One of the things I have become more aware of literary speaking is video game tie-in novels. Sure we all know that the big ones all belong to the big kid on the block; D&D’s Neverwinter. I tied to read those having enjoyed novels by Salvatore in the past, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. That may be in part due to my lack of having played the king of table top pen and paper RPG games. Why is that important? Familiarity with the game or games in some cases increases the chances you might like the tie-ins. In my case I have played through most of the Mass Effect games save Andromeda which my computer can’t handle graphically. Knowing the basic storylines before hand I think was key to having picked up this title in the first place.
In Revelation we see a lot of the back story that is hinted in during the first and second Mass Effect games. For all intents and purposes it is a large prologue to what happens in Mass Effect 1. Going into this tie-in novel by Drew Karpyshyn I was less familiar with David Anderson who was a hero from the First Contact war. We also meet scientist Kahlee Sanders after the event at a top-secret military installation reasurching AI. From here it gets dicey for the two dealing with political fallout, mercs (the Blue Suns), a krogan biotic assassin named Skar, and the specter named Saren. Sanders is the prime suspect for what begins an epic adventure for Anderson as he tries to keep her safe. The odds are stacked against them. Can they pull off the impossible? That’s for you to find out – no spoilers here. Then again if you’ve played the games you probably already know some of the answers anyway.
I enjoyed the back story content related to Anderson, Sanders, and Saren. The latter we know about perhaps a little more about how he connects with Mass Effect hero and former specter Commander Shepard. Some would even say that really Saren doesn’t matter as a character but, I would argue otherwise, he in effect introduces what it means to be a specter and without him Shepard would have little to be famous for during the actual game play where he, Saren, is brought up repeatedly by the crew of Normandy and human colonists. I think Karpyshyn was able to capture a lot of what any Mass Effect fan liked about the games and still bring more to the table with this novel. I must remind you yet again this is tie-in novel so in some sense unless you are already somewhat familiar with the Mass Effect universe it may not appeal to you at first glance. That aside, it was still a great space military sci-fi that was easy to pick up and read.