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Mass Effect: Retribution (Mass Effect, #3)
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Mass Effect: Retribution (Mass Effect #3)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  3,533 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Humanity has reached the stars, joining the vast galactic community of alien species. But beyond the fringes of explored space lurk the Reapers, a race of sentient starships bent on “harvesting” the galaxy’s organic species for their own dark purpose.

The Illusive Man, leader of the pro-human black ops group Cerberus, is one of the few who know the truth about the Reapers.
Mass Market Paperback, 356 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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William Johnson
If you'd like to see my reviews of the first two Mass Effect books click on the links: Revelation and Ascension.

The first Mass Effect book, Revelation, was a way to get Mass Effect suited to the book world. It involved characters from the first game and acted as a prequel. The novelty of it was that you read about places you, technically, had been to (walked through, ran through, shot at people through, etc). By involving the characters we knew it was a test to see if Mass Effect could adapt to
Timeline note: Retribution is set almost immediately after the main storyline of ME2 concludes, but before The Arrival DLC. Which, I suppose, makes it canonical that The Arrival is post-game, even if you can play it through in the middle of the storyline. But it always worked better, from a story perspective, as a post-game adventure than a mid-game one.

Retribution has a strong hook: The Illusive Man has infected Grayson with Reaper nanotech as revenge for the events of Ascension, the prior book
Well, purely in the comparative context of the Mass Effect novels, Retribution is all right and actually noticeably better written than Revelation. (I haven't read Ascension yet.) That honestly isn't saying much, though.

If you're a fan of the Mass Effect game series as I am, it may be worth a read-through as a companion to the game. As a novel, though, I can't really say much in praise of Retribution, I'm afraid. Many of the same problems plague Retribution as did Revelation. The dialogue is nat
William Ristau
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
The third book in the Mass Effect series, and the first time I actually felt a twinge of disappointment. I felt the story was sloppier than the others, filled with plot points that jarred me out of my reading, distracting me from really getting into the book. It almost felt like the author was rushed.

Also for the first time, I started to get very irritated with Kahlee Sanders. Characters in the book even made it a point to remind her she's not the best judge of character, but seriously, how many
This is the third novel in the series, and it once again goes in a slightly different narrative direction. The focus seems to be more on action than the previous two novels, and it achieves an exciting pace while also giving readers further insights into the Mass Effect universe.

Kahlee Sanders and Paul Grayson are at the heart of the story, and even David Anderson is back in the thick of things this time. The plot picks up a couple of years after the end of the second novel, and pivots around Ce
Nothing about this book I didn't like. Karpyshyn is one of my favourite writers for Bioware, and I was sorely sad to see him leave the team, and this was definitely my favourite book of his.

Many people forget that the galaxy had more than what Commander Shepard was dealing with, and that important events that shaped the plot for Mass Effect 3 conspired without the intervention of everyone's favourite human Spectre/N7 Commander/neighbourhood playboy/girl.

As much as I loved Revelation and Ascensi
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
The lie ran so deep that even those who’d helped bury the truth had convinced themselves the Reapers were nothing but a myth. They continued on with their mundane existence, too weak and too stupid to acknowledge the horrific destiny awaiting them. But the Illusive Man had devoted his life to facing unpleasant truths. - Drew Karpyshyn, Mass Effect Retribution

Mass Effect Retribution picks up two or so years after the end of Ascension. Grayson, a former Cerberus operative, is living incognito on O
Lukas Lovas
Another book in the series, that makes Mass Effect universe more real in my mind. Not a great book, but a good book none the less. It's hard to write in a universe, where all the main events have already happened and you are left on the fringes of the story, trying to make it interesting. So...all things considered, not bad at all :)

Surprisingly, this one had the barest glimpse of potential at being an interesting story. Squandered, but there was the gem of an idea here. However, the writing was awful. Once more, nearly every line of dialog is accompanied by a phrase telling us the internal mental state of the character in question. And the paragraphs of prose in between dialog blocks are merely transcriptions of what the characters are thinking, what their base motivations are, punctuated by clumsily written actions.

Syahira Sharif
Mass Effect: Retribution was set two years from ME: Ascension and right after Mass Effect 2. However, the storyline weren't as consistent or tight-knit with the game as the previous book. It was clear that the book was written before the conception of Arrival and Mass Effect 3 but most of the elements was still a major arc in the installments particularly Cerberus interest with Grissom Academy's kids, Reaper tech and our lovely space ninja. I'm still undecided about the book but it was still fas ...more
Jonathan Beckett
Mass Effect Retribution is easily the best installment in Drew's Mass Effect trilogy of books. What the book does so well is molding Grayson into an effective protagonist and antagonist. The book also goes into explicit detail on how indoctrination works. As the reader is put into the perspective of Grayson, it is shown how the indoctrination process works and how the host's thoughts are indistinguishable from that of the Reapers controlling him. It's a chilling and intriguing psychological tran ...more
Daniel Millard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Short of Mass Effect universe and space opera climate, the story is pretty much simple. Gruesome revenge gone bad, the Illusive Man's experiments on Grayson. That Grayson who worked for and than crossed Cerberus to save the daughter not from his flesh, who somehow becomes a mercenary working for an asari Omega station kingpin whilst also having an affair with another one after being indoctrinated by Cerberus for years, and who cared for Sanders after the previous story adventures. As Cerberus fi ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gareth Lewry
Here we have another installment in the mass effect universe. The story is centred around Paul Grayson, an ex Cerberus operative, who betrayed the illusive man, escaped Cerberus’ clutches and is now working for Aria, the pirate queen of omega. It becomes evident very quickly that the illusive man holds grudges, and has been searching for Grayson for sometime.

Finally one of his assassins Kai Leng, who also features quite heavily in the third game of the series, catchers up with him and abducts hi
Robert Albrecht
My favorite of Karpyshyn's series. That is of course a relative statement, as this is not the most skillfully written prose, nor compelling in plot. Nevertheless, I felt an earnest desire to read it until the end.

I have realized what this series is lacking in comparison to its game counterpart, and that it a lack of unity. The most powerful part of the Mass Effect series are the relationships Shepard develops with his crew, and the novels lack these bonds of friendship almost entirely. Of course
This is a general review of the series of books associated with the Mass Effect video game franchise; the book series also technically includes a fourth novel, Deception, which was written by William C. Dietz but received such abysmal reviews regarding continuity and facts about the universe that I didn’t bother to read it. Thus, my review is for the following three Mass Effect novels:

Revelation (2007)

Ascension (2008)

Retribution (2010)

Hi. My name is Elle, and I am a Drew Karpyshyn junkie. Now, n
Behnam Riahi
The following review has been copied from

Mass Effect: Retribution, written by Drew Karpyshyn and published by Del Rey Press, is a third-person, science-fiction novel set in the Mass Effect universe, told primarily from the points-of-view of Paul Grayson and Kahlee Sanders. With great technological advancements, humanity has set foot into space and made many new allies by joining a council of other races. They commune primarily at the Citadel, a space station of epic
Tyler Dykema
I really enjoyed this installment of the Mass Effect series, but I did think it was the weakest of the first three by a small margin. Again, I loved the characters and how they develop. I like that I can simultaneously cheer for the good guys and hope the bad guys get away in tact and able to fight another day. The writing style is much like the previous books, however, I felt like this one dragged on a little longer than it needed to and then proceeded to rush the ending. I also found Kahlee's ...more
Neil Breeze
Much like Karpyshyn's first two Mass Effect books, I enjoyed this and found it to fit into the established Mass Effect universe very well. Unfortunately, I did not find the story quite as engaging as the previous two and it did feel somewhat rushed in places.

I think the reason for this is that the story sheds light on characters that benefit from clandestine mystery and for me, I would have preferred to have some questions left unanswered to leave some mystery in the Mass Effect universe.

This wasn't quite as good as the two previous Mass Effect books, though it was still enjoyable. The biggest problem was that this book takes place after the second game and there were points where it felt like it was trying way too hard to avoid mentioning any choices that the player made in those games. Obviously since everyone's playthrough is going to be different it would be near impossible to incorporate material from the games, but it felt like it kind of left big holes in this story. Not ...more
Gigglemug Book Club
Elle's Review of Mass Effect:

This is a general review of the series of books associated with the Mass Effect video game franchise; the book series also technically includes a fourth novel, Deception, which was written by William C. Dietz but received such abysmal reviews regarding continuity and facts about the universe that I didn’t bother to read it. Thus, my review is for the following three Mass Effect novels:

Revelation (2007)

Ascension (2008)

Retribution (2010)

Hi. My name is Elle, and I am a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The third book in the Mass Effect universe, it is meant to be a transition between the second and third installment of the Mass Effect video game game series. The book includes many characters that appear throughout the games and novels. It is a great read for anyone who enjoys the Mass Effect universe. The story is fast-paced and delves deeper into some of your favorite characters from the games.

Like its two predecessors, Retribution serves as a bridge between games and expands on the already i
Michael Alexander Henke
I'm catching up with my Mass Effect fiction in preparation for the imminent release of Mass Effect 3. It's been a while, so I was happy to once again be in the Mass Effect universe, with all it's alien races and technology. While the book is enjoyable in it's own right, I really miss the characters from the game. I understand that with the nature of the game, and all the choices you make, they can't really set down a story in a novel based on those characters. There are a few secondary character ...more
There is simply no universe more apt to clone the Star Wars fanaticism such as that crafted by Bioware's Mass Effect universe. The third novel penned by the game series' main writer, Drew Karpyshyn, continues the trend of well-written, fast-paced, character-driven novelizations. Drew created this rich universe and in these side stories, there is certainly enough substance to dedicate separate games or movies, should that day come. This particular story focuses on a revenge tale and one man's str ...more
John Kivus
I’ve been a major fan of BioWare’s games, and their associated tie-ins, since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in 2003. The games have stories that are tightly coupled to their gameplay mechanics and this combination makes it nearly impossible for me to walk away once I’ve started playing them. The Mass Effect universe was a unique IP created by BioWare that has already spawned two mega-hit video games (with a third game due Christmas 2011). In addition to the game itself, there have been ...more
Drew Karpyshyn's third installment in the Mass Effect series of books serves up a mix of action, adventure, romance, and suspense all elegantly packed together in Mass Effect's intriguing sci-fi universe.

In Retribution, the "cast" is back, Kahlee Sanders, David Anderson, Paul Grayson, and the antagonist, The Illusive Man, who has now taken a somewhat backstage position to a greater enemy called the Reapers. As the story progresses the reader is brought through a roller coaster of events that ha
The first two Mass Effect books, "Revelation" and "Ascension", surprised me with clear writing and engaging storylines, so I've known for a while that I would be reading through all of them. I guess "Retribution" moved up on my "to-read" list after BioWare (the video game company that created the Mass Effect franchise) "fixed" the endings of Mass Effect 3.

OVERALL: 3.6 out of 5
I loved this book. It's great science fiction, but it's also a fun "chase the monster" story, with all these different gr
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Drew Karpyshyn is a Canadian author and game designer. After working at a credit union for some time, he eventually became a game developer. He joined BioWare towards the end of the Baldur's Gate series, and wrote the tie-in novel for Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. He stayed with BioWare, where he worked on Neverwinter Nights, and became the Senior Writer on the critically acclaimed Star Wars: ...more
More about Drew Karpyshyn...

Other Books in the Series

Mass Effect (4 books)
  • Mass Effect: Revelation (Mass Effect, #1)
  • Mass Effect: Ascension (Mass Effect, #2)
  • Mass Effect: Deception (Mass Effect, #4)
Path of Destruction (Star Wars: Darth Bane, #1) Rule of Two (Star Wars: Darth Bane, #2) Dynasty of Evil (Star Wars: Darth Bane, #3) Mass Effect: Revelation (Mass Effect, #1) Revan (Star Wars: The Old Republic, #1)

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