Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree | Book Review
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For years Viv wandered the road, taking bounties and quests alongside her companions. But after a while, the orc barbarian wanted a change. Instead of bashing heads for a living, she wanted to settle down and start a new life. One that brought joy to herself and others. Viv sets her sights on the city of Thurne. There she would begin a new adventure, building the first-ever coffee shop in the city. But setting up shop isn’t as easy as it seems. Especially when life on the road leaves you with a sometimes undesirable past.
How could I possibly pass up reading a fantasy book about starting a café? I was also intrigued to see if such a theme could hold my attention and entertain me. Travis Baldree did an amazing job putting together this novel. It may be a book with low stakes and small moments of tension, but the characterization and story are just as compelling.
The relationships in this book foster understanding and acceptance. Being an orc Viv has faced the scrutiny that goes along with it. Due to her experience, she is less judgmental than most. This perspective paves the way for Viv to hire on metahumans others would look down on. And it’s the best decision she could make as she forms friendships and a comradery that helps the shop thrive. Together her companions create a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere in the coffee shop.
However, Viv does have some mountains to climb to keep her shop afloat. Not only does she have to entice people in with a new beverage no one has heard of, but she also has to navigate the local gang. The pressures of starting a new business in town were turned delightfully entertaining by adding humor and a bit of misdirection. While Viv does encounter rough patches, there isn't a central focus on the unsavory bits of her adventure. The tone remains light-hearted and makes the villains, while not overtly dark, still worthy foes.
And once the café is up and running, be prepared to crave a sweet pastry and cup of coffee as you read. The descriptions used for the food and coffee are mouth-watering. I loved reading about the characters' experiences with each new delicacy. Witnessing the apparent confusion over the newness of it all to the genuine enjoyment of each treat was heartwarming.
Legends and Lattes is a feel-good book. The tone is light and set towards Viv beginning life anew. And while she may want to fall back on her warrior ways at times, she fights against her road instincts. Forced to rethink the situations she’s put in causes some slight mishaps in the adventure that make it all the more entertaining. This was such an enjoyable read!
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