This week I decided to review Mass Effect: Andromeda: Nexus Uprising by Jason M.Hough and K. C. Alexander.
The story begins with the Andromeda Initiative, a project to colonize a star cluster in the Andromeda galaxy, launching several space arks and the Nexus, which is to serve as a hub and command center depart with their crews and the colonists in stasis. But when the Nexus reaches its destination it encounters a mysterious interstellar phenomena, later named The Scourge, which severely damages the station and kills a number of the crew.
With Initiative Director Jien Garson missing and much of the command staff dead, command falls to Salarian Revenue Management Deputy Director Jarun Tann, advised by the human Security Director Sloane Kelly and the human Director of Colonial Affairs Foster Addison. After awakening a tech team specializing in life support led by Turian Calix Corvannis to repair the failing life support systems, the decision is eventually made to wake up others to help repair the station, but with the first set of Hydroponics crops ruined, supplies are tight, leading to rationing. And tensions only rise when Garson is found among the dead from the Scourge encounter.
Eventually the life support team begins to lose faith in the new leadership after one of their members is killed by the Scourge, followed by the arrest of another for sabotaging a computer database, with her actions caught by hidden security cameras Kelly had secretly added without Tann's or Addison's knowledge. When replacement hydroponic crops are revealed to require more time than anticipated, which will lead to the station running out of food before the first harvest is ready,
Tann puts out a call for volunteers to go back into stasis but no one heeds his call. Shortly after this, Kelly joins a work team going into a zone where communications don't function. She returns to find that Tann and Addison have sent scouting missions to a number of nearby worlds and that her second in command Kandros has joined one of those missions apparently believing that she was OK with him going while she didn't even know about the scouting runs until after they were launched.
In time, seven of the eight scout shuttles return, with the missing craft being the one carrying Kandros which only heightens Kelly's anger at her fellow leader. After Tann issues an order to force most of the awake Nexus crew into stasis, Corvannis, who has lost his last faith in the current Nexus leadership due to them concealing the results of the scouting expedition from the population, issues a call for a rebellion...
I give this book 7.5 out of 10. It suffers from being a prequel in that anyone who has played much of Mass Effect: Andromeda knows how it will end. There were a couple of interesting surprises in the story, though. But I wish the rebellion portion of the book lasted longer and the question I was hoping for an answer to the most, namely why Tann was so high on the leadership succession list, was left unanswered. It didn't even give enough hints for me to form a decent theory regarding the answer and, worse, the story implies that the answer will never be revealed.