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Deus Ex: Icarus Effect

(Deus Ex Universe #1)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,356 ratings  ·  94 reviews
In the near future, with physical augmentation gaining ground and nano-cybernetics only years away, the dawn of limitless human evolution is just beyond the horizon, and a secret corporate cabal of ruthless men intends to make sure that humankind stays under its control. But two people on opposite sides of the
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  1,356 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, pc-games
If you had your hand on Deus Ex games, reading this book is almost mandatory. It's not because this book is great, no. This book is a wasted potential, actually. Nevertheless, it sheds some light on Deus Ex world, explains some plot holes in Deus Ex:Human Revolution and sets a tone for the original Deus Ex.

Why it is a wasted potential? Well, for starters, it's the characters. Saxon and Kelso, the protagonists, aren't badly written or unbelievable, just.. they're bleak. It's a short and fast pac
Jun 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sci fi fans, cyberpunk fans, gamers
I was a big fan of the original Deus Ex video game, but never got into the sequel and hardly paid attention to the prequel released by Square Enix in 2011. I eventually picked it up on a sale on Steam, and discovered a game that was well made, visually appealing, and a lot of fun. The Mass Effect novels have made me a believer in some video game novelizations, and I decided to give “Deus Ex: Icarus Effect” a chance (partially because I was hungry for more cyberpunk after reading William Gibson’s ...more
C.T. Phipps
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cyberpunk
Deus Ex: The Icarus Effect is a novel set in the Deus Ex setting, roughly six months before the events in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The novel stars two original characters and expands on several enemies encountered by Adam Jensen in the game.

The books title comes from the in-universe Icarus Effect. It's a fictional sociological theory about humans and animals turning against the truly exceptional. Also called "Tallest Poppy Syndrome" by TV and "Crab Bucket" by Terry Pratchett, it
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Don't you just love reading books based on games and movies? With all the quality characterisation and exciting plotting? But then again, with that fancy new lobotomy augmentation you can purchase for an exorbitant sum of money you can read any book and still be in awe.

So you might as well give this one a go. Or if you've read all the cyberpunk thrillers already and crave new ones. Or, more likely, if you've beaten Deus Ex: Human Revulsion and want more. And here's where this thing cracks.

Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book after playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution and absolutely LOVING it. Near-future sci-fi is a genre I wasn't took familiar with prior to the game and it hooked me in the more I learned about it. As a result I went on a frantic search for anything else in the genre and came across James Swallow's book Deus Ex: Icarus Effect! Admittedly I was hesitant as I'd read tie-in novels before and honestly was rarely pleased with the story. What this book has going for it is the fact the auth ...more
Sep 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Admittedly, video game novelizations are one of my guilty pleasures. While many (if not most) of the ones out there are pretty bad (I read the first page of one the other day that was horrible), over the last few years some of them are surprisingly good. As more money flows into the VG industry, so does the in-game writing (and novelizations) improve. (An recent example was Orson Scott Card being hired to help write dialog and story for a new game called "Firefall.") The author of Deus Ex, James ...more
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Meh. Alright, I guess. Adding a few connections to Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Human Revolution doesn't really make much of a difference to the book, since some of them - especially the character of Namir -feel very false when compared to their video game originals. The lead characters are rather unlikeable, especially the female protagonist who seems to not be able to decide on a behavior. She's supposed to be a Special Agent but often lacks any sort of strong character and it seems to me the author w ...more
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it. Well visioned sci fi, conspiracy and action. I guess i would have liked to see more about what life is like for average Joe citizen in this well thought out world but the two main characters are well developed.
I also would have enjoyed it more if the book hadn't followed many dynamics that I'd expect from an average action/ adventure movie.
Wow this sounds bad, but i came away from it having enjoyed it. It's a vision of conspiracy in the possible future. But how many of the books p
Emperador Spock
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Being a fan of the Deus Ex video game series, I knew that this book would unlikely to be a complete disappointment. Actually, it has turned to be a neat expansion into the world of these games, uncovering the back stories of many of the familiar characters, in particular those that came from the original Deus Ex: the book successfully bridges the gap between the first and the latest installment in the game series (Human Revolution itself is not as good at it).

The more detailed account of the Tyr
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanna give this book 5 stars, but i just can't....2 reasons....

1. the book's ending is a bit abrupt and if you're not planning on playing the upcoming video game on which the book is based, then you're definitely gonna be missing something (fortunately i will be playing the game)

2. it's kind of short. i don't mind the quick, fast paced read, but sometimes i felt like parts coulda been fleshed out better or some backstory explained a bit more.

these issues don't hold back the book much at
Oganalp Canatan
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: next-in-que
It is a nice addition to the lore, and gives a bit of an insight. You get to learn more about the Tyrants, who were behind the Sarif Industry attacks in Human Revolution. You see the human side in them, only if limited, and you get a glimpse into the build-up of things that happen in HR after the initial Sarif attack.

That said, the book has also missed some serious potential to give a better insight and character building about Namir, Barrett, and Federova. It shows bits and pieces from Namir’s
Alexander Yakovlev
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a truly great book - but only for a series fan. Of course, you have to be a series fan to read a prequel's prequel.

It's full of cyberpunk and conspiracies. There're more nods to Deus Ex 1 game in this than in the Deus Ex Human Revolution. The russian translation is... mediocre, I say (couple of errors and out-of-context translation - for example, Reed has been translated as male). The book contains some strange original choices (there're no flying bots in any Deus Ex game), but still it'
Patrick Todoroff
Apr 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I try to avoid spoilers when giving reviews, so all I'll say while it's nothing earth-shattering or refreshingly unique, Swallow's book is a very solid, action-packed read. The novel parallels and is somewhat of a prequel to the upcoming video game, "Deus Ex: Human Revolution", which in turn is the third installment in the franchise. Good, near-future cyberpunk: a genre very near and dear to my heart. ...more
Ella Drake
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this accessible Science Fiction novel. It blended the best features of cyberpunk & military SF with a healthy dose of biotech. The backdrop of a tech society dominated by a shadowy conspiracy-type organization pitted against the individual isn't new, but the flawed but empathetic main characters drew me in. This is a great read, especially if you're interested in the forthcoming game. ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yair Ben-Zvi
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Those of you who don't know me outside of my reviews on goodreads will be forgiven for not knowing up until this review that I am, in fact, a fairly avid gamer. And one of my favorite franchises, if not my most favorite gaming franchise is without a doubt the Deus Ex series of games.

First released in 2000 as a PC game that was quickly ported over to the PS2, the original Deus Ex was a masterwork of gaming and interactive storytelling. Combining cyber punk, neo noir, and post/pre apocalyptic narr
Ryan Stewart
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Wasted opportunity inside a world so captivating I still can’t knock it to the two-stars the writing deserves. If you’re a fan of the games, this is not a waste of time. If you’re not, avoid with no regrets.
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:

Shadowhawk reviews the tie-in novelisation of the critically acclaimed prequel of the smash-hit Deus Ex video game series.

“Finally, a video game novelisation that gets things right!” ~Shadowhawk

My experience with video game novelisations is a rather poor one. C.S. Goto’s Dawn of War stands out as the most boring, sleep-inducing book I’ve ever read, in addition to failing so phenomenally at living up
Gabriela Šuterová
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Deus Ex. A prominent brand in video games, fan favorite franchise. Great storylines and interesting characters in a cyberpunk world set in the near future. Deus Ex games are unique so it didn't came as suprise to me that there's a novel based on the latest of the series - Human Revolution.

First of all, the book is quite tightly connected to the game, but it is not necessary to know its story to enjoy this one. I would higly recommend to play the game, though. Lots of things makes better sense an
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable read, especially if you're familiar with the Deus Ex universe from the games. From a purely literary perspective, the book doesn't really stand out, while the protagonists are not necessarily what I would call 'remarkable'. Still, that's not meant as a dig, as I feel that both Ben Saxon and Anna Kelso provide an interesting and rather unique perspective in that they're both 'grunts' (Saxon is a mercenary, while Anna is US Secret Service, with the added bonus of being the f ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
One of the enduring features of the Deus Ex franchise is the freedom of play (or at least a decent illusion thereof) and it's willingness to consider, if not actually address with any great depth, issues of transhumanism, futurism, etc. It's something of a shame therefore that its first foray into literary territory is, by contrast, rather straightforward.

For fans of the latest game it offers insight into the backgrounds of the various bosses met throughout the course of the game. Given that sai
Fahad Ahmed
The action, plot and writing are Deus Ex through and through: lots of augmentation-packed action, a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top and the struggle of a few to fight everyone's favorite pyramid lovers.

That being said, it doesn't do much to draw the reader in; the universe isn't realized in a way that will entice non-fans of the games, neither Kelso nor Saxon nor the Tyrants make for very interesting characters, and the book spares only token nods to the concept of human augmentatio
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book sat on my shelf for a few years. I expected very little from it. After all, it was a video game novel and those are very much the mixed bag. I am happy to report that this is a fantastic book on any level. I am also mad at myself for leaving it on my shelf for so long.

The Icarus effect is extremely easy to read and very hard to put it down. I know it sounds like a cliche but it flowed extremely well with two likeable characters. I also loved the idea of keeping the two separate except
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Action packed, true to the source material, and a great 'guilty pleasure' type of book. The writing isnt great and the characters are pretty one dimensional and lack any background, but the conspiracy plot is thought out. Perhaps if the book were twice as long with the extra geared toward character development it would've been better. I love the human revolution universe, so it was a fun n dumb piece of fan service.
Even though the bad guys are one dimensional, that's still more than these same
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Deus Ex fans
Being a fan of the original Deus Ex, I thought it would be fun to read a book that ties it in to the new Deus Ex game (which I haven't played yet). It was a fun cyberpunk story, with some cool ideas about human augmentation, scary conspiracies, and a realistic portrayal of computers and science. Like a lot of media tie-in books, it wasn't spectacular -- the characterization felt a little heavy-handed, there were some cliches, and the plot wasn't superb. But it was fun and neat to see some charac ...more
Tobias Wolter
Straightforward context and story glue that is entertaining to read while not being anything more than run off the mill.
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A solid novel set well into the Deus Ex world. Kind of surprised.

Not exactly an experienced novel reader, or sci-fi expert, but what I can say is that each time I pick up action-thriller novels as philosophically dense as this, I feel and think about things I hadn't quite realized. Things that help me to further extrapolate on material and subject matters I thought I had a pretty good understanding about.

I'm a fan of Cyberpunk, technology, science, machines, devices changing the world. As well
David Thomas
Jun 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a perfectly serviceable spy thriller, but it's not Deus Ex. The thing about the original Deus Ex that makes it my favorite game of all time, is that it and to a lesser extent its first sequel have something to say about politics and philosophy. They address big ideas. This, like the latter games, is an action thriller wearing cyberpunk elements as window dressing. The only real philosophy of the latter games is this flimsy metaphor of human mechanical augmentation as a stand in for racis ...more
Dingo Kis
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. At the beginning I was a bit confused about how the books tells you about two different characters in two completely different places and situations. After I got into the asynchronous style I started loving the book. The characters' thought are well written, the book is full of plot twists and I mean real plot twists changing everything multiple times beyond your expectations. It really feels dynamic to read and doesn't have dead or boring moments. It became easily ...more
Overall nice story. I have a hard time keeping focused on books but I finished this one in 4 days which to me is a fairly good performance.
I had a smile when halfway through the book the told about Adam Jensen thinking this is gonna get interesting and serious but... never heard of Jensen again.
That said I loved to discover some of what happened before DE:HR.
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James Swallow is a New York Times, Sunday Times and Amazon #1 bestselling author and scriptwriter, a BAFTA nominee, a former journalist and the award-winning writer of over fifty books, along with scripts for video games, comics, radio and television.

His writing includes the Marc Dane action thrillers, the Sundowners steampunk Westerns and fiction from the worlds of Star Trek, Warhammer 40000, Do

Other books in the series

Deus Ex Universe (7 books)
  • Deus Ex: Fallen Angel
  • Deus Ex: Black Light
  • Deus Ex: Hard Line
  • Deus Ex
  • Deus Ex Vol.1: Children's Crusade
  • Deus Ex Universe: The Dawning Darkness

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