Keep smokin’ that cig, Illusive Man.
Onto the third Mass Effect novel, and the final one written by Drew Karpyshyn. There truly is little to no reason to read this novel if you haven’t already read Redemption and Ascension, so go read those first. Retribution follows the original characters (Plus Illusive Man and Anderson) from the first two books.
I bet you’ll never guess which blue-skinned lady friend from the video games makes an appearance: our favorite renegade asari, Aria T’Loak. She makes the mistake of getting in bed with Cerberus, for reasons I won’t disclose. I thought this novel was going to evaluate on the events which lead up to Aria being kicked out of Omega (as you see in Mass Effect 3) but… it doesn’t, exactly. Being the asari fangirl that I am, I did enjoy seeing more of her and learning a few new tidbits about her.
Despite the Illusive Man and Cerberus playing a huge part in this story, I was surprised when Kai Leng made an appearance and continued to be a major player throughout the book. If you love him (or love to hate him, as in my case), you may enjoy seeing him using his assassin skills on someone that isn’t Commander Shepard.
This book is similar in style and execution as its predecessors. Entertaining, light reading, with a couple of noticeable editorial mistakes. The progression of the characters not in the video games was relatively satisfying. One major thing that annoyed me was their godly powers of deduction. With the way all the characters were able to basically read each other’s minds or calculate someone else’s entire scheme based on one small action. Maybe I’m particularly dense (I don’t have extensive Alliance military training, after all), but half the time I found their assumptions to be a bit far-fetched. I was waiting for the author to mention the crystal ball in their hand.
These books have been a great way to keep myself in the Mass Effect universe since my video game backlog is way too long to consider replaying them. I’ve also learned some interesting supplemental information about the Illusive Man, Kai Leng, Cerberus, biotics, and other things. I have one book left before I need to come up with some other way to satiate my ME obsession. Then I don’t know what I’m going to do until they re-release the trilogy for new gen or come out with “Mass Effect Next.” Maybe I’ll see if I can get a hold of the comics.