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A Long, Cold Winter by Serial Box eARC {4.5 Stars}

A Long, Cold Winter is the first episode in The Witch Who Came in From the Cold, a new serial from Serial Box written by Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Ian Tregillis, and Cassandra Rose Clarke. This is a first for me, since I’ve never read a serial story before, but I’m loving it! The idea is that each installment can be read in about 40 minutes and can be enjoyed individually. I also haven’t read much Cold War espionage fantasy, but I clearly need to fix that going forward because I love this.

Note: I received an advanced copy of A Long, Cold Winter from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

A Long, Cold Winter by Serial Box eARC {4.5 Stars}

The Long, Cold Winter by Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis, Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Michael Swanwick (The Witch Who Came in From the Cold #1)
Published by Serial Box on Jan. 27th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy
How I got my copy: Publisher
Purchases made support this blog

Through a haze of cigarettes and vodka there lies a version of Prague in the heart of the Cold War, where spies practice sorcery in their games of intrigue. While the political lines may be as clear as the Iron Curtain, the battles of magic seldom stay clean and the combating forces of Ice and Flame dance across boarders and loyalties. 

Tanya Morozova is a KGB officer and the latest in a long line of Ice witches and sorcerers; Gabe Pritchard is a CIA officer and reluctant Ice recruit. Enemies at one turn, but forced into alliances at the next, their relationship is as explosive as the Cold War itself.

4.5 Stars


  • I was nervous about how much magic would feature in a Cold War espionage plot, but there was no reason for me to worry! There are two sides to the magic war that is raging in secret alongside the Cold War and it involves fire, ice, and golems :D.
  • Like any pilot episode, this first installment does a great job of introducing the main characters and the central conflict without simply reciting a synopsis. I knew as soon as I finished that this is going to be a serial I need to read and I can easily tell you exactly what it is about.
  • Like I said above, I haven’t read really anything in a Cold War setting since I don’t think I’ve encountered a fantasy set in the Cold War. I’m really excited about this fresh idea since I get to explore a new setting along with cool magic.
  • Despite the short length, when I finished this pilot I was satisfied with the story I read and found the plot to be paced quite well. There is obviously a lot of action to hook the reader, making for a fast-paced adventure while we discover what is actually going on.


  • One place where such short length does have trouble is with character introductions and development. I had a hard time keeping track of all the main and secondary characters that are introduced quickly in the pilot. This is also because I’m not very familiar with Russian names, making it difficult for me to remember some of them :(. I’m sure this will get easier with later installments though!


A Long, Cold Winter is a great introduction to serial stories if you’ve never tried them and a very cool start to a Cold War espionage fantasy. I can’t wait to read the next episode and I’m pretty intrigued about this whole serially published thing now that I’ve tried it. To purchase, go to the Serial Box page.

And check out the book trailer here!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 A Long, Cold Winter by Serial Box

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I’ve never read a serial story I think. That sounds really great though! I can’t think of a book I’ve read in a Cold War setting, so that’s really intriguing too. Great review!
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  2. Haha! I agree with you on the russian names thing. I don’t know what it is about russian names but I always get my characters mixed up :/ Such was the case for Anna Karenina and other Tolstoys I’ve ever read.

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