I am not a big consumer of science fiction, but having Mass Effect on the brain after the release of ME3, I picked this book up for a long drive over the weekend. I came away impressed, and quite happy with the depth this book added to the Mass Effect universe without featuring any of the main cast of the Mass Effect games.
Criminal organizations, double-crosses and mad science fit together perfectly in this (relatively) gritty story full of interesting characters with reasonable motivations. I was surprised at how grounded the story was, despite the sci-fi setting.
I didn't listen to Mass Effect: Ascension, the previous chapter of this story, but was able to pick up on the plot and the characters quite easily. While your enjoyment of the story may be enhanced by starting with Ascension, it certainly isn't necessary. That said, a general understanding of the Mass Effect universe is helpful in understanding some of the more complicated political intrigue.
I recommend this book for anyone looking for a solid Mass Effect fix when they can't be playing the game. Unlike a few others of this genre (Halo and Gears of War novels), this story held my interest entirely despite (or perhaps even because of) the fact that I wasn't following Commander Shepard, Garrus or Tali, but rather other interesting characters in the universe.
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