Drew Karpyshyn’s Star Wars novels are hands down some of the best experiences I have had reading Sci-Fi. Also, those of you who know me are already aware of my absolute obsession with the Mass Effect video games developed by BioWare. I have played through that trilogy more times than I can count. So, imagine my delight when I discovered Mass Effect: Revelation by none other than the series’ lead writer, Karpyshyn himself! The novel, a prequel to the video game trilogy, was originally published in 2007. I realize I am late to the party here. I apparently live under a rock.
The story centers on young Alliance lieutenant David Anderson as he investigates a violent attack on a top-secret research base. With the help of lone survivor Kahlee Sanders, they track the perpetrators back to the Blue Suns mercenary group.
There is plenty of back story about the universe, The Citadel, and the Council races for the fans of the games, and it lays a solid foundation for those potentially interested in these aspects. However, even for a die hard fan such as myself, these descriptions often seemed to border on infodumps that hinders and distracts the reader.
The apparent sexual tension between Anderson and Kahlee was completely lost on me. It was a concept that was as cumbersome as it was sudden, and it seemed as though the reader was supposed to care about their budding feelings simply because they care about Anderson, who is a strong character in the games.
The most fun part of this book was the focus on the grim chap on the cover of the book (also shown just below). Saren, a turian Spectre, which is a chapter of a special forces governed by The Council. As he is the main antagonist in the first game, I really enjoyed learning more about his past. It felt as though a large majority of Karpyshyn’s effort went into the elements of the novel that involved Saren, and the rest was just filler. Unfortunately, Saren’s badassery was not enough to save this novel on its own.
“I have two rules I follow,” Saren explained. “The first is: never kill someone without a reason.” “And the second?” Anderson asked, suspicious.
“You can always find a reason to kill someone.”
The only people who would get entertainment from this book are people who are already familiar with the game series, as the book falls short of being strong Sci-Fi on its own. Then again, if they are fans of the series already, I cannot fathom them being anything other than disappointed in this book.
Overall I would give it a solid “Meh.” If you are looking for a Karpyshyn book to read, go read the Darth Bane trilogy instead. You won’t be sorry.