Breach
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 Details

TitleBreach
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Magic, Science Fiction, Alternate History, Adult, Urban Fantasy

Breach 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 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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  • 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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  • Brenda Ayala
    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book through Penguin's First to Read program.Cold War Fantasy seems to be on trend lately. The most recent Big Library Read centered around it as does this book. The premise: The Berlin Wall is magic in origin. And there's a hole. Young American magician Karen is sent to help find a solution and finds herself in over her head. An enjoyable story with a wonderfully strong female protagonist. The author does not shy away from having Karen deal with sexism in the workplace, especially g I read this book through Penguin's First to Read program.Cold War Fantasy seems to be on trend lately. The most recent Big Library Read centered around it as does this book. The premise: The Berlin Wall is magic in origin. And there's a hole. Young American magician Karen is sent to help find a solution and finds herself in over her head. An enjoyable story with a wonderfully strong female protagonist. The author does not shy away from having Karen deal with sexism in the workplace, especially given the Cold War time frame, which would have been far more rampant than currently. And not only does she face it, she stands up to it. I came into this book with a few prejudices about the author. I just assumed it had to be a woman given the addressing and condemning of sexism and the creation of such a non-stereotyped protagonist. I was very pleasantly surprised to find the author a man. Thank you for spending my assumptions! I love that the men of Fantasy are so often not afraid of self-possessed women. All this only added to my enjoyment of the book. Aside from that the mystery and atmosphere is this book are entrancing and comes to a satisfying cliff-hanging conclusion. Would definitely read again.
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  • Anita Boeira
    January 1, 1970
    “Arthur didn’t like to admit it, but he didn’t have a clue what the help was going on.”This was interesting. I’m giving it a 3/5 stars for now, to give me a neutral place to start off with. I love this mesh of magic and history, and this new world building that is equal parts fantastic and real. I think there’s potential for a great series and something I’d be interested in. I picked up a discovery of witches hoping for something a bit more like this, and was disappointed about how long Diana (f “Arthur didn’t like to admit it, but he didn’t have a clue what the help was going on.”This was interesting. I’m giving it a 3/5 stars for now, to give me a neutral place to start off with. I love this mesh of magic and history, and this new world building that is equal parts fantastic and real. I think there’s potential for a great series and something I’d be interested in. I picked up a discovery of witches hoping for something a bit more like this, and was disappointed about how long Diana (from a discovery of witches, not breach) took to get to get magic. But Karen is almost there when we pick up this book, and grows as the book progresses. This book has a few issues, and the point of view switches where it takes a few paragraphs to figure out whose POV is was a little annoying, but nothing that detracted from the overall story. The cover was awesome though! 5/5 stars for the designer. I loved the map and the way the cut happens through the map and the type. Super coherent review provided by too much anti-histamine.
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  • LadyTechie
    January 1, 1970
    This was a phenomenal, engaging, original, action-packed, and I cannot come up with more adjectives at this moment but, I am sure there are more. I loved it and I cannot wait for the next book. I have read one other series where a book has a mind of its own, but, this story had its own niche and manages to find a way to tell an original story. The characters are very engaging and thanks to magic you cannot always tell the good "guys" from the bad "guys" and there is really not much of a way to g This was a phenomenal, engaging, original, action-packed, and I cannot come up with more adjectives at this moment but, I am sure there are more. I loved it and I cannot wait for the next book. I have read one other series where a book has a mind of its own, but, this story had its own niche and manages to find a way to tell an original story. The characters are very engaging and thanks to magic you cannot always tell the good "guys" from the bad "guys" and there is really not much of a way to guess where the story might go next. I can say that I am so excited that it is a series and I cannot wait for the next book in this series. I was not quite sure where the book was in history other than sometime after WWII which is an era I love to read about, especially with an alternate ending or an embellished ending to the war. I am going to guess it is quite close to when the war ends based upon how the other magicians responded to having a woman working with them. Next please!
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  • Holly Barker
    January 1, 1970
    Karen is a magician in post WWII USA and is sent to Germany to investigate a breach in the Berlin Wall. In this reality, the wall is made of magic. As Karen starts working with the CIA to try to determine the cause of the growing breach, she encounters the non-magical variety of secrets and lies and has to figure out if there is anyone she can trust. This book is reported to be part of a new series.I really liked this book. I found it interesting, engaging, and with a well-written female main ch Karen is a magician in post WWII USA and is sent to Germany to investigate a breach in the Berlin Wall. In this reality, the wall is made of magic. As Karen starts working with the CIA to try to determine the cause of the growing breach, she encounters the non-magical variety of secrets and lies and has to figure out if there is anyone she can trust. This book is reported to be part of a new series.I really liked this book. I found it interesting, engaging, and with a well-written female main character by a male author, which is not common enough. The tension of post-WWII Berlin is maintained while the magic is woven through the story in a way that really works. I liked many of the peripheral characters, though I would have liked to have seen a few more female characters. I will definitely be continuing on with this series.I received an early copy of this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    The Berlin Wall during the Cold War combined with a magical twist made for an interesting read. Spies and magicians seem to appear from everywhere. And yet none have the ability to stop what is coming. Karen doesn't even begin to realize the magic she has inside. Her magical research is just the tip of the iceberg to the magician she becomes. This is not my normal type of novel I usually read but was intrigued by the thought of the Berlin Wall being magic. The first few chapters seemed a bit fla The Berlin Wall during the Cold War combined with a magical twist made for an interesting read. Spies and magicians seem to appear from everywhere. And yet none have the ability to stop what is coming. Karen doesn't even begin to realize the magic she has inside. Her magical research is just the tip of the iceberg to the magician she becomes. This is not my normal type of novel I usually read but was intrigued by the thought of the Berlin Wall being magic. The first few chapters seemed a bit flat but once the stage was set, I found this to be a very good read. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I received an advance copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free advance copy of this book at San Diego Comic-Con.I love a good magical alternate history. Cold War era isn't always my thing but this one sounded intriguing. I'm glad I picked it up. It was compelling (it only took so long to finish because I stopped in the middle to read several other things and then forgot where I'd left the book) and never failed to hold my interest.I would have liked to have a better understanding of how the magic system of this world worked but the mystery I received a free advance copy of this book at San Diego Comic-Con.I love a good magical alternate history. Cold War era isn't always my thing but this one sounded intriguing. I'm glad I picked it up. It was compelling (it only took so long to finish because I stopped in the middle to read several other things and then forgot where I'd left the book) and never failed to hold my interest.I would have liked to have a better understanding of how the magic system of this world worked but the mystery of it makes sense in context since the characters don't fully understand it and some of the characters could have been a bit more fleshed out but overall it was very good.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fun and unique magic story that involves the Berlin Wall and Cold War. I really enjoyed the spin on magic, the way magic works in this world is slightly different than typical which adds to the uniqueness of this story. The history and politics of the time also add a nice spin to the magic storyline. I do think the ending was really rushed, it seems once the characters reach a certain destination things start to go really fast and I felt myself not appreciating what was going on and ev This is a fun and unique magic story that involves the Berlin Wall and Cold War. I really enjoyed the spin on magic, the way magic works in this world is slightly different than typical which adds to the uniqueness of this story. The history and politics of the time also add a nice spin to the magic storyline. I do think the ending was really rushed, it seems once the characters reach a certain destination things start to go really fast and I felt myself not appreciating what was going on and even rereading a few passages to make sure I got it all. Overall, this was a good read that I recommend to anyone who likes magic, or even a little historical fiction.
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  • Sarai Henderson
    January 1, 1970
    See the full review at Confessions of an ExBallerinaA fantastic blend of history and magic. If you are looking for something new and fresh, look no further. This book throws you into a world full of magic. An incredible world where mystery and intrigue intertwine with our main character line. Its incredible really. The historical elements are spot on. Its an alternate timeline that feels like real life. Well done. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
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