Review: Mass Effect: Andromeda: Initiation

Dem colons doe.

While I’ve been a long-time fan of Warcraft and StarCraft’s tie-in fiction, I’ve rarely paid much attention to tie-in books for other franchises. However, I remain heartbroken over the lack of DLC for 2017’s best video game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, so I decided to give its related literature a shot.

Cover art for the Mass Effect: Andromeda novel InitiationThe first Andromeda book, Nexus Uprising, is all about, well, the Nexus uprising, which was by far and away the least compelling part of Andromeda, so I gave that a pass, but the next one, Initiation, seemed a good pick: The story of how Cora joined the Initiative.

It’s not what I expected, but I don’t regret the purchase.

I was hoping for something meditative and character-driven. What I got was more like a buddy cop movie starring Cora and SAM as they investigate the theft of some of SAM’s source code.

It’s a book with some rough edges. The prose is a little dodgy in spots — exclamation points outside of dialogue are a serious pet peeve of mine — and the pacing and overall structure of the story are a bit whacky. It’s definitely shorter than I’d like, and feels a bit rushed.

But it’s fun. It’s fast-paced, there are some memorable action sequences, and while this isn’t a very character-driven book, what character moments there are are well done. SAM, Cora, and Alec all feel like the same characters they were in the game, and their speech patterns are captured well.

Initiation does help to make Cora’s rabid Asari fangirlism seem a little more sane. It’s a less case of her being that obsessed and more just that’s the culture she’s spent much of her recent life immersed in.

If you’re looking for some nostalgia, there are also more than a few nods to the original trilogy, including an appearance by a familiar face… though not necessarily a face you would have wanted to see again.

Don’t expect any big reveals, but there are also some tantalizing hints about the origins of the Andromeda Initiative… and the ulterior motives behind it.

So, yeah, it’s an enjoyable book. I’ve read some tie-in novels that were genuinely amazing and powerful pieces of literature, and this isn’t one of them, but I’ve also read tie-in books that were just shameless cash grabs with nothing interesting to offer, and Initiation definitely isn’t one of those, either.

It’s not DLC, but it’s better than nothing.

Overall rating: 7.2/10

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4 thoughts on “Review: Mass Effect: Andromeda: Initiation

  1. Thanks for sharing a review of this! I’ve tried to read Nexus Uprising on and off and am finding it difficult. I just don’t care that much about Sloane Kelly. Sorry, not sorry. I also don’t have much love for Cora, but I’m willing to change that if the book is decent. I too lament the lack of DLC, but at least we’re getting something, right?

  2. Cora also not on my list of chosen compadres for my Andromeda runthru. Had no idea there were any books supporting that timeline in the ME universe – thanks for the heads up. Not a ‘must read’ for me but will keep my eyes out for other books in this setting.

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