Spotlight: Serial Box Publishing & Review of Bookburners Episode 1

Are you a fan of the serialized novel format? Well, now you have something to look forward to. Enter Serial Box, a new publisher specializing in bringing stories released in episodes, a new one every week just like a TV show.

serial-boxI first heard of Serial Box earlier this summer as I was browsing the internet and came across a project called Bookburners, which will be a 16 episode story brought to you by an all-star team of authors including Margaret Dunlap, Max Gladstone, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery. As a big fan of Gladstone, my interest was immediately piqued, and even though I have not yet read the other authors yet, I’m  looking forward to discovering their work.

The idea and business model behind Serial Box also intrigued me. This serialized format has already shown much promise, with titles like John Scalzi’s The Human Division and The End of All Things as well as K. J. Parker’s The Two of Swords immediately coming to mind. My problem with serials is that I’m usually awful when it comes to remembering to buy and download new episodes, and I’m one of those people who can’t live without their DVR because I keep forgetting to tune in to the right channel at the right time each week even when it comes to TV shows. However, Serial Box is making things easier with different subscription options and availability at most major online retailers and app stores so I’ll have to try some of them out to see how it goes. Ultimately, having the episodes released in audio at the same time will probably be the biggest plus for me, appealing to my inner multi-tasker who loves this most convenient way for me to listen to new episodes.


Bookburners officially launched on September 16th with their second episode, but the “pilot” titled “Badge, Book, and Candle” by Max Gladstone has actually been up a little more than a month now, available for free here in all formats, and I had the pleasure of checking it out.

“Some books have teeth.

Magic is real, and hungry—trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. Abruptly thrust into the battle between nefarious forces trying to unleash this power onto the world and those trying to stop them, she joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad: Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum. Together they stand between humanity and magical apocalypse. Some call them Bookburners. They don’t like the label.”

Bookburners Badge Book and CandleI’ve always had a thing for books about books, but as you can probably tell from its description, Bookburners is something very different. Throw in a lady cop, her wayward brother, and a group of demon hunters led by a priest, and the stage is set for an urban paranormal mystery that will make you see dangerous reading in a whole new light.

In truth, it’s hard to tell just from the opening episode how I’ll like the rest of the story, but I will say Badge, Book, and Candle shows a lot of promise. Max Gladstone doesn’t disappoint either, with his usual sharp writing that immediately pulls you in and makes you connect with the characters. NYPD Detective Sal Brooks is likable, and her relationship with her brother is a reminder that while siblings can sometimes drive you nuts, family is still family. I actually found the most intriguing character to be Father Arturo Menchú, from our very brief time with the team. It will be interesting to see how the other authors do with the story later on, because while this introduction was enjoyable, I have a feeling the next episode is where the real action will start.

I’m definitely excited and on board for more. Naturally, I seized the opportunity to listen to the audio of the first episode and had a pretty good experience with it, but I’m new to ebook subscriptions so I’m still deciding whether or not I’ll consume an episode each week, group them into bigger parts to do at once, or binge on the whole thing at the end. Probably a bit of everything, in ebook and in audio! The key is options, which Serial Box seems happy to provide along with their vision to reinvent the art of serial storytelling.

So if this sounds like something that would interest you, head on over to Serial Box’s website to learn more. There’s also an awesome trailer for their company and projects that I want to share here. I don’t know about you, but their upcoming serial Tremontaine looks pretty damn amazing!

10 Comments on “Spotlight: Serial Box Publishing & Review of Bookburners Episode 1”

  1. I like the idea of serial novels, but usually they wind up really expensive, because you have to pay for each part. I’ll have to check out this service. I think I’ll wait until the whole thing is out and then binge!


    • Very true, when you add it all up the price they set usually ends up being around the price of a finished hardcover, though with deals on books at retail outlets all around the country, that’s still considered on the high side.


  2. I like the idea of serialized novels, and how each of these “episodes” are the same length as a tv show. I was planning on reading along with this, but between online magazine short story, and the Time Traveler’s Almanac read, I really don’t have time to add another short story every week into the mix without taking away too much time form my novels :/


  3. Cool video, I somehow missed it, I love the teaser for Tremontaine! I agree, I think it’s not only going to be hard to review each episode separately, but hard to get an audience to read the reviews if they haven’t started the series.


    • The teaser for Tremontaine looks absolutely delish, love the costumes and the time period that clip is suggesting. And true, I don’t plan on reviewing each episode separately, that would be hard on me and readers, I think. If I do another review from Bookburners it would be after I finish the whole thing.


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