‘The Vladivostock Gauntlet’ is a welcome addition to the Shadowrun novella line, and follows in the footsteps of classics such as ‘Wolf and Raven’. The writing style is clear and evocative, and is an excellent example of how broad the term ‘success’ is when undertaking (even unwillingly) a run into the shadows. Set in the eponymous city, it follows Yuri as he finds out the cost of ‘doing the right thing’.
The novella feels like a 1980’s action movie with all of the necessary tropes; but has a distinctly Sixth World feel to it. The characters see some development, and the uneven technological levels is handled very nicely. In summary, it was an enjoyable read.
The only two downsides to the product are minor. Firstly, in a book that features werewolves (of a sort) having two minor characters named Garou and Gangrel seems like the author wants to port in as much White Wolf as possible and this was jarring as I read a lot of old World of Darkness source books and fiction. Secondly, there is a game mechanics chapter to the book detailing stats and the like, but you have to visit the Catalyst website to download it (it is admittedly free). One questions why the two items would be disaggregated beyond an attempt to drive traffic to the company site. I would have preferred to see this gaming material make it into the product.
These two detractions aside, I did really enjoy the novella. If another tale of Yuri and Soren was released, I’d certainly invest the time to read it.
[4 of 5 Stars!]