It’s no secret I like coffee, and it’s no secret I’m a fan of stories about regular people in fantastic worlds. A book doesn’t have to be about the fate of the world in order to be exciting or interesting. As long as the author makes me care about the characters in the story, what’s important to them becomes important to me – like here.
This is proper, wholesome, feel-good fantasy, and I can’t recall a single book I’ve read where I’m closer to being the ideal target audience. It’s like it’s written for me.
Legends & Lattes is about Viv, a former orc mercenary who’s just retired from adventuring and opened up a coffee shop. It’s about how she gets the shop up and running, about her relations to her staff and regular customers, and about the dastardly thief trying to steal her lucky stone that may or may not be responsible for the unexpected success of her little coffee shop.
Good things happen. Friends are kind and supportive. The young ratling baker invents new and amazing pastries on a near weekly basis, and there’s a hint of romance in the air.
Everyone loves coffee.
Sure, there are a few bad guys as well, and not everything is sunshine and birdsong, but things work out and everyone gets what they deserve in the end.
What I’ll whine about
This book is a standalone, and it should be a standalone, because the story is just as long as it needs to be. There’s no need for a sequel, but I want one anyway, and there isn’t one.
Woe is me…
What I’ll gush about
The idea. I absolutely love that someone not just had the idea of an orc mercenary giving up her old life to open a coffee shop, but actually went through with it and wrote the book. It’s amazing. I want more books like this, where I can experience life in a fantasy world through the eyes of someone who isn’t a chosen hero on a quest to defeat the dark lord of evil grimness and unspeakable darkocity.
The craft. Both writing and storytelling are top notch. The words never get in the way of the story, and I can’t recall ever breaking immersion while reading (I finished the entire thing in one sitting, staying up until 4am this morning). Similarly, the pace never sags. Even when seemingly nothing is happening, it doesn’t feel slow.
The Feel-good. Very often, when a book’s protagonist succeeds with whatever they attempt, the story ends up feeling contrived and unbelievable, but that’s not the case here. It’s a fine balance, and the author toes the line a few times, but never really steps over it. Viv has luck on her side, but even then, there’s enough for her to worry about to make things interesting still.
An ex-mercenary orc who opens a coffee shop. What’s not to love?