Literature / Mass Effect: Revelation
Mass Effect: Revelation is a novel within the Mass Effect universe, written by then-lead writer Drew Karpyshyn.

It serves as a prequel to the first game, telling the story of how Capt. Anderson tried and failed to become a Spectre.

Mass Effect: Revelation provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain / Villain Protagonist: Saren.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The asari councilor asks one of Goyle, when she asks her whether humanity has ever put the interests of the galaxy above its own interests as a species.
  • Badass Normal: In a universe with dinosaur-like aliens with extremely fast regenerative capabilities and people who can manipulate gravity with their minds, Anderson manages to nearly kill Skarr, a member of said aliens AND able to manipulate gravity with his mind, with little more than a pistol. By himself, twice. Although he does need some help to finish him off.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Qian is heavily implied to have become this.
  • Call-Forward: The retired Admiral Grissom (not fond of visitors) goes to answer his door and wonders who it might be. "If it was a reporter, he'd punch him — or her — right in the mouth."
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Edan Had'dah tries to convince Saren of this, arguing that without his wealth and resources, it will take Saren up to ten years to exploit the potential of Sovereign. Saren merely retorts that he doesn't mind being patient, then promptly kill Edan.
    • Saren also implies he has this view of Anderson. Doesn't stop him from threatening Anderson's life when a disagreement turns into a scuffle.
    "...If I kill you the Alliance will be crying out for my head, and the Council might just give it to them. At the very least they'd revoke my Spectre status."
  • The Cavalry: The frigate Iwo Jima for the squad sent to extract Kahlee. Proves to not be successful when Skarr downs it with a BFG
  • Damsel in Distress: Kahlee at the climax. Probably deliberately set up this way by Saren to induce The Dulcinea Effect in Anderson to throw him off his game operationally.
  • The Dreaded: Saren has a reputation for his ruthless in the Attican Traverse. Even Skarr, a biotic Krogan Warlord, is driven off by a bullet in the chest (a minor wound to a Krogan) when he sees that Saren was the shooter and expresses fear towards him.
    "I make a point never to get involved in Spectre business... especially this one! Turian bastard."
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Anderson heads to Chora's Den to do this when his divorce becomes finalized.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though Saren's torture of Groto was for information, Saren also stopped him from torturing a human prostitute and was disgusted by Groto's intentions. This trope is in play because Saren despises humans.
  • Eye Scream: Groto Ib-ba, a mercenary member of the batarians, a species whose members each have four eyes, gets one of them burst — not removed, burst — by his torturer during interrogation. This particular instance is also one of Pay Evil unto Evil, as the victim in question was also hateful of humans and had planned to "break" a human prostitute as a means of "stress relief". The novel says Groto even went out of his way in an attempt to pick the weakest prostitute to ensure he broke her.
  • The Fettered: Anderson believes in operating this way, refusing to risk innocent lives. Serves as a counterpoint to Saren who is more of The Unfettered Combat Pragmatist
  • First Contact: The book begins just after this happens.
  • Foreshadowing: Ambassador Goyle suggests that there could already be an advanced AI out there somewhere in the galaxy (besides the geth).
    • Kahlee claims that humans are researching ways to induce biotic ability in themselves.
    • People find an alien artifact and suddenly undergo personality changes, developing an obsession with it and ultimately suffering mental faculty decay from prolonged exposure.
  • Framing Device: Set up the Mass Effect universe, since the game was unreleased during its publication.
  • Freudian Excuse: Apparently Saren's hatred of humanity was caused by his brother's death during the First Contact War. Of course, that does nothing to defend Saren's brutal treatment of every other species that gets in his way.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Goyle accuses the council of adapting this approach with potentially hostile synthetic life, when they attempt to sanction the Alliance for carrying out "study them in order to neutralize them" research on AIs. The council retorts by claiming that humans are acting like Generals Ripper perceiving everything around them as a threat to be conquered. The asari and salarians then give Goyle a lecture about how mutual cooperation should be a default stance all species should take.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Early on, the book lampshades their commonness in the franchise. Anderson subscribes to the most common explanation, that there's some undiscovered evolutionary advantage to the humanoid body structure.
  • Humans Advance Swiftly: Ambassador Goyle suspects that the Council races are imposing crippling sanctions on The Alliance because they are scared of the implications of this and want to slow down that advance as much as possible. She isn't aware that it is actually an elaborate negotiation ploy by the Council to ensure that the Alliance accepts the less severe sanctions they wanted to impose all along.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique / Cold-Blooded Torture: Depending on whether you view Saren as an Anti-Hero or Villain Protagonist.
  • Kick the Dog: Saren interrogates a badly injured female Batarian on life support (Who was also kept her under because her injuries caused her terrible pain. Her doctor also gave Saren medicine to put her back under and save her life if necessary) by shutting off said life support and taking advantage of her pain to coerce her into telling him what he wants to know, refusing to put her back under until he got the information he needed. Then Saren waited for her to die before putting the medication in her IV and lied to the doctor, saying that the medicine didn't save her.
    • Arguably Skarr killing the Alliance soldiers rescuing Kahlee after they had surrendered and been disarmed.
  • Knowledge Broker: Anderson uses one to figure out that Kahlee is Jon Grissom's estranged daughter
  • Magnificent Bastard: Saren deliberately leaks information about Kahlee's extraction in order to ensure that Skarr captures her. He does this so that Skarr would lead him right to the masterminds of the attack on Sidon. He later destroys the refinery where the bad guys are holed up to deliberately discredit Anderson's Spectre candidacy, and by extension, the Alliance and humanity.
  • Married to the Job : This was what caused Anderson's marriage and Grissom's relationship with Kahlee's mother to end. Kahlee even rebuffs Anderson because she can see an actual relationship in jeopardy for this reason.
  • Mythology Gag / Self-Deprecation: There's a line somewhere about a lengthy elevator ride.
  • Prequel
  • Ramming Always Works: The APC driver who is transporting Kahlee for extraction does this to pursuing vehicles to buy them some time.
  • Rule #1:
    "I have two rules I follow," Saren explained. "The first is: never kill someone without a reason."
    "And the second?" Anderson asked, suspicious.
    "You can always find a reason to kill someone."
  • The Scapegoat: Saren makes Anderson this, deliberately misleading him about how much time they had to complete the mission then making sure to blame him for having to resort to "desperate measures to ensure success."
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: Anderson's squad discover this when they finally reach the interior of the Sidon Research Facility.
  • Start of Darkness: For Saren, though the story shows that he was a huge racist and Knight Templar even before he turned bad.
  • Stock Subtitle
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between Anderson and Saren at first during the refinery mission. Subverted as the mission progresses when Saren blows the refinery up.
  • Token Romance: Anderson and Kahlee Sanders, though it does not actually go anywhere. Later subverted by Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC, or at least implied as such, as Kahlee leaves bags of her stuff at Anderson's Apartment.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Subverted; Dah is 6' 3", stated to be stronger then most of the men in her squad and with an attitude that's kept her from advancing in her career. She gets ambushed and badly hurt, but ends up recovering to full health.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When confronted by Saren, Had'dah says this of Dr. Qian, stating that Qian's obsession with the artefact he's studying (in truth, Qian had been indoctrinated by Sovereign) had made him a liability, Saren promptly puts a bullet in his brain.