and tons of money on an autistic, biotic human, hoping she will be the key to leveling the playing field for humanity in their struggle to be recognized on the galactic homefront.
Kahlee Sanders plays front and center in this novel again. I like her a little more than in Revelation, though her reactions (or lack thereof) in certain circumstances seemed either unrealistic or sorely lacking in emotion. Then again, the author doesn’t tend to delve too deeply into many character’s thoughts and emotions besides the red sand addict. Grayson, “father” of the autistic biotic girl Cerberus had him raise for over 10 years, is a red sand junkie. Seeing how red sand affects humans was also a great dose of information the games didn’t have time to explore.
Ascension takes place between the first two Mass Effect games. With that being so, the author has to skirt around some of those player choice plot points. Those couple of bits are glaringly obvious, but I suppose they’re almost unavoidable. I didn’t pick up on any editing oversights in Ascension, either.
As with Ascension, so far I find the books entertaining and quick reads. They’re a great avenue for gamers like myself going through Mass Effect withdrawals. Plus, Quarians and Illusive Man!