Book – Legends and Lattes

Author – Travis Baldree

Pages – 312

Year – 2022

Genre – Cosy Fantasy

Sometimes, judge a book by its cover. Or at least its title. On a new year jaunt to Waterstones to try and pick up some new reads, I saw this book – about a sword fighting adventurer who decides to pack it all in to open a coffee shop. Sitting alongside its sequel, Bookshops and Bonedust, it felt like something that I should absolutely read.

Viv is an orc, and a large, tough and fearsome one at that. But since she happened upon a gnomish bar selling a new type of drink – ‘coffee’ – she decides she has had enough of this and must settle down by opening her own establishment in one of the larger cities. Not so easy when you tower over everyone else, and have no experience whatsoever. What follows is a story of her meeting her people – the succubus Tandri, grumpy Cal, nervous Thimble and many more – whilst also dealing with the gang of brutes expecting protection money, figures from her past, and the need to make everything just right in her new passion project.

I am reliably informed by the internet (always a bastion of truth), that this is a book within the relatively new subgenre of Cosy Fantasy. Set in a fantasy world of elves and monsters, but with much more focus on the everyday life, this is such a good idea. Setting aside the usual battles and magic from this type of book and instead building a narrative about the idea of the things that happen on the every day gives such a fresh new twist to fantasy. I have read so many incredible books in the genre over the years, but there is no denying that there is a certain familiarity to the plot of each of them. This feels new and different, whilst also still quite lived in, and just became a joy to read as a result.

For anyone looking for a twist on a tried and tested formula, I would heartily recommend brewing a latte and settling down with this book.