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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 countless continuity errors. BioWare has since stricken the novel from official canon as a result of immense fan backlash.


Tropes used in Mass Effect Deception include:
  • Artistic License Biology: You cannot outgrow autism. You can learn to control it with time, you can use drugs that help to control some of the symptoms, but you cannot outgrow it.
  • Badass: Kai Leng takes this to absurd levels. He kills the most powerful human biotic in the galaxy with a goddamned toothbrush. Keep in mind, Leng is a completely normal human (at least relatively so) who just had both of his legs shot to pieces. Speaking of which, he also kills a guy with a jump kick, even though it's previously established that he's crippled.
  • Boom! Headshot!/Your Head Asplode: Cory Kim's fate, courtesy of a Hand Cannon wielded by Gillian.
  • 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 Paul Grayson's body. He traps one of them in a containment device to act as a decoy, prompting the other Genre Savvy merc to demand payment up front. He complies... and kills that merc a few hours later.
  • Canon Dis Continuity
  • Continuity Snarl: See here. To make a long story short, the novel makes many errors regarding the lore of the Mass Effect universe.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The Citadel Council in Deception are made up of an asari, a turian, a salarian and a human, so either Shepard saved the Destiny Ascension or the all-human council decided to abdicate. Notably, the human councilor is not identified as Udina despite Retribution implying otherwise, so this may also be a partial case of Third Option Adaptation.
    • Mass Effect 3 later confirmed this, as there is no all-human Council in it, either.
  • 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 once again, the Illusive Man is building an army of Paul Grayson clones (or something possibly worse), and the Council once again 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, as noted above.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch/Evil Is Petty: Kai Leng plants a bug in David Anderson's house. However, before he leaves, he eats Anderson's cereal
  • Karma Houdini: Kai Leng, natch. Gotta keep him alive for Mass Effect 3, after all!
  • I Gave My Word: After one of Aria T'Loak'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 the 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/Mass Effect 2. Luckily for her, Kai Leng has forgotten about the advanced tactics he used in previous novels, as well.
  • Indy Ploy: This is Gillian's modus operandi for the entire novel - and it very nearly works out.
  • The Mole: Cory Kim, ex-partner to Kai Leng, is a deep undercover Cerberus operator in the Biotic Underground. Her cover story is that she quit Cerberus before joining up with the Underground, which even 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, and Hendel 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.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Gillian has completely lost her autistic behavior by the beginning of the novel.
  • 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, oh so very much.
  • You Killed My Father: Gillian toward the Illusive Man, but there's a few more variations on the trope as well; Aria T'Loak to Kai Leng over her daughter, Kai Leng to Gillian over his ex-lover and Nick to Hendel over his girlfriend.
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