I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
The Witch Who Came in from the Cold is a collection of short stories, which I believe may have previously been serialised. It is an interesting mix of cold war politics and spy shenanigans with an urban fantasy twist, where each side employ witches, and other less-traditional tools alongside their spies.
I’m not going to lie, this book leaped out at me when I saw it. I’m a huge fan of good old-fashioned spy thrillers, as well as fantasy novels, and the idea of the two mashed together seemed perfect.
The authors mostly did a reasonable job of maintaining consistency between the different episodes, although I found the whole experience somewhat herky jerky in trying to read it start to finish, rather than a serial format. They dealt with the spy elements well, and the urban fantasy elements well, however where the two concepts crossed over, my eyes started to glaze over a bit.
I didn’t really follow most of what was going on between the two warring factions in the world of the witches – the two sides were Ice and Flame. While there was one level of operations and story going on between the Communists and the Americans, there was an almost entirely different, or at least, not totally aligned story going on between the witches.
There are a lot of traditional fantasy tropes thrown in, and exciting action scenes which keep the plot moving, and the characters are well fleshed out, and develop throughout the stories. As a sort of omnibus, however, it does wind up being quite a long read, and for that reason I think I would have preferred the original format.
I’m interested enough to see where they are going in the next season, or collection.
I recommend for fans of Urban Fantasy looking for something different, or for people who also enjoy spy novels.