Breach

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 Ea...

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Title:Breach
Author:W.L. Goodwater
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Edition Language:English

Breach Reviews

  • Dianne

    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

    . 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

    . 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 1

    Publisher: Ace (November 6, 2018)

    Publication Date: November 6, 2018

    Genre: Historical Fantasy | Alternate History

    Print Length: 368 pages

    Available from:

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  • Steven

    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.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    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

    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:

  • Berit☀️✨

    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 ***

  • Mackenzie - PhDiva Books

    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!

  • 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

    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 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.

  • Faith

    "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

    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.

  • Dave

    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

    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 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.

  • Tammy

    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.

    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

    , I thought it was science fiction. Maybe that’s why I feel like I got off on the wrong foot with this book.

    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.

    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

    , I thought it was science fiction. Maybe that’s why I feel like I got off on the wrong foot with this book.

    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

    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.

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