Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Series: Mass Effect: Andromeda
Narrator: Fryda Wolfe
Edition: Audiobook, 13 Hours 24 Minutes
Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4/5 Stars
They slept for hundreds of years, dreaming of a new home in the Andromeda galaxy. When finally they awake, their dreams of peace are shattered. These colonists – turian, salarian, asari, human, and more – face an uncharted galaxy and threats beyond understanding.
The Nexus is the core from which the colonists will explore their new home. Yet even before the arks arrive, the massive space station sustains critical damage. The entire mission is placed in jeopardy, and security director Sloane Kelly must reassert order while racing to identify the nature of the threat that faces them.
If she fails, the Andromeda Initiative could crumble.
Nexus Uprising serves as a prequel to the video game Mass Effect: Andromeda, taking us to the time before your character, Ryder, arrives in the ark to find the space station badly damaged and behind schedule. We get a glimpse into what exactly happened to the people aboard and why there is so much for you to “clean” up when you get there. There may be some spoilers for the game in the following review, I will not mention any major plot points, however, some characters’ and events within the book directly lead to plot points in the game.
Right off the bat, I was intrigued with Nexus Uprising. I am a Bioware fangirl and I adore Mass Effect, however, the real draw for me was the fact that we’d be getting a chance to see Sloane Kelly BEFORE she becomes who she is within the game. The story itself spans several different characters, giving you a lot of insight into each one of them and their motivations. I think this is a pretty successful prequel novel. While it doesn’t feel fundamental to the storyline, because you can piece together some of this with the in-game dialogue and ‘lore’, it does feel like I gain a lot of new information that broadens the overall story’s scope. The story is slow to build and we get to see the Nexus the moment the first pods open, where the trouble begins immediately and people not prepared to lead are thrust forward to make decisions.
While playing the game I had mixed feelings about pretty much everyone in this book excluding a few (Kesh – Love, Tann- HATE, Spender – HATE), but Nexus Uprising really fleshes out how they became the people we interacted with. I appreciated getting to know more about Sloane, who is painted as a badass but dangerous person in the game. She is still a badass and more than a little dangerous if need be in NU, but she has a focus on getting things done the correct way. I love a woman who can talk her way out of a problem but can also punch her way out when she has to. Tann is still the same little spineless twerp we all get subjected to in the game, but we see his appointment to the director and his turning points along the way. Addison is the one that doesn’t seem to get a lot of character arc development, she does grow more spine throughout everything but she remains the same, which isn’t to say she’s a bland character more that her inevitable strength and determination to see things to the end is something that develops early on in the story.
I was extremely frustrated in the game when I found out about the rebellion and the consequential divide between the crew, and while that frustration hasn’t gone away I do understand why it occurred. A new galaxy fraught with unexpected issues and the danger of their own home failing them, it pushes people to limits that hadn’t previously expected to see. On top of the issues, we also have old scars that still linger even after 600 light years are placed between them and it’s origin. We have classism and inherent racism that most try to overcome in some way, though more than few fail. It kind of makes you all wonder, just what the hell all these people were thinking when they signed up to leave the Milky Way and head to Andromeda.
A small note on the audiobook, it is read by Fryda Wolff who provides the voice for the female Ryder in the game. She really does an excellent job with the range of voices and really taps into each of the races little mannerisms really well.
Overall I think that if you enjoyed the game, then this is one to check out for sure! It provides some much-needed context for the situations surrounding Tann, Spender, Clan Nakmor, and Sloane, and really solidifies what makes the ME series so strong; the relationships built between allies and enemies.