1/07/2010. Contributed by RJ Barker
pub: Orbit. 323 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-675-7.
check out website: www.orbitbooks.net
When the alliance 'black' research base at Sidon is destroyed by unknown forces, it causes a headache for humanity. Not only must they find out who did it they also need to cover up the fact they were involved in researching artificial intelligence from the rest of the galaxy. Alliance war hero David Anderson is set on the case and when he finds a survivor, it leads him further and further into a plot that threatens to destroy the entire galaxy and all living creatures in it. Hunted by an assassin and forced to work with an Elite agent of the galactic cancel who hates him, Anderson must try and stop old an ancient creatures from returning.
'Mass Effect', one and two, are brilliant computer games. The stories are deep and multi-faceted and characters are well-drawn enough for you to really care about them. The author of 'Revelation', Drew Karpyshyn was also lead writer for the games and it's a wise decision to put the book into his hands rather than some hired gun. 'Revelations', set before the first game, segues seamlessly into the world and fills in events that were only mentioned fleetingly in the game.
There are criticisms that can be aimed at it and they are mostly the same ones that can be aimed at the game. The aliens, bar the awesome Krogan, generally act in a way that is very human but it's a small criticism and one barely worth mentioning as it's rife throughout the genre. The 'Mass Effect' world also gives reasons just why these similarities may exist.
It's a pity that a lot of SF readers will probably pass this over as just a tie-in as it stands as a book in its own right. If you're unfamiliar with the game you won't be lost at any point, you'll still enjoy the galactic politicking and action that Mr. Karpyshyn puts into his book. The author handles everything really well, there are no awkward moments when you're thrown out the text or unlikely technology appears without some sort of explanation that makes it work. This isn't hard SF by any means but it's nonetheless very solid feeling.
If you're familiar with the game then you'll also see the approaching clouds on the horizon and know them for the storm they are.
Altogether, 'Revelations' is a very solidly written bit of military SF that has me itching to get my hands on the sequel.
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