Breach (Cold War Magic, #1)
AFTER THE WAR, THE WALL BROUGHT AN UNEASY PEACE.When Soviet magicians conjured an arcane Wall to blockade occupied Berlin, the world was outraged but let it stand for the sake of peace. Now after 10 years of fighting with spies instead of spells, the CIA has discovered the unthinkable:THE WALL IS FAILING.While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from East and West converge on the most dangerous city in the world to stop or take advantage of the crisis.Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and see if it can be reversed. Instead she will discover that the truth is elusive in this divided city, and that even magic itself has its own agenda.BECAUSE THE REAL PURPOSE OF THE WALL IS ABOUT TO BE REVEALED.

Breach (Cold War Magic, #1) Details

TitleBreach (Cold War Magic, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Magic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Alternate History, Urban Fantasy, Adult, Mystery

Breach (Cold War Magic, #1) Review

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars! What a way to spice things up! A genre-bending novel with historical science fiction leanings? Breach sounded like the perfect way to test out science fiction and fantasy again. A wall is put in place to separate Soviet-occupied from unoccupied Berlin. After ten years, the CIA discovers the wall is being breached. Here’s where the “fun” stuff enters…Karen is a magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment (you mean we don’t have one of those already?! We should 3.75 stars! What a way to spice things up! A genre-bending novel with historical science fiction leanings? Breach sounded like the perfect way to test out science fiction and fantasy again. A wall is put in place to separate Soviet-occupied from unoccupied Berlin. After ten years, the CIA discovers the wall is being breached. Here’s where the “fun” stuff enters…Karen is a magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment (you mean we don’t have one of those already?! We should!), and she is sent to assess the breach and see if it can be fixed. What she discovers instead is much more than she planned for. A dab of politics, a background of history, and an alternate world, make Breach an original stand-out read. Magic is the winner in this forum and discovering just how so is yet another mesmerizing facet of this book. Quirky and complex characters abound, along with smooth writing, solid plotting, adding up to a total escape of a read! Disclosure to my sci fi and fantasy friends: remember I’m not a regular in either of these genres, but as a newbie, I definitely found this quite enjoyable! Thank you to Berkley/Ace Rock Books for the ARC. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting story of alternate history laced with magic...This is definitely not my usual read, but it was a nice change of pace... as a child of the 70s and 80s and with a father who worked in aerospace I was always well aware of the Cold War... in fact after the age of 10 I was not allowed to go inside my father’s work, in case I were a Russian spy not even sure if I’m allowed to say this... They might have to kill me😉This book was set after WWII in Germany, it took me a while to f This was an interesting story of alternate history laced with magic...This is definitely not my usual read, but it was a nice change of pace... as a child of the 70s and 80s and with a father who worked in aerospace I was always well aware of the Cold War... in fact after the age of 10 I was not allowed to go inside my father’s work, in case I were a Russian spy not even sure if I’m allowed to say this... They might have to kill me😉This book was set after WWII in Germany, it took me a while to figure out exactly when this book took place... I’m not even sure how important this is? But because this is not my usual genre I was a little fixated on it.... so sometime after WWII and the Berlin wall being erected... but this is no ordinary wall, it is a wall built of magic.... it is a wall that is hiding something and keeping the peace.... without this wall there is a chance of a possible WWIII... kind of tough to wrap your head around, especially when you witnessed the wall coming down and thought of it as being a triumphant moment...The female protagonist in this book was fantastic, a woman fighting her way in a man’s world.... really liked Karen and I was a little frustrated when the story switched to someoneelse’s point of view... I truly would have been happy had the story Ben told Soli from her viewpoint... The magic was fascinating, however I would’ve liked a little more information on the magic system... but seeing as though the characters themselves weren’t entirely clear on the magic, I guess it is understandable that I wasn’t either.... The last 25% of this book was pretty much nonstop action with lots of magic, and the ending.... a bit of a cliffy.....All in all a good book a definite detour from my regular reads....*** many thanks to the team at Berkley Publishing for bringing this book to my attention and for the copy ***
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  • Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
    January 1, 1970
    Today I'm sharing my newest journey into different book genres with my review of the debut historical fantasy novel, Breach by W. L. Goodwater. In a reimagining of the Berlin Wall, Breach proposes a world where the wall was created after the war out of magic rather than a physical wall. Bringing a clever twist on an historical event, Breach is grounded in a real scenario, but with an entirely new take on history--an urban fantasy based in magical realism. This is a great entry into the fantasy g Today I'm sharing my newest journey into different book genres with my review of the debut historical fantasy novel, Breach by W. L. Goodwater. In a reimagining of the Berlin Wall, Breach proposes a world where the wall was created after the war out of magic rather than a physical wall. Bringing a clever twist on an historical event, Breach is grounded in a real scenario, but with an entirely new take on history--an urban fantasy based in magical realism. This is a great entry into the fantasy genre!There are men who are unknown because they are effusive, and men that are unknown because no one noticed them. Breach proposes the notion that the latter is more powerful. I found the dynamics of who is behind this breach in the wall and what it means in a time of war and in a time where magic is only partially accepted as a reality that must be captured to be fascinating! Karen is a young magician who has been somewhat cast aside by men her whole life. Having Karen as our lead was quite powerful. It is people like Karen, who are constantly brushed aside that may wield the true power to change the world.I loved the way the magic was described here. Throughout the book is a conversation about magic and it's true mechanism. Most magicians do a lot of incantations and hand waving. But Karen proposes a lesson she once learned that all of that may not be needed. It is a way to help the magician focus, rather than a requirement for performing magic. And focus is the key to implementing magic. Magicians wear a locus around their necks, and it is a symbol near to their heart that helps them channel their magic. As a magical researcher, Karen enters the book trying to channel her magic towards healing. And because of this pureness to Karen's desires, Karen may be the only character who could have been sent to investigate the breach in the wall and save the warring people.One aspect to this book that was compelling was the notion of an unforgivable, dark side to magic. Not all magic is good, just as not all magicians are good. But magicians are left to operate according to a code of honor that must be upheld for magicians to remain helpful and not destructive. Of course, there are always those tempted to cross over to the dark side of magic. I don't want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that this was one of the most fascinating aspects of this book for me.The last scene was outstanding! I can't say more, but get to that last scene and you'll know what I mean. In fact, the very last line of the book is still buzzing through my head, making me think about the aftermath of such an event in a whole new way. I really enjoyed my first read in the historical fantasy genre!I read this book with two of my book besties, Berit and Jennifer. This was something new for all of us and we had a really great time discussing it! Check out their blogs for their reviews of Breach (now live!)!Thank you to Berkley for my copy of this book to review!
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  • Faith
    January 1, 1970
    "Magic was never the salvation of mankind. It was our undoing." I think that a reader's reaction to this book might depend on two things: first, their unconditional love for all things magical, and second, their enthusiasm/tolerance for books that aren't written very well and contain the clichéd phrase "something terrible had been released".Karen O'Neil is a 26 year old magician doing research at the Office of Magical Research and Deployment in the United States. In this alternate reality story, "Magic was never the salvation of mankind. It was our undoing." I think that a reader's reaction to this book might depend on two things: first, their unconditional love for all things magical, and second, their enthusiasm/tolerance for books that aren't written very well and contain the clichéd phrase "something terrible had been released".Karen O'Neil is a 26 year old magician doing research at the Office of Magical Research and Deployment in the United States. In this alternate reality story, the Berlin Wall was created and is maintained by magic, and Karen is sent to investigate a small breach that has opened in the Wall. Secretly, however, the purpose of the Wall is not crowd control, but we don't find out the "real" purpose of the Wall until the second half of the book. Up until that point the book is mostly a spy story with very little (and unimpressive) magic. The last third of the book gets more interesting when the characters enter a space where reality has shifted. The action speeds up and the images becomes very cinematic, with spectral presences, magic that feeds on blood and a breach that "twisted and thrashed like a living thing".I tried to ignore the fact that the writing isn't terrific because I know this is not aiming to be great literature, but I just couldn't since it seemed to get worse and cheesier as the book progressed. For example: On the first page: "...a skeletal moon proved to be a disinterested accomplice..." and "The only other light came from the heavily curtained windows reluctantly overlooking the empty road." I don't know what a skeletal moon is and I don't see how inanimate objects can be either disinterested or reluctant. And how exactly is light coming from heavily curtained windows? Also: "Every step was like walking barefoot over broken shards of yourself." and "...the sun decided to burn off a morning mist."From the beginning of the book I didn't think the writing was very good and the pacing was too slow, but near the end (view spoiler)[when Karen suddenly developed super powers (hide spoiler)] the book finally lost me forever. The book did have some interesting concepts, so I've rounded my rating up to 3 stars from 2.5, but I will not be continuing with the series.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    Controversial at best, the Berlin Wall may be dividing more than a troubled city. As East and West operatives swarm like locusts, one thing has been discovered, the wall is failing, it must be shored up or the world may soon discover its true purpose… History, politics and an alternate universe bring a magical and new level of intrigue to the Berlin Wall in W.L. Goodwater’s BREACH. Magic, magicians and government machinations will collide as one U.S. agent fights stereotyping and magical menace. Controversial at best, the Berlin Wall may be dividing more than a troubled city. As East and West operatives swarm like locusts, one thing has been discovered, the wall is failing, it must be shored up or the world may soon discover its true purpose… History, politics and an alternate universe bring a magical and new level of intrigue to the Berlin Wall in W.L. Goodwater’s BREACH. Magic, magicians and government machinations will collide as one U.S. agent fights stereotyping and magical menace.What a clever twist on history as we are invited into another world where magic prevails! Great character development, some fresh, some crusty, some eccentric, but none prepared for the truths that have been hidden! A great escape from our reality!I received a complimentary ARC edition from Ace!Series: Cold War Magic - Book 1Publisher: Ace (November 6, 2018)Publication Date: November 6, 2018Genre: Historical Fantasy | Alternate HistoryPrint Length: 368 pagesAvailable from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleFor Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/11/27/...I was surprised how much I liked Breach. Mostly, I wasn’t sure how I would take to the novel, given my last venture into a Cold War alternate history was met with mixed results, but I’m pleased to say W.L. Goodwater has delivered a fine thriller here, laced with just the right amount and balance of history, action and magic.The novel opens on a world very different from our own. World War II happened, yes. But a generation 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/11/27/...I was surprised how much I liked Breach. Mostly, I wasn’t sure how I would take to the novel, given my last venture into a Cold War alternate history was met with mixed results, but I’m pleased to say W.L. Goodwater has delivered a fine thriller here, laced with just the right amount and balance of history, action and magic.The novel opens on a world very different from our own. World War II happened, yes. But a generation later, even following the devastation, the world’s powers continued to clash—with war, ideology…and magic. Though thaumaturgy is widely seen as a weapon of the Germans because of how brutally the Nazi troops used magic to do horrible things during WWII, American researcher Karen O’Neil is trying to change that perception. To counter magic, she reasons, one must be able to understand it, and it need not be a tool for destruction either if its power and energy can be harnessed to do good.As a woman and a magician, however, Karen’s quest is an uphill battle, given how wary the public is regarding anything to do with magic. Even her own father, a veteran who has experienced its destructive power in the war, despises the magical work she does for the State Department. Then one day, an urgent request for a magical expert arrives from Germany, warning of a breach in the Berlin Wall, which in this world is a massive construct made entirely of magical energy. Karen is tapped for the assignment, amidst backlash from her male co-workers who feel she would not be up to the rigors of the job. Determined to prove herself, Karen throws herself into finding an explanation and solution for the growing breach, despite increasing signs that the problem may be linked to greater dangers involving deadly conspiracies and powerful secrets.For a debut, Breach was pretty solid. I was impressed by the flow of the writing, despite some over-embellishment and the occasional moment where I questioned word choice. I also enjoyed the voice of the main protagonist. The narrative follows a couple points-of-view besides Karen, but she was the character I latched onto the moment she stepped onto the page. A twenty-something-year-old woman and a magician, she faces pushback from many corners because of her sex and her ability to do magic. While the negativity she receives is great motivational factor, it also has a tendency to drive her to do impulsive things in her effort to prove she is up to the task, usually resulting in her doing something she regrets. However, her complexities—which include her flaws and personal weaknesses—serve to make her feel like a genuine and well-rounded character. On the whole, I found her to more memorable and developed than any of the other POVs, though I hope some—namely Jim, the CIA agent—will get more attention if there are future sequels.To my relief, you also don’t have to be much of a history buff to get into this book. Cold War knowledge certainly isn’t my forte, but I made out fine anyway, mostly because Goodwater has devised a world that holds up reasonably well as its own creation. The presence of magic is a gamechanger, causing sweeping changes in history and the way people conduct their lives. The magic system described in the book itself isn’t anything too special (comprising of the usual hand gestures and incantations, special objects to act as a focal point for the magician’s power, etc.) but I felt the social implications of it were. Magicians are both admired and feared for what they can do, as represented by an early scene of Karen at a family gathering, showing off her magic to the delight of her young niece while Karen’s own father stands to the side, seething with disapproval. It is a time of great change in this world, and attitudes towards magic play a role in determining the impact of certain events and people in the story.The plot reads like a mystery, with emphasis on investigations and spycraft early on, though there is a lot more action and suspense in the second half of the novel. There is also a surprise twist later on in the story that throws even more possibilities into the mix, making me re-evaluate what I thought I knew about this world. It seemed a bit over-the-top, for a novel already filled to the brim with a multitude of concepts, but as it was a genuinely fascinating plot development and the author didn’t let it get too out of hand, I was willing to disregard some of the more overreaching elements of the story. As well, the final page makes me think there will be more to follow, and as I alluded to earlier, if we’re fortunate enough to get a sequel, I will definitely be on board for more.
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.Breach was a wild ride. It took me a while to get into it, but I'm glad I pushed through the slow beginning (which could totally have been due to my currently-on-the-way-out-finally two month reading slump) and kept going. I read the last 70% in one sitting!This was a crazy fun alternate history historical fiction magical realism urban fantasy. It's set mostly in Europe, in the city of Berlin, after th Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.Breach was a wild ride. It took me a while to get into it, but I'm glad I pushed through the slow beginning (which could totally have been due to my currently-on-the-way-out-finally two month reading slump) and kept going. I read the last 70% in one sitting!This was a crazy fun alternate history historical fiction magical realism urban fantasy. It's set mostly in Europe, in the city of Berlin, after the War has torn the world (and the city) apart. Only the wall in this one is magical, impenetrable, and supposedly never coming down... until the "good guys" find a hole in the magic. Uh oh. They call for some magical support from their counterparts in the US, and the main character shows up on the scene. From there, it's a storm of spies, betrayals, magical twists, and fighting against pure evil.I'll say, it was highly entertaining with a dash of cliche. I'd probably pick up the next one, if there's a sequel, because it was fun. I do wish the magic had been a little more developed. But hey, after that ending, there's a chance for more.I'd say overall, good book with some great action, definitely worth a read if historical fiction with a paranormal/fantasy twist is your thing.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A slow-paced beginning turns into thrilling excitement at the end, which makes up for some of the more tedious sections.I’ll admit that when I first saw the cover of Breach, I thought it was science fiction. Maybe that’s why I feel like I got off on the wrong foot with this book. Breach is a fantasy that takes place in an alt I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A slow-paced beginning turns into thrilling excitement at the end, which makes up for some of the more tedious sections.I’ll admit that when I first saw the cover of Breach, I thought it was science fiction. Maybe that’s why I feel like I got off on the wrong foot with this book. Breach is a fantasy that takes place in an alternate post-WWII Europe where the Berlin Wall is actually made of magic. Cool idea, right? I thought so too, but unfortunately this was a very inconsistent read for me. It took a long time for the story to capture my attention—and when I say “a long time” I mean it wasn’t until about the last 25% that I finally started to enjoyed myself. It’s almost as if two different writers had written this book. The beginning is very slow and meandering, but the end was fantastic, and even the writing was better, in my opinion. Now, you’ll see plenty of 4- and 5-star ratings on Goodreads, so keep in mind this could be a “it’s not you, it's me” situation.Karen is a magician who works for the Office of Magical Research and Deployment. She’s currently working on trying to develop a healing spell, when she’s asked to go on a secret assignment overseas. In Germany, a magical Wall stands between East and West Berlin, created with such strong magic that it is said its power will last forever. But something is happening to the Wall. A small breach has appeared, and it’s getting bigger by the day. Something has gone wrong with the magic, so the CIA decides to invite Karen to Berlin to see if she can fix the breach.But there are other interested parties who will do whatever it takes to stop Karen and her team from interfering with the breach. As Karen delves deeper into the mystery of the magic behind the Wall, she discovers that the Wall is much more than just a magical barrier. Learning its secrets and trying to stay one step ahead of the Russians is not an easy task, and Karen finds herself in the worst sort of danger.I’m not sure if the year is ever mentioned, but I’m assuming that the story takes place sometime after the War, maybe the 1950s or 60s. And if that’s the case, then I can understand the attitude towards women that rears its ugly head on every page of this book. Karen is the only female main character in the story. The rest of the book is populated by macho co-workers, Russian spies, and CIA agents who think they are God’s gift to women. Karen is chosen over a male co-worker to help with the Wall project, and that coworker insults her in every way possible. Karen herself, although a plucky go-getter who seems to have plenty of self-confidence, especially when she finds herself in the middle of a bunch of men with over-inflated egos, didn’t always act the way I expected her to. She is constantly apologizing to the men around her, and she even refers to herself at one point as “the weaker sex,” which I found extremely annoying. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t really connect much with Karen, and even at the end when she turns out to be stronger than everyone expected, she still didn’t completely win me over.My favorite character turned out to be a magician named Erwin Ehle, trapped behind the Wall in East Germany. At one point he becomes critical to the outcome of the Wall and its breach, and I enjoyed the scenes where he and Karen work together. As for the other characters, it was hard to figure out which side everyone was on, because this is a tale full of spies, liars and cheats. The minute you think you’ve got someone figured out, they change sides, and I ended up more confused than entertained.The magic itself is rather vague, and even the descriptions of the Wall left me with plenty of questions. I never got a clear sense of how magic actually worked in this story, other than at times magicians use spoken spells, and at other times they draw arcane symbols on surfaces in order to make something happen. Each magician has something called a locus, a personal item that they keep on them in order to focus their magic. I did love that Karen’s locus was a bunch of jacks that had personal meaning to her, a bit of her childhood that reminded her of her sister. I really wanted to know more about the ins and outs of the magic itself, though, especially the Wall, but perhaps in future books the author will delve a little deeper into specifics.But then, the last quarter of the story completely blew me away! We get to experience exactly how high the stakes are for our characters and learn about the huge secret that the Wall is hiding. Goodwater also neatly ties up some loose ends from the beginning of the story, which made the ending even better. I much preferred the story when it takes place on the other side of the Wall, the dangerous side, because that’s where all the good stuff happens. Readers who enjoy slow-building action, spy thrillers, feisty heroines and Cold War intrigue will love this book. If Goodwater had been able to infuse the beginning and middle of his story with the thrilling action of the ending, I would have enjoyed this a lot more. As it stands, though, after that finale, I’m certainly willing to see what he does next.Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    A Magical WallThere’s a whole generation now who’ve grown up after the Berlin Wall fell. If you visit Berlin, it’s just a thin line of metal marking where it had been and a small section saved as part of a historical museum. Not that scary anymore. But, there was a time that this barrier divided the city, cleaving it in two. And, it was not designed to keep outsiders or invaders out so much as to keep the populace within where they could be subjected to the endless propaganda of the Communist Pa A Magical WallThere’s a whole generation now who’ve grown up after the Berlin Wall fell. If you visit Berlin, it’s just a thin line of metal marking where it had been and a small section saved as part of a historical museum. Not that scary anymore. But, there was a time that this barrier divided the city, cleaving it in two. And, it was not designed to keep outsiders or invaders out so much as to keep the populace within where they could be subjected to the endless propaganda of the Communist Party. Breach explores the dark period when freedom was stifled in East Berlin within sight of the West. Here, the American, French, and British directly confront the Soviet Empire before Gorbachev was told to tear down this wall. But, this wall in Breach was not constructed of cinderblock and mortar, but of spells and magic. And, there’s a breach in the wall, a pathway, and both the East and the West have magicians ready to confront the magic of the wall. And, what if the Wall is meant not just to cut off East Berlin, but to hold something else at bay, something more treacherous. Real interesting concepts, indeed. Part spy fiction, part science fiction, part alternate history. Featuring a lead character of magician extraordinary Karen O’Neill, a young, innocent, naive magician still feeling her land legs, but often showing other points of view as well. Although the storytelling was not always gripping, there were so many interesting ideas explored. Labeled as the first book in the series, so more are on the way.
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  • Skip
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. It's truly ambitious and fun: alternate history, urban fantasy, spy thriller (East vs. West), historical fiction, magic, good vs. evil. Great premise too: a re-imagined Berlin Wall, created after the WWII out of magic, rather than a physical materials. However, the Wall's super powerful magic is failing, starting with a small, but ever-growing breach, threatening global conflict. The CIA request assistance from the Office of Magical Research and Deployment, who sends I really enjoyed this book. It's truly ambitious and fun: alternate history, urban fantasy, spy thriller (East vs. West), historical fiction, magic, good vs. evil. Great premise too: a re-imagined Berlin Wall, created after the WWII out of magic, rather than a physical materials. However, the Wall's super powerful magic is failing, starting with a small, but ever-growing breach, threatening global conflict. The CIA request assistance from the Office of Magical Research and Deployment, who sends a young magician (Karen O'Neil), whose research specialty is how magic could be used to heal, rather than harm. An odd choice, for sure. She quickly discovers that she is a lone woman in a man's world, and being untrained in spycraft, much is kept from her. Karen is a wonderful character, growing in many ways, and ultimately able to best the men at their own game (colleagues, allies, and adversaries alike), doing more than they ever thought possible.An East German magician (Erwin Ehle) uses his prodigious skills to contact Karen, and promises to help fix the problem, if she helps him defect to the West. Meanwhile, the Soviets send their most powerful magician (the Nightingale) and enforcer to help find a extremely well hidden talisman of dark magic that could bring about the end of the world. The hiding place itself is wildly creative (view spoiler)[ a section of Berlin, stuck in a time warp (hide spoiler)]. Various factions among the Allied forces also seem to want this untold power in their hands, leaving the reader puzzled over who are the good guys. Karen and Erwin are the pivotal and most developed characters, but there are a number of strong supporting characters, especially Jim (the spy), Arthur (the spymaster), and even, Karen's mentor in the OMRD.I thought the book was well-written, well-paced, even captivating, with escalating tension between the countries, characters, and even, the fundamental nature of magic itself. My two minor quibbles were: (1) the backstory of Karen's family was utterly unnecessary and (2) the mystery of how magic actually worked. There were simply too many variants: spoken spells, use of arcane symbols, a personal locus, mental manipulation, and especially, how Karen managed to grow her powers. Hopefully, we will learn more in a sequel.
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  • Brenda A
    January 1, 1970
    I expected Breach to elicit mediocre feelings at best. I’m not usually a fan of spell-casting type books (with the exception of Harry Potter, weirdly enough) and it shows when you look at any of my reviews for urban fantasy. Breach ended up being a far better novel than I expected because it gave me the real world with its real problems and didn’t let magic be the instant solution to all problems. If anything, it proved how difficult things could get when something like magic is thrown in the mi I expected Breach to elicit mediocre feelings at best. I’m not usually a fan of spell-casting type books (with the exception of Harry Potter, weirdly enough) and it shows when you look at any of my reviews for urban fantasy. Breach ended up being a far better novel than I expected because it gave me the real world with its real problems and didn’t let magic be the instant solution to all problems. If anything, it proved how difficult things could get when something like magic is thrown in the mix of politics and war. It was clever and it nicely rounded out the story.I was surprised at how well the author wrote our female protagonist too. She wasn’t overly perfect or overly fragile; she was a real person who was smart and efficient but could also get upset or make mistakes. When she comes along and has to draw East and West Berlin together in a tangle of drama and plots, the book really starts to shine. It showed me up and I’m so glad it did.
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  • Munira
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, I have never read a book about the Cold war. I picked this book for the Magic part of it, but as I got more into the book, I couldn't put it down! I wanted to know more about the war and Berlin wall and it's history. I honestly loved it and I recommended it to everyone around me, and im definitely getting my own copy since its out now!
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  • Linda Romer
    January 1, 1970
    What a great story! I loved Breach, A new twist on The War, Germany, Britain, France, American. The wall, a magical wall. They are trying to stop World War lll from happening. An original plot with well thought out characters with genuine personalities. I loved Karen, Jim and Arthur. I enjoyed this Authors writing and am looking forward to his next book.I give Breach 5 stars for its original content and great story.I would recommend this book to everyone.
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  • Destiny (myhoneyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    3.7-4/5 RTC
  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    Penguin First-to-Read ARC.2.5 stars.I thought the book was an interesting concept, the way magic works was interesting as well. But the story just did not capture me. It bounced around a lot between characters so the flow was off and it sometimes got confusing. I found myself putting it down a lot and reading something else. I didn't feel like I knew any of the characters and therefore wasn't invested in them or their outcomes. I wanted to like it more and I think I will give book 2 a chance but Penguin First-to-Read ARC.2.5 stars.I thought the book was an interesting concept, the way magic works was interesting as well. But the story just did not capture me. It bounced around a lot between characters so the flow was off and it sometimes got confusing. I found myself putting it down a lot and reading something else. I didn't feel like I knew any of the characters and therefore wasn't invested in them or their outcomes. I wanted to like it more and I think I will give book 2 a chance but this book was just okay for me.
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  • Christopher
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. Really enjoyed the book, can't wait to see where the story goes.
  • Elly
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this book in a day. Cold War espionage, Berlin, a kickass woman as the heroine, and magic. It is surely a page turner. Anything further I write might be a spoiler.
  • Sherry
    January 1, 1970
    This fantasy novel is a terrific mix of Cold War intrigue and magic.In the alternate world of the book, Berlin is divided, not by a physical wall, but by a magical one, and the United States and Russia are engaged in a Cold War that involves the talents of magical practitioners, an area where Russia has the edge. Karen, an American magician, is sent to Berlin when the wall develops a breach with orders to try to fix it. Nobody wants the wall to fall, given the potential for war to erupt if it do This fantasy novel is a terrific mix of Cold War intrigue and magic.In the alternate world of the book, Berlin is divided, not by a physical wall, but by a magical one, and the United States and Russia are engaged in a Cold War that involves the talents of magical practitioners, an area where Russia has the edge. Karen, an American magician, is sent to Berlin when the wall develops a breach with orders to try to fix it. Nobody wants the wall to fall, given the potential for war to erupt if it does. That includes the Russians, who send their own operative, a man code named Nightingale, to do whatever is necessary to make sure the wall stands. What Karen finds is a city where no one can be trusted, even supposed allies, and a magical crisis that goes deeper than the failing wall. Because it turns out that the wall has a purpose that goes beyond separating the East and the West, and its fall could lead to a disaster for both sides.The story is told from a variety of viewpoints, but Karen is the lynchpin of the action. As both a magician and a consultant to the CIA, she's a woman in a man's world. I cheered every time she took on the sexist jerks that surround her, which of course happens a lot. And although she is frequently dismissed by them, Karen ultimately bests the men at their own game, doing more than they ever thought possible.I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because part of the fun of reading the novel is the twists and turns that it takes as agents of the different countries with a stake in Berlin attempt to come out on top in the search for a magical item that promises power to whoever holds it. But, just when you think it’s all over, that ending! Maybe I should have seen it coming, though.This book is the first in the series, and I’m hoping to see more of Karen and Jim, one of the CIA agents Karen works with, in future volumes. I’ll definitely be looking out for the next one.A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley for review; all opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through First to Read in exchange for an honest review.This book was fascinating. It was interesting to see a historical event told through the eye of magic. Watching different countries, with different priorities, work together to solve an issue that they didn't fully understand made for a very interesting story. The different points of views and the strong female lead made for a great read that showed the strengths, weaknesses, and desires of humans and how they can impact I received this book through First to Read in exchange for an honest review.This book was fascinating. It was interesting to see a historical event told through the eye of magic. Watching different countries, with different priorities, work together to solve an issue that they didn't fully understand made for a very interesting story. The different points of views and the strong female lead made for a great read that showed the strengths, weaknesses, and desires of humans and how they can impact many. This book was enjoyable and felt realistic enough to be believable but magical enough to make for a fun read.
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  • Tom
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting alternate history of the Berlin Wall with magic. My only complaint is the ending felt rushed, though it was left open so the author could continue if he wanted to write a sequel.
  • Mallory
    January 1, 1970
    I very much enjoyed this book. It took awhile to get into. I felt the beginning was a little slow but it was setting up how magic works in this universe. Once things started happening it really picked up.
  • Alysa H.
    January 1, 1970
    A fast-paced fantasy Cold War thriller! Is it a little heavy-handed with its villains among other things? Oh yes. But that's how these things tend to work best. Plus, the inventiveness of the magic system makes up for it.** I received an ARC of this book via Penguin's First to Read program **
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this read! The story is compelling and I liked how the characters develop over time. I really appreciate the writer's ability to explore the protagonist's impulses, reflections, choices. The people of this book were real and relatable and the fantasy elements seemed real, too. I didn't want the story to end and hope that there's more to come!
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  • Allen Adams
    January 1, 1970
    https://www.themaineedge.com/buzz/int...There’s probably no subgenre in all of speculative fiction that I enjoy more than alternate history. For whatever reason, the notions of experiencing familiar events filtered through an unfamiliar lens and seeing different ideas of how the world might move if there were subtle – or not-so-subtle – alterations are endlessly fascinating to me.That isn’t to say that every effort is a good one. There’s as much lazy, formulaic writing in alternate history as th https://www.themaineedge.com/buzz/int...There’s probably no subgenre in all of speculative fiction that I enjoy more than alternate history. For whatever reason, the notions of experiencing familiar events filtered through an unfamiliar lens and seeing different ideas of how the world might move if there were subtle – or not-so-subtle – alterations are endlessly fascinating to me.That isn’t to say that every effort is a good one. There’s as much lazy, formulaic writing in alternate history as there is anywhere else in the realm of genre fiction; it all comes down to keeping eyes and mind open and hoping the next one you grab is a good one.W. L. Goodwater’s “Breach” is a good one. The first in a proposed series, this alternate history takes a look at the Cold War in a world where magic is real, a tool that has been weaponized in the service of battle. It’s a time period that sometimes gets short shrift in alt-history circles, but Goodwater more than makes up for that with a taut tale that offers a rich sense of a world that, despite the presence of magic, is not that different than our own.In the aftermath of World War II, the city of Berlin was bisected by a wall. Soviet magicians executed some of the most complex spells ever cast by man, creating a massive barrier composed entirely of magic. It was viewed by many in the global community as an affront, but in the name of peace – however uneasy it might be – it was reluctantly treated as an acceptable price. For a decade, the battle was waged through traditional espionage rather than magecraft.But when a breach is discovered in the heretofore impenetrable wall, the CIA is left in an unenviable spot. If the wall is failing, that drastically alters everything about the situation in Berlin. With people on both sides engaged in a staring contest, the Americans need a magician of their own to assess what needs to be done before someone blinks.The Office of Magical Research and Deployment (OMRD) is America’s repository for magical knowledge. Karen is a researcher there, a gifted practitioner whose biggest fault is a tendency toward self-doubt. When she is chosen by OMRD head Dr. Haupt – a former German agent with a shadowy past – to head to Berlin for an unspecified job, she is surprised, but willing.However, it’s not until she arrives that Karen is told what her mission is and learns just how monumental a task lies before her. With little assistance available to her, she is asked to determine what is causing the breach and how it can be fixed. But as the breach starts to grow and others start to appear, the danger increases. And the more Karen digs, the more she starts to think that there’s a good deal more to all of this than meets the eye.She has no idea how right she is.With little more than her wits and a few erstwhile allies, it’s up to Karen to find the true secret of the wall before its collapse opens the door to another World War – one where magic might go from tactical weapon to existential threat. All this while her counterpart on the other side – a Russian colonel and magician known as the Nightingale – relentlessly pursues his own country’s agenda.As far as series introductions go, it’s tough to do much better than “Breach.” It’s a well-realized world – rich in detail while also allowing that detail to unroll organically; there’s not much in the way of the expository info dumps that often mar alternate history efforts. The reader is given a strong sense of this universe, in terms of differences and similarities alike. The groundwork is laid skillfully enough as to not feel like the laying of groundwork, a task whose difficulty is often significantly underestimated.So you’ve got a setting – what about a story? Goodwater does great work in coming up with a compelling narrative to go along with his engaging setting. There’s a spy thriller vibe throughout that is a lot of fun to experience, particularly when you add the fantasy elements. He captures not just magical excitement, but also the all-too-human aspects of spycraft; even the glimpses of the bureaucratic machine are surprisingly effective.All this, plus it leaves the door open without feeling unsatisfyingly open-ended – another difficult balance to strike.“Breach” is pure speculative adventure, a legitimately fun read. Magic and espionage make a fine match; add them to a Cold War setting and you’ve got something that leaves the reader eager for more. The worst part of the entire experience is the knowledge that you’ll have to wait for the next one.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    TL;DR Breach by W.L. Goodwater brings to the life the Cold War setting in this entertaining spy fantasy/thriller. The secrets of the Wall make for an excellent read. Highly recommended. Review The Berlin Wall is an interesting if short part of history. At the end of World War II, the allies split Germany into four parts. The Americans, British, and French remained allies, and their parts of Germany remained united. Russia, in the form of the Soviet Union, separated its occupied territory from t TL;DR Breach by W.L. Goodwater brings to the life the Cold War setting in this entertaining spy fantasy/thriller. The secrets of the Wall make for an excellent read. Highly recommended. Review The Berlin Wall is an interesting if short part of history. At the end of World War II, the allies split Germany into four parts. The Americans, British, and French remained allies, and their parts of Germany remained united. Russia, in the form of the Soviet Union, separated its occupied territory from the rest, becoming East Germany. The city of Berlin was also split into four parts with the Russians separating the Western sections from the rest of the city. The formerly free Germans didn’t take kindly to the Russian occupation. Soviet governance didn’t respect its citizens. Many defected to the West, and to stop this, the Soviet Union built a literal wall to keep their citizens, their citizens. This dark part of Germany’s history is thankfully over, but in W.L. Goodwater’s debut fantasy, readers get to revisit the Cold War and the Wall with a twist. In Breach the Berlin Wall is a magical construct, dividing East and West. At the start of the novel, there’s a small problem, though. The Wall has a hole in it, and it’s growing. Is the magic failing? Or is something more sinister happening? Story In Breach World War Two was fought similar to our timeline except with the addition of magic. The novel starts at the height of the Cold War at the Berlin Wall. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is running operations in the city, and their spies find a hole in the magical wall. At the Office of Magical Research and Development (OMRD), Karen O’Neil is just a researcher, seeking a spell that heals. At the end of the war, all uses of magic tend to be destructive. When Berlin station asks for help, the CIA turns to OMRD, and Karen gets assigned to research and report back. Once at the actual wall, she begins a journey that will take her across to the East, into the dark secrets at the end of World War 2, and to the bounds of humanity’s magical knowledge. Along the way, she’ll learn the history of the wall, one that the Allies want to keep buried. The uneasy peace between her nation and the Soviets rest on her decisions, and World War III hangs over all their heads as the Wall fails.Breach is an excellent debut. Its fast pace builds to an epic confrontation. Mr. Goodwater balances character development, tension, and plausibility really well. The setting conveys the post war hangover with violence always lurking close in the background. The city feels occupied and filled with terror. Karen and Jim stand out as characters, but the whole cast is excellent. Each comes across as fully realized people with agency and not just puppets on a stage. Readers get sufficient background on each yet end up wanting more. These characters catch the reader’s attention with their fascinating histories. While the story is tense and compelling, the characters carry the plot from start to finish. Magic Magic is an important part of the novel’s world, but it isn’t the beautiful, wondrous thing of, say, the Harry Potter books. In this world, magic tilts mainly towards the destructive, and because of the war, its uses have been primarily militaristic. Readers see everyday magic here and there, such as lighting a cigarette. But combat is the main use, even to the point of magicians having magical duels. Mr. Goodwater clearly gave thought to the use of magic. It’s not just a handwavium deus ex machina type magic. There’s a method and a cost to its use.On the scale of Brandon Sanderson’s fully developed system and Jim Butcher’s more nebulous system, this system leans towards the Butcher end. Maybe the author created a more systematic version, but it didn’t come across on the page. However, Mr. Goodwater balanced it out so that magic blends into the world instead of over-powering everything else. After all, why have guns if magic can kill? The cost to use it is paid with the user’s health and possibly sanity. The system is scary and seems more of a liability to humanity than a help. Having magic as a burden, a weapon, and not a helper is a refreshing choice that makes the setting even bleaker. If there are sequels or other novels in this universe, how magic usage evolves in a post-war scenario will be incredibly interesting. Karen The main character is the reason the novel succeeds. Rooting for her success drives the novel. For some parts, her successes came a little too easily. To be clear, she is not a Mary Sue character. Karen is fully rounded; she makes bad decisions and has her weaknesses exploited. For a researcher, she adapts quickly to the role of operative. There’s an in-world reason why this could be true. Magic itself could be working through her. While magic in the book may not be exactly sentient, it has its own drives and needs. A sequel exploring the effects of this book would be intense. How does her relationship to magic change with what she went through? How does she – if at all – deal with the horrors she just experienced? Conclusion W.L. Goodwater’s Breach is an excellent, entertaining debut. Spies and magic vie to maintain peace set against the background of the Cold War. Balancing pace, character development, plot points, and information reveals, Breach delivers a hell of a read. This spy thriller crossed with a fantasy novel brings to life the tensions surrounding the Berlin Wall. It even features the fear of Soviet brainwashing. W.L. Goodwater is an author to watch. Excellent, entertaining debut. Highly recommended.
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  • Yzabel Ginsberg
    January 1, 1970
    [I received a copy of this book through the First to Read program, in exchange for an honest review.]Set in an alternate 1950s Berlin, “Breach” presents a different version of the Cold War: one where the bomb did help the Allies to win World War II, but against an enemy that had both an army and magic. The Berlin Wall, therefore, is not here merely a material wall: it is also made of magic, cast by a mix of Soviet magicians at the end of the war. And now the Wall is falling, and it’s up to both [I received a copy of this book through the First to Read program, in exchange for an honest review.]Set in an alternate 1950s Berlin, “Breach” presents a different version of the Cold War: one where the bomb did help the Allies to win World War II, but against an enemy that had both an army and magic. The Berlin Wall, therefore, is not here merely a material wall: it is also made of magic, cast by a mix of Soviet magicians at the end of the war. And now the Wall is falling, and it’s up to both the CIA and their counterparts in the East to figure out what’s happening, how to rebuild it, and how to prevent a new war. From the USA, young magician Karen O’Neill is sent to help investigate; of course, as she discovers, things aren’t so straightforward; the men in Berlin have just as much trouble to adjust to the idea of a woman doing something else than having a husband and children; and there’s no way of telling who’s a liar, who’s not, and who’s mixing both so well that finding out the truth becomes the most difficult task ever.The novel has its rough edges and, at times, awkward sentences and point of view switches. Some characters are clearly on the cliché side (like George, the manly-male magician who can’t get over seeing Karen sent to Germany rather than him, or Kirill, who apparently just likes to be cruel and doesn’t do anything else in life?), and not as developed as they could’ve been. And Karen’s way of facing her male peers usually amounts to giving in to the same attitudes as theirs, which makes her look perhaps too much on the defensive, which in turn diminishes her stronger side.However, in terms of the world presented here and of the story itself, this story was a fairly enthralling read. It had, all in all, what I was looking for when I requested it. Spies and a Cold War backdrop. Magic that from the beginning offers a glimpse of its darker side (Karen and her colleague are desperately trying to find a way to use magic to heal people, because otherwise, magic seems pretty much suited for destruction and killing first and foremost). A female character, too, who has her flaws but refuses to give up and wants to get to the bottom of things. Secrets from the War, resurfacing. Extraction operations and forays into more the enemy side of Berlin. While at first, the magic itself doesn’t look terribly impressing (old, musty spells in Latin, etc.), there comes a moment when more about it is unveiled, and it hints at something definitely worth keeping in check. At all costs. (Not going to spoil, so let’s just say it dealt with a kind of effect that typically fascinates me.)Unexpectedly, or maybe not, I found myself rooting for Erwin more than for the other characters. He has his own very dark past, but is also honestly redeeming himself, and not by hiding behind other characters—he gets his own hands dirty just as well.Even though the pacing in the first half was slower, discovering this alternate world was enough to keep my attention here. The second half is more dynamic, although I’m torn about some of it (the finale being both awesome and “too much”, and I really can’t tell where I stand about it). The very ending, in hindsight, wasn’t unexpected; this said, it still got me, so cheers to that.Conclusion: 3.5 stars. This novel has its faults, but also enough good points to make me interested in picking up the sequel later.
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  • Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.One cannot mention the Cold War without mentioning the Berlin Wall, the two are mutually inclusive. In Breach, Goodwater’s alternate Cold War Era, The Berlin Wall separates East and West Berlin as well; except the wall is made up entirely of magic. The strongest magic anyone has ever seen and is said to be unbreakable and impenetrable. Until a soldier discovers a breach. Fantasy war novels are usually a hit o Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.One cannot mention the Cold War without mentioning the Berlin Wall, the two are mutually inclusive. In Breach, Goodwater’s alternate Cold War Era, The Berlin Wall separates East and West Berlin as well; except the wall is made up entirely of magic. The strongest magic anyone has ever seen and is said to be unbreakable and impenetrable. Until a soldier discovers a breach. Fantasy war novels are usually a hit or miss. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about the Cold War except what was taught in junior high and that was a long, long time ago. However, Goodwater does an excellent job using the history of what is known and added his own embellishments for an intricate magic realism espionage mystery. Breach is narrated by different characters from a young magician with rose-colored glasses, an American operative based in Berlin to a boogieman of legends told to frighten and keep people in line known as The Nightingale. One of the main narrator is Karen, a young magician called in to help evaluate the wall from the US Magic Research and Deployment office. I was immediately immersed in her voice. Unlike many people around her who feared and still saw magic as destructive, Karen believed magic can be used for good. Karen was a very realistic heroine (well the only heroine in the entire novel aside from a brief mention of a prostitute) who is perfectly flawed. She had moments of triumphs and mistakes and faced oppositions and hostility from the majority of her male colleagues and strangers on a daily basis. And despite it all, she never dwelt on the matter too long, rather she focused on doing everything she could to help the people affected by the wall. All of Karen’s actions and reactions throughout the novel felt very real, considering magic is involved. And speaking of magic, the magic system in Breach wasn’t as fleshed out as I hoped. It was never clearly defined but it’s wasn’t overly complex either making it easy for readers to understand. The magic consisted of verbal incantations and occasionally a locus, a source of the magician’s power (something that held personal meaning). At the core, Breach is a mystery. There’s a spattering of action scenes here and there but what stands out are the characters and their interaction with one another. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the Berlin Wall and following Karen and the team as they uncover the truth for the wall’s creation. My favorite scene was when their lead led them to an impromptu rescue mission of a high ranking Nazi magician, who turned out to be one of the most interesting character in the entire novel. I highly recommend Breach, it was a solid debut novel and in my opinion, a great Cold War Fantasy introduction.
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  • Christine (Purplemanatees)
    January 1, 1970
    purplemanatees.orgpurplemanatees.orgTitle: BreachAuthor: W. L. GoodwaterPages: 357Genre: Fantasy, Historical FictionRating: 4 out of 5 stars*This is an Advanced Readers Copy so parts of this book can be changed before publishing with the quote at the end being included (there is still a whole page in italics lol).A woman protagonist living in a world of misogyny and magic prejudice. This novel follows Karen, a magician working for the government who is sent to help a crisis on the other side of purplemanatees.orgpurplemanatees.orgTitle: BreachAuthor: W. L. GoodwaterPages: 357Genre: Fantasy, Historical FictionRating: 4 out of 5 stars*This is an Advanced Readers Copy so parts of this book can be changed before publishing with the quote at the end being included (there is still a whole page in italics lol).A woman protagonist living in a world of misogyny and magic prejudice. This novel follows Karen, a magician working for the government who is sent to help a crisis on the other side of the world. With World War II having just ended, Karen is being sent to West Berlin without a clue of how many countries are on the brink of another war. She was expecting to help the government but what she finds will end up a lot bigger than just herself.This tale of history and magic is a great read for all ages. I loved the strength found in the protagonist and how relateable it could be for women who have to fight to prove themselves. Breach is a great take on the Berlin Wall and the magical secrets that lie beneath.Oh No'sThe constant point of view switching to not only unknown but uninteresting characters was quite annoying. There was so much description at the beginning of each of these chapters that I was simply not interested in reading about these people and just wanted to rush back into Karen's story.The war politics. I was glad that I was actually watching the movie Pearl Harbor while reading this because I would have been twice as confused. I'm not the greatest history buff but the amount of countries that came together was so overwhelming. I do love that it is true to the times so any history lovers will love this tale of history and magic.Yay'sMagic actually being used by the government and the prejudice that came about after the war. This was such an amazing angle that I have never read before. I have seen a few anime but none have given it the justice that this book did. If you have even the slightest interest in magic and the mechanics behind it, this book is right up your alley.Karen is such a strong female up against the world. Her witty come backs were always so fiercely charged that it gave me the fight to believe. It just hurt me that no matter how much Karen proved herself, there was always someone around the corner underestimating her. She fights in this book with so much power and focus that it is definitely an inspiration.This is a great book with the theme of history and magic woven together to bring us a new view of the Cold War. I loved the idea of there being a breach in the wall and a great mystery behind it that we all must find out along with the main character. I'm always enjoying these rides that authors take us for and this one is no different. I definitely recommend grabbing this book if you see it on the shelf for it will definitely entertain you.
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  • Ross Armstrong
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really fun read. Imagine an alternate universe in which the Cold War is partially being fought with magic. This is a Cold War thriller in which the Berlin Wall is a magical construct. The setting is ten years after the end of WW II, in which Germany nearly won due to the use of magic, England had fallen and the United States and USSR finally won, the Soviets using magic and the Americans dropping the bomb as they distrusted the use of magic. The Soviets have constructed a magical bar This was a really fun read. Imagine an alternate universe in which the Cold War is partially being fought with magic. This is a Cold War thriller in which the Berlin Wall is a magical construct. The setting is ten years after the end of WW II, in which Germany nearly won due to the use of magic, England had fallen and the United States and USSR finally won, the Soviets using magic and the Americans dropping the bomb as they distrusted the use of magic. The Soviets have constructed a magical barrier and a breach has been detected in it. The Wall was supposed to stand forever. Enter our heroine, Karen O'Neill, a magician with the Office Of Magical Research and Deployment who is sent to West Berlin to investigate the breach and to see if it can be repaired. Karen is an interesting character as she is a woman fighting for her place in a man's world but still is chosen by her mentor, the head of the Office, Dr. Haupt, a German magician who worked on the spells to construct the Wall, but now is with the Americans. In Berlin, she must contend with the CIA director and assistant director, who both mistrust her because she is a magician and a woman. Unbeknownst to the CIA, a top Soviet magician, known as the Nightingale, has arrived in East Berlin to also investigate the breach. When Karen is contacted by an East German scientist who wants to defect, she comes into conflict with the Nightingale and soon discovers that the Wall hides an even greater and darker secret. This is a well written tale and the first of a new series. My one minor quibble is that the author obviously doesn't know Berlin very well, as there is very little descriptions of streets and locations. But nevertheless, it is still a recommended read.
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  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsBreach, first in a new series, Cold War Magic, is an alternate history in which magic was used to create the Berlin Wall at the end of the Second World War. Karen O'Neil is a young magician at the Office of Magical Research and Deployment, doing research on beneficial uses of magic. She is called to Berlin by the State Department and CIA because of a breach in the Berlin Wall. Over a short period of time, and a series of betrayals, Karen begins to see that there is no good side to be wo 3.5 StarsBreach, first in a new series, Cold War Magic, is an alternate history in which magic was used to create the Berlin Wall at the end of the Second World War. Karen O'Neil is a young magician at the Office of Magical Research and Deployment, doing research on beneficial uses of magic. She is called to Berlin by the State Department and CIA because of a breach in the Berlin Wall. Over a short period of time, and a series of betrayals, Karen begins to see that there is no good side to be working for. From her boss Dr. Haupt, to Mr. Ehle, an East German agent who claims he wants to help save the wall. Karen faces sexism, treachery as she embarks on search for a mysterious book in terrible former wartime camp called Auttenberg, where prisoners were victims of magical experimentation in Nazi Germany.This book has an interesting premise but the last part left me frustrated with the Mary Sue-like quality of Karen's character by the end of the novel. Also, although the sexism of the era is to be expected if the alternate history remains true to the culture of WWII times, I felt like a lot of Karen's snappish answers to superiors and peers were unrealistic, and even lacking in skill. I can't resist comparisons to Tanya Morozova from The Witch Who Came in from the Cold, who benefitted from the influence of Max Gladstone's writing. I'll probably still pick up the next in the Cold War Magic series but I hope that Goodwater's writing of Karen will grow with the story.I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from the First to Read program in exchange for an honest review
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