10 Books Like ‘Mass Effect’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

“This is Commander Shepherd and these are my favourite books”

Mass Effect is a grand, sweeping space epic, packed full of tense firefights, interesting alien creatures and interplanetary disputes and issues. It’s an absolute must-play when it comes to sci-fi games.

If you’re in the mood for more of these space opera adventures, fret not! We’ve gathered together 10 books to check out when you’ve finished playing Mass Effect. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favourites, do comment below and let us know!

The Expanse series by James A. Corey

A solar system-wide conspiracy unfolds across this 9 book series, beginning with “Leviathan Wakes,” which follows a disparate group of characters, including a weary detective called Miller, an ambitious ship captain (Holden), and a dedicated politician (Avasarala). Holden’s crew find themselves caught in the middle of a huge struggle for power over an alien entity called the Protomolecule. 

If that wasn’t enough, tensions between colonies on Mars, Earth and the OPA (Outer Planets Alliance) reaches fever pitch and across the series, causes devastating effects that change life as we know it forever.

Like Mass Effect, The Expanse’s sprawling, intricate universe, multiple perspective narrative, and fusion of science and politics parallel aspects of the Mass Effect series. The alien protomolecule shares characteristics with both the Prothean artifacts and the Reapers in Mass Effect.

Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card

In a future where Earth is threatened by alien “buggers,” gifted children are trained in Battle School to be military strategists. The protagonist, Ender Wiggin, becomes humanity’s best hope with his tactical genius.

This series explores Ender’s growth, moral dilemmas, and his efforts to understand alien species. As one may have guessed, this is pretty similar to Mass Effect. The existential threat of an alien race mirrors the Reapers too, while Ender’s moral decisions and struggle for understanding parallels Commander Shepard’s journey.

Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton

Set in a technologically advanced society, Pandora’s Star begins when a neighboring star mysteriously disappears. This prompts an investigative mission that uncovers an alien species and a powerful entity threatening humanity.

The narrative explores political machinations, space exploration, and high-stakes conflicts. That idea of an advanced civilization, and humanity’s struggle to comprehend that, parallels the plot and world-building of Mass Effect.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

A Fire Upon the Deep is an exciting space opera, which sees an ancient, evil power accidentally awakened, threatening the High Beyond, which is a realm of advanced civilizations. The only hope here lies with two human children on a distant planet and those who receive their distress signal.

The awakening of a dormant, ancient evil mirrors the return of the Reapers in Mass Effect. Not only that but the mix of high-concept sci-fi, personal stakes, and a race against time aligns with the game’s storytelling approach.

Brainship series by Anne McCaffrey

This series explores the concept of “brainships,” starships powered by human brains, focusing on their unique capabilities and their relationships with their human partners. The stories often deal with space exploration, alien encounters, and personal struggles.

The advanced technological concept of the brainships has echoes in the Mass Effect universe’s AI and cybernetics, while the space exploration and encounters with aliens are central themes in both series.

Starship series by Mike Resnick

The series follows the adventures of Wilson Cole, a war hero turned rogue, as he takes command of the starship, Theodore Roosevelt. The Roosevelt becomes a sanctuary for the outcasts and misfits of the galaxy, leading to numerous space adventures, battles, and diplomatic crises.

The starship-based setting, charismatic leadership of Cole, and the motley crew of outcasts reflects elements of the Normandy and its crew in Mass Effect.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons

The story revolves around seven pilgrims set on a journey to the Time Tombs on the planet Hyperion. Each pilgrim has their own reason for the journey and their tales unravel the complex history of the planet, a monstrous creature called the Shrike, and the brewing war that threatens the galaxy.

The ensemble cast, complete with personal stories, advanced civilizations, cosmic threats, and intricate narrative, echoes elements found in Mass Effect. The pilgrimage to an ancient, mysterious site also mirrors the importance of Prothean sites in the game.

Murderbot series by Martha Wells

The series follows the self-named Murderbot, a security android with a hacked governor module, granting it free will. Though it would prefer to binge-watch its favorite shows, it often finds itself protecting humans from various threats, all while struggling with its understanding of humanity and its own identity.

The series’ exploration of AI and its morality, the balance between personal desires and duty, and interstellar adventures parallel elements of Mass Effect, especially in characters like Legion and EDI.

Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin J Anderson

Saga of Seven Suns is a space opera series featuring multiple human and alien civilizations, interstellar politics, and ancient, powerful entities. It begins with humans igniting a dormant, ancient artifact, inadvertently awakening a destructive, elemental force, leading to interstellar conflicts and a fight for survival.

The story’s grand scale, alien civilizations, the awakening of an ancient power, and the looming galactic threat mirror the overarching narrative of the Mass Effect trilogy.

Conqueror’s Trilogy by Timothy Zahn

The trilogy tells the story of first contact and war between humans and the technologically advanced, alien Conquerors from both perspectives. It explores themes of misunderstanding, fear, and the possibility of peace amidst conflict.

The inter-species first contact, understanding, and conflict, as well as the narrative’s dual perspective, certainly aligns with Mass Effect’s themes of unity, conflict, and cooperation among various species.

 These are just a few books that will give you the vibe of Mass Effect. What did you think of the list? Have you read any of these book before? Have you read something that’s a great fit but isn’t on the list? Comment below and let us know! 

You can read more of our book reviews and articles here! 

2 thoughts on “10 Books Like ‘Mass Effect’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends”

  1. Well I thought you did a great job Greg. Thanks for the recs, I’ll be sure to give them a further look because of this article 🙌

  2. This list is pretty horrible. Ender Game similar to ME? There are far more superior books than this.

    You’re missing out with Undying Mercenaries (each tome different planet, different species, constant battles and action) and Oddysey One. There’s also Revelation Space.

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