Mass Effect Ascension by Drew Karpyshyn takes place shortly after the attack of the Reaper Sovereign and his allies Saren and the Geth. Acting as filler between the games Mass Effect 1 and 2, the novel tells of how The Illusive Man, the leader of the rogue, xenophobic organization called Cerberus, watches on as he plots Cerberus' next move.
For those who have already played Mass Effect 2, the exploits and shady dealings of Cerberus and the Illusive Man will come as no surprise but for others who wish to devour as much knowledge of the Mass Effect Universe before playing the novel will provide a great introduction.
Karpyshyn writes in a very easy style, this isn't The Game of Thrones but it is an easy read which can be devoured in a few sittings. The author is an experienced sci-fi author having penned novels in the Star Wars extended universe, several other video game franchises and of course the previous Mass Effect novel Revelation (which should be read first).
The plot of the novel frequently points to that of the first two Mass Effect video games, Mass Effect: Revelation introduced the character Kahlee Sanders, a scientist on the run for her part in illegal AI research, and a character who became very important to Captain Anderson himself.
One of the most talked about points of the Mass Effect games were the multiple plot endings, to explain in full how Mr Karpyshyn deals with these would constitue a spoiler but he does so simply without closing any of the doors the player of the game may have experienced.
Although you will not need to read the novels to understand the games, in my opinion the Mass Effect universe is one of the best sci-fi galaxies recently created and the books do everything to make it even better.
Ascension is a good read - admittedly I enjoyed the plot of Revelation more but overall this is a decent action novel which should appeal to all fans of the game.