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Born to Run: A Shadowrun Novel (Shadowrun (Roc)) by Stephen Kenson
Review by Kat Bittner
Roc Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 0451460588
Date: 01 November, 2005 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Kellan Colt is a Kansas City runaway determined to break into the underworld of the Seattle shadowrunners. Her pyrokinetic capabilities are discovered after defending herself in a back alley brawl by G-Dogg, an ork who quickly adopts her into a world where the characters--trolls, magicians, and elves--are as diverse as the alliances are limited and ever shifting.

Kellen becomes a protégé to Lothan, an unflappable troll mage. After a run to steal weapons from Ares Technology for a mysterious Mr. Johnson turns into a too-easy-to-be-true victory, Kellen is on the move to uncover their employer's motives. What may have started as a mere milk run leads Kellan down a road more dangerous than she ever expected.

Stephen Kenson is no stranger to the Shadowrun universe and does not make the audience feel like they are either. If the reader is not familiar with a reference, there's always a character to casually explain it for you. This may be more helpful for people unaware of Kenson's previous contributions, which includes four novels and products developed for the role playing game the series is based on. Born to Run could benefit if the reader is left to discover gradually its history rich with elements of cyberpunk and fantasy. The environments are derived from the same postapocalytpic sprawl as Emma Bull's Bone Dance.

The plot is predictable, except for the epilogue that finally piques interest. The Darwinian mentality of survival stripped down to a single mantra, "Kill or be killed" is not fully realized. Born to Run is the first in a trilogy and provides a good introduction for those more interested in the history of the world of Shadowrun than the under-the-table dealings of the world itself.

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