Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mass Effect: Retribution” as Want to Read:
Mass Effect: Retribution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mass Effect: Retribution (Mass Effect #3)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  4,337 Ratings  ·  141 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.
ebook, 336 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by Del Rey (first published 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mass Effect, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mass Effect

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Jan 20, 2011 Urania rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 26, 2013 Nikolai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
William Ristau
Mar 04, 2014 William Ristau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites, sci-fi
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
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
Dec 19, 2011 Christopher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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 :)

Behnam Riahi
Dec 19, 2014 Behnam Riahi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2017 Iset rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

Having read all three Mass Effect novels written by Drew Karpyshyn, I have to say they are very much three of a kind. Same style of writing, same ideas about the plot in all three. Each book seeks to flesh out the Mass Effect universe without directly touching on the main plot of the games. This is really a double edged sword. On the one hand, getting too deeply into the main plot wouldn’t make fans happy as there is such a variety of paths and choices to take the player character that inevitabl
Sayomara Vesper

Expanded media for a video game is a hard thing to get right. Normally, when reviewing a book I look at it on two levels: is it a good book for the universe it is in, and is it a good book in general that someone who has never been exposed to said universe might enjoy? I would say almost all of the Warcraft novels fall into the former camp so when I read Drew Karpyshy's Mass Effect: Revelation I was impressed it wasn't just a good Mass Effect book, but it was good book in general. So wit
Feb 02, 2017 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great conclusion to the trilogy
Jul 16, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
João  Cardeira Jorge
Set after the events of "Mass Effect 2", Retribution starts with the leader of the terrorist pro-human organization Cerberus, The Illusive Man, in a fight against time. The Illusive Man knows the Reapers are coming and he will stop at nothing to save humanity. Eager to study the process and effects of reaper indoctrination, he has the perfect subject for the terrible experiments needed. Paul Grayson, the only man who betrayed him and got away. But no one can hide from the Illusive man forever an ...more
Nicole Stanford
Jan 01, 2017 Nicole Stanford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 10, 2010 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Anthony Galvin
Sep 25, 2016 Anthony Galvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3rd in this series and just as enjoyable as the first two. I really enjoyed it.
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
Dec 06, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slight improvement over the last two books. For once, here’s a Mass Effect book that doesn’t feel too peripheral and instead tells a lot of new significant details about a major part of the Mass Effect mythology. Getting a glimpse into how the Reapers operate was fascinating. Having gone through two Mass Effect games and two Mass Effect novels, I was surprised Karpyshyn still had something new to offer.

Kudos to keeping a female character as the main character throughout the series. Having Kahl
Kirsten Simkiss
I thought this book was alright, though it didn't hold a candle to Ascension, in my opinion. I'll give it a solid 3 stars.

I was sad to see it end how it did for Grayson, especially with his really good redemption arc in the last book and into the beginning of this book.

I was 100% on board with getting more of Aria T'Loak. I thought it was fun to see more of her life style than you see in the game. (I know there's some DLC where you get more of her, but I never got to play it.) It had never occu
Mar 07, 2014 Marcin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Mary Downey
Dec 12, 2016 Mary Downey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I like this book. I really want to go back and play the games. This series makes me miss the ME universe. Kahlee Sanders is something of a Akane Tendo to me. Those not familiar Akane Tendo is the leading lady character from an anime called Ranma 1/2. She is a bad-ass martial artist and can be self-sufficient until Ranma shows up. While she is not the only character to ever do this, she is my personal example of this condition. Kahlee is fine on her own, she used to be in the alliance, she has tr ...more
May 07, 2015 Lucas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Johnson
Mar 16, 2016 Steve Johnson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: video-game
Didn't like it that much. I love the Mass Effect games, it is probably my favourite video gaming series, simply because of the characters, story, world, sci-fi atmosphere, truly brilliant.
Reading these books, I felt it never achieved the same level of epicness or interest as the games, but at least the atmosphere was very similar, letting me wander off in the Mass Effect universe once more. I kind of missed that in this book though, as I struggled to finish it. The characters weren't that inter
Gareth Lewry
Aug 09, 2014 Gareth Lewry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex Jones
Aug 21, 2012 Alex Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun enjoyable story when taking on its own, but is even better when taken as a part of the Mass Effect universe. Retribution is a fairly stand-alone story, but it does involve characters and mention occurrences from the last two books, as well as skipping over some of the world/character building done in the games. This shouldn't be a problem for most, as anyone who has played one of the games or read one of the previous books will find this means that the plot can speed along without ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Nisa's Book Club: Book Club #3 - Mass Effect: Retribution 1 2 Jan 07, 2017 09:26PM  
  • Mass Effect: Redemption
  • Mass Effect: Deception (Mass Effect, #4)
  • Mass Effect: Evolution
  • The Art of the Mass Effect Universe
  • The Art of Mass Effect
  • Coalition's End (Gears of War, #4)
  • Firstborn (Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, #1)
  • Dead Space: Martyr (Dead Space, #1)
  • The Calling (Dragon Age, #2)
  • Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
  • Deus Ex: Icarus Effect
  • Nova (StarCraft: Ghost, #1)
  • Fable: the Balverine Order
  • Starcraft: I, Mengsk
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)

Share This Book