Mass Effect: Ascension

Drew Karpyshyn weaves a tense adventure in Ascension as a Cerberus agent deals with the devil he’s sold his soul to. His daughter is a highly gifted biotic, but she’s also a guinea pig for Cerberus’ advanced research arm. Loyal to the cause of human superiority, Paul Grayson dances a thin line between serving his masters and protecting his daughter. Yet he’s only one piece in this energetic story.

On the flip side, there’s Golo, a traitorous quarian who’s doing whatever it takes to get by. An outcast among his own people, he lives on the lawless world of Omega. Like Grayson, he too works for Cerberus. And while his loyalty is no where near as deep as Grayson’s, Golo doesn’t have any loved ones clouding his thoughts. Whereas Grayson is the murky gray character, Golo is the sinister one.

Filling out the cast are the good guys. Returning to the story is Kahlee Sanders. She’s no longer working on advanced A.I. for the Alliance, but rather a leading facility for human biotics. As such, the book gets to delve into biotics, following up on an existing character, and plunging into new territory. Along with a biotic named Hendel, Kahlee gets mixed up with Grayson and his daughter. From Omega to the Migrant Fleet, it’s a gripping adventure.

Speaking of the Migrant Fleet, the quarians get a lot of page time in this book. There are several quarian characters, both good guys and bad guys, and even some point of view characters. The story explores some of their history, their customs, their society, and their politics. It’s a nice look at the species and their culture. For Tali fans, it provides some fun insight into what her species is like. The events that happen in this book also get a mention in Mass Effect 2, so if you get the urge to do so, be sure to fire up the game and pursue those dialog options with all the quarian characters you meet.

For Cerberus fans, there’s a lot to love about this story. Karpyshyn does a good job of writing several compelling Cerberus agents. He dives into their psyches and motivations, revealing both the shallow followers and the true believers. Best of all, there’s the Illusive Man. Drew provides some rare glimpses at the mysterious character. While he is in no way thoroughly explored, you do get some peeks behind the curtain. It strikes the perfect balance of maintaining the mystery yet fueling interest.

As the second book in the Mass Effect series, Ascension is a fantastic follow-up. Drew Karpyshyn continues the fun of the first novel by switching up the cast and plot. There’s still the same great method and threading of elements of the game into the book without detracting from the story. The characters are thoroughly enjoyable, and the adventure they’re put through is a lot of fun. I give this book a five out of five metal bikinis. Karpyshyn proves that game tie-in novels have a lot more to offer than just retelling of plotlines or cheap money grabs. This one is well worth your time.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

1 Comment »

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  1. As a fellow sci-fi and Mass Effect enthusiast I found your article very interesting. I read all the Mass Effect books in the series and in my opinion Revelations is the best, because traditionally the first installments of series tend to be the best. I really like the style Drew writes and dont forget that he was one of the major writers for the game series.

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