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Mass Effect: Deception


Check out the biotic hair-do!

This is it folks. I’ve read my final Mass Effect novel. Sadly, it was not nearly as engaging as the first three. If you pay attention to the cover title, you’ll notice there’s a different name down there. Yeah, Drew Karpy-I have the weirdest last name ever had left Bioware in the interim, I believe, and this Bill Dietz guy hopped in and finished off this story arc. His credentials include other geek/nerd culture books. Granted, I’ve only read this one, but based on Deception I am not impressed.

Here’s the thing: I’m a comma girl. I have a love/hate relationship with commas. I love them when they’re used correctly. Hate them when they aren’t. I know a lot of it is objective, but all you need to do is read a sentence out loud to hear where the natural pauses occur and don’t occur. Long story short, I do not approve of Mr. Dietz’s comma usage. I was barely two pages into the book and the misuse of said punctuation was so painful for me that I almost stopped reading. I didn’t, of course. Because Mass Effect. Then I thought I was just being silly and pressed onward. The onslaught of the English language didn’t stop with the commas. I was further assaulted with terrible grammar and even character name-swapping! I vividly remember one sentence that I had to read over three times before realizing it was just a typo. No, Khalee didn’t magically transform into Gillian! I got the feeling they didn’t want to pay an editor to go over this. If there was an editor, they didn’t earn their paycheck. Seriously.

For those of you who aren’t as distressed about grammar and punctuation abuse as I am, I’ll have you know this book is weak in other areas as well. Unlike the first three novels, this one is inconsistent with the video game trilogy. The other novels at least tried to fit into the ME universe, and even mentioned Commander Shepard’s action in passing. This book is… different. Granted, it’s been a few months since I played the Mass Effect games, but there are certain things that made me scratch my head.

In terms of the actual story, many of the characters are unrecognizable from their previous selves. Gillian and Nick have done complete 180s. Hell, there’s no mention of Gillian’s spectrum behavior, which the previous author beat us over the head with. I don’t see how Dietz could have “forgotten” about it. He didn’t even take the time to come up with a bogus explanation like, “Since she wasn’t being snuck experimental Cerberus drugs any longer she started acting normal!” I also really have a hard time accepting Nick’s extreme behavior in this book. His character wasn’t explored nearly enough to give any credence to his actions. Of course, most characters in these books have done little more than conveniently filling roles.

David Anderson, Kai Leng, Aria T’Loak, and The Illusive Man all return to continue the running story. Dietz wrote most of them really well. Except Kai Leng. There’s something about his behavior that just doesn’t jive with his characterization in the games and previous novels. I think the author was trying to humanize him, because he is a lot less robotic and actually has moments where he questions Cerberus; but again, the writer doesn’t give him the proper attention and his changes are not organic or believable.

The grand finale is pretty dull as well. All of the characters not mentioned in the games get conveniently… erased. It’s cheap and poorly executed. I understand wanting to remove characters not in the original game trilogy, I do. But at least be creative about it.

While I recommend reading the first three Mass Effect books written by Drew Karpyshyn if you’d like to whet your ME appetite, I can’t say the same for this one. It’s too poorly written and thought out. Which saddens me, because it was my final Mass Effect book to read…

Who wants to buy me the Mass Effect Library so I can read all the comics?


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