Legends and Lattes by Travid Baldree – review

Published by Tor

Publication date – 10 November 2022

Source – review copy

High fantasy, low stakes – with a double-shot of coffee.

After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good. Now she sets her sights on a new dream – for she plans to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the past behind her, she can’t go it alone. And help might arrive from unexpected quarters. Yet old rivals and new stand in the way of success. And Thune’s shady underbelly could make it all too easy for Viv to take up the blade once more.

But the true reward of the uncharted path is the travellers you meet along the way. Whether bound by ancient magic, delicious pastries or a freshly brewed cup, they may become something deeper than Viv ever could have imagined.

Viv the Orc is ready to lay down her sword. She is tired of bounty hunting and fighting. She dreams of a quieter life. One filled with coffee. She decides to open a coffee shop in Thune. The only issue, no one in Thune has even heard of coffee. Knowing no one, and with the odds stacked against her, will Viv’s dream come true or crash and burn?

I don’t read Fantasy I said to myself. Then I heard about Legends and Lattes.

I don’t read Fantasy I said to myself as I picked it up and read the first page which sees an orc in battle and then reading she was quitting to open a coffee shop.

I don’t read Fantasy I said to myself as found myself curled up with a book, the pages practically turning themselves.

Things of course don’t run smoothly. As well as needing to win the locals over, Viv has to deal with a protection racket and a threat from her past, which looks like it could ruin everything she has worked for. When she starts out she has no one, but she is observant, can sense those who are a little like her, shy, but with hidden depths. As she and her new found friends build her coffee shop, she builds lasting relationships and sees she has more to offer others than just her physical strength.

As the story progresses we see Viv and her new found friends build a coffee shop from an old abandoned building. But Viv doesn’t just open a place to get a warm drink. She creates a place where communities can meet, where friends can chat, where people can live out their dreams, be that of a baker or a bard. And as someone used to sleeping wherever the bounty took her, for Viv the coffee shop is her home. When all of that is threatened, Viv realises she does not have to face things alone and allows her to prioritise things.

It may seem that much doesn’t happen in the book. There are minimal fight scenes, not much threat but what there is in abundance is joy. And comfort. And plain old good story-telling. A world has been created that can easily be imagined. I could see myself walking Thune’s streets, picture the inhabitants, and smell the coffee and pastries drifting from the doorway of Legends and Lattes.

Legends and Lattes is a book about never giving up on your dream, however unusual or outlandish that may seem to many. It is a book about friendship, about forging bonds and about kindness for it’s own sake, without expectation of reward, pays back in many ways.

This was one of those books where I was genuinely disappointed that I had reached the final page, so caught up was I in the city of Thune and Viv’s world.

I loved every moment from opening scene to the final drink being poured. And I don’t even like coffee. I can’t wait to see more from Travis Baldree.

Highly recommended.

You can buy a copy of the book here.

(This is an affiliate link and I may make a small amount should you purchase through it. You can also buy Legends and Lattes through your local independent bookshop.)

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