I reviewed the original paperback Mass Effect: Revelation
back before the game was released - a book I enjoyed a lot.
Ascension, on the other hand, is written for a somewhat different and perhaps more hardcore audience. Unlike the first novel, there is no real introduction into this universe for the uninitiated.
The story centres on a small number of characters, one of which was originally in the first novel. It tells the tale of a sinister black ops organisation, it's mission to influence and control a young girl with psycho-kinetic ability and the struggle of those trying to protect her.
It's an interesting story for fans of the game. It delves into the Cerberus black ops group and it's enigmatic leader "The Illusive Man" - both of which are said to feature heavily in the storyline for Mass Effect 2.
Of course, this is a follow-up novel and as such it sort of assumes you've played the game and taken an interest in it. A fair assumption I'd say. But, whereas I recommended the original novel quite openly to fans of science fiction and the genre of game Mass Effect is based on, I'm hesitant to do so with Ascension. The story is more tightly focused and, in my opinion, of slightly less interest as a result and overall it's not really suitable for those without a certain level of foreknowledge.
Not a bad effort by any means, but not as strong as it's predecessor and lacking in broad appeal.