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Literature / Mass Effect: Deception

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Mass Effect: Deception is a novel written by William C. Dietz set in the Mass Effect universe. It chronicles Gillian Grayson's attempt to avenge her father's death at the hands of Cerberus in Mass Effect: Retribution.

The novel is the only Mass Effect book to not be written by Drew Karpyshyn and contains many continuity errors.

Mass Effect: Deception provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Artistic License – Biology: You cannot outgrow autism. You can learn to control it with time. You can use drugs that help control some of the symptoms. But you cannot outgrow it.
  • Bury Your Gays: A previously established homosexual male character is turned straight before he's killed off.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Kai Leng gets two mercenaries to help him steal Grayson's body. He traps one of them in a containment device to act as a decoy, prompting the other merc to demand payment up front. He complies and kills that merc a few hours later.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The continuity errors and poor reception of the original editions were acknowledged by the publisher and BioWare, who promised a rewrite to replace it in the continuity.
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  • Continuity Snarl: See here. Long story short, the novel makes many errors regarding the lore of the Mass Effect universe.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gillian is mortally injured by Kai Leng when he stabs her In the Back with a toothbrush.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The Citadel Council in Deception are made up of an asari, a turian, a salarian, and a human. Thus, the playthrough where a Renegade Shepard sacrifices the Destiny Ascension, making Udina appoint an all-human Council (as opposed to a still-mixed-species Council for a Paragon Shepard) is invalidated. Mass Effect 3 later confirmed this, as there is no all-human Council in it, either, unless it abdicated between the games. Notably the human councilor is not identified as Udina despite Retribution implying otherwise, but his actions and personality identify him clearly as such. Nobody's sure why the author didn't name him.
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  • Defeat Means Friendship: Despite their sole interaction being a one-sided conversation that ended with him being thrown across a room, Nick greets Gillian with open arms and a kiss on the cheek when he sees her again.
  • Downer Ending: Gillian, Nick, and Hendel all die pointless deaths, Kai Leng gets away again, the Illusive Man is building an army of Grayson clones (or something possibly worse), and once again the Council sticks their heads in the sand and ignores Kahlee and Anderson's evidence about the Reapers.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Gillian, Nick, and Hendel.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: When Kai Leng sneaks into Anderson's apartment to plant a bug, he decides he might as well help himself to Anderson's cereal while he's there.
  • Evil Is Petty: As noted above, Kai Leng eats Anderson's cereal. He also pisses in a vase.
  • I Gave My Word: After one of Aria's banks is hit by the Grim Skulls, she lets one of their captured mercenaries go after the merc tells Aria who really killed her daughter. When Aria later confronts the same merc in the Grim Skulls' medical bay, she has her transferred to a hospital, her reason being this.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • After already losing Nick on the Citadel, Kahlee decides it would be a good idea to let an emotionally unstable Gillian go outside for a spot of fresh air after she's announced her intentions to kill the Illusive Man. Three seconds later she's missing too. The novel does point out this was incredibly stupid thinking on Kahlee's part.
    • Aria T'Loak uses next to none of the security she used in previous books/the second game. Luckily for her, Kai Leng has forgotten about the advanced tactics he used in previous novels as well.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Kai Leng kills Gillian with a sharpened toothbrush.
  • Indy Ploy: This is Gillian's modus operandi for the entire novel. And it very nearly works out.
  • Karma Houdini: Kai Leng, natch. Gotta keep him alive for Mass Effect 3, after all. Don't worry, Shepard will give him what's coming to him.
  • The Mole: Cory Kim, ex-partner to Kai Leng, is a deep undercover Ceberus operator in the Biotic Underground. Her cover story is that she quit Cerberus before joining up with the Underground, which even Kai Leng believed at first.
  • Not So Stoic: Aria breaks down in tears over her daughter's grave at Thessia, despite her best attempts not to do so.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Gillian and Nick. Hendel does as well to a lesser extent. And they all die for it.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: A great deal of criticism has been focused upon the author's inability to write characters in a natural manner, including a tendency to have characters announce their emotional state.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Gillian has completely lost her autistic behavior by the beginning of the novel.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Let's say that Hendel is very lucky to be alive after he make the huge stupidity of attacking Aria friggin T'Loak.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Gillian and Nick have both taken great strides during their teenage years. Too bad the strides were down a slippery slope.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Biotic Underground claim to be this, but it's clear they're just vying for power.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Gillian, who goes on a quest to avenge her father's death.
  • You Killed My Father: Gillian toward the Illusive Man, but there's a few more variations of this as well; Aria to Kai Leng over her daughter, Kai Leng to Gillian over his ex-lover, and Nick to Hendel over his girlfriend.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Cory Kim's fate, courtesy of a hand cannon wielded by Gillian.