I read this book while I was sick with covid and I honestly think this novel has curative powers. I read the entire thing in one sitting and once I was done I wanted to lie down and bask in it for the rest of my life. I hope that this novel and its well-deserved hype prompts a whole genre of cozy, low-stakes fantasy because this is everything I didn’t know I was looking for.
About the book:
Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen.
However, her dreams of a fresh start pulling shots instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners and a different kind of resolve.
What did I think?
No matter how many reviews of this book you read, it will not be what you expected. I’ve never read anything like this, and all I want is to read so much more in this genre. LEGENDS & LATTES is a cozy, slice-of-life fantasy. It’s got the energy of a D&D session, but the kind where you’re playing with a loving group of queers instead of combat-heavy players. Since reading this book, I’ve been thinking constantly about this quote:
“Things don’t have to stay as what they started out as.”Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree
The more I think about it, the more I think I love this book for a lot of the reasons that I love A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT. I do love a big epic fantasy or a sprawling space opera, but there’s something about these low stakes slice-of-life stories that make me feel whole. The premise of LEGENDS & LATTES is that Viv has always been an adventurer but she wants a quiet life. Her quest now? Build her coffee shop and try and change everything about her life. She meets a small group of people who join her; a baker, a carpenter and a barista-to-be. I fell completely in love with this found family. I repeatedly teared up just because I felt so good and emotional about Viv’s journey of self-discovery and change. By the time I was halfway through, I ordered the audiobook so that I could a) force my fiance to read this book and b) listen to this over and over again as a comfort read.
The setting feels very familiar without requiring too much world-building. If you imagine a fantasy style village with taverns – that’s it. You’ve got it. This worked really well because it fit the slice-of-life style. I didn’t need stacks of descriptions and explanations to understand what I was looking at, which let me focus on the characters. That’s a good thing because the characters in this book are perfect. Thimble is my favourite by far but there wasn’t a character in this book that wasn’t excellently written. Our main cast (I’d call them a party, but that’s far too war-like for these soft babies) are loyal and loving, all outcasts in their own ways and finding a home together. The way that their relationships developed felt so real and natural that I feel like I could read about their day to day lives forever.
Honestly, I think that LEGENDS & LATTES is a book that will resonate with most readers, simply because who hasn’t wondered if starting something new would be too complicated, too hard, or if they’re too late or just not qualified for what they want to do? We’ve all wondered about our dreams and hopes, and LEGENDS & LATTES isn’t a fanciful rags-to-riches story, it’s a far more beautiful dream-to-reality story. It’s been joked before that the ‘real treasure are the friends we make along the way’ but in this story? They are. I hope that Travis Baldree writes more in this world, but I don’t need a sequel. I think a sequel would risk doing this story a disservice. LEGENDS & LATTES is whole and perfect, but I would love to see more slice-of-life stories blending those little hints of our world into a fantasy universe.
Release Date: 22nd February 2022