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(Cold War Magic #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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:


While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from Ea
Published November 2018 by Ace
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
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
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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 ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: publisher, reviewed
"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,
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

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
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
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
A Magical Wall

There’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
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Brenda Ayala
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-con-2018
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
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
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!
Linda Romer
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviews
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.
Destiny | myhoneyreads
3.7-4/5 RTC
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
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physically-owned
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.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 **
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Allen Adams

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
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reviews

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.


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
Christine (Purplemanatees)
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it

Title: Breach
Author: W. L. Goodwater
Pages: 357
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Rating: 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
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Breach, 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
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
Anita Boeira
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
“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
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Holly Barker
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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