Full disclosure, the author sent me a copy of this for review and I also read the audio book copy that I bought myself so this review covers both.
Can I just say, I know we’re all suckers for gorgeous covers and that the surface level ‘judging a book by its cover’ is something we all do on an aesthetic level. But when I see one floating around Twitter that grabs my attention in the way Legends and Lattes did, I feel goodness return to the world. You give me Orc ladies with cozy vibes, I am sold.
High Fantasy with a double-shot of self-reinvention
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.
A hot cup of fantasy slice-of-life with a dollop of romantic froth.
I’ve not been able to play DnD for quite a while and it kinda saddens me every now and then. The game went from being a thing I knew only from varied references to two campaigns every other week I managed around my then full time job in the city centre. This book brought me back to all those wonderful evenings and coupled it with the welcoming, cozy vibe I just about needed.
We meet Viv, an Orc adventurer, as she hangs up her sword and makes her way to a new town to open her dream coffee shop. What I really enjoyed is we do follow Viv as she ends one chapter and begins the next. I love a good character journey, especially when they are making an intention to either reinvent themselves or be the best person they can. We definitely get that with Viv and we see a lot of lows in her as well as her many highs. Particularly in her relationships with her old team mates.
Upon arrival in Thune, her new homestead, she meets a hobgoblin called Cal (short for Calamity of course). Viv soon hires both Cal and a young succubus named Tandri to help her get the venture off the ground as well as a young ratkin called Thimble to bake his delicious treats. Not going to lie, a small image in my head of a tall rat folk making cinnamon rolls is very entertaining. This is where we see the heart of the story take place. Viv is not a woman who is used to making new friends or relying on people for much outside a job. The majority of the books focuses mostly on her interactions and growing relationship with Tandri. These were honestly some of my favourite moments in the book. Tandri, similar to Viv, is trying to distance herself from the generalised image of a succubus and make her life more to her want. She has attended the local college and is arty, with the kind of direct nature that can only come across as caring. Viv, an Orc literally abandoning battle to make coffee, is the perfect match to Tandri.
Something I really admired of Tandri as a character was her support and ability to call out Viv at times. When an interaction with the towns organised thugs leads Viv to considering some dar repercussions, Tandri is there to remind her of herself. She risks her relationship in saying that Viv has left the violence behind, there are other ways to sort things. I love that, we love a good healthy relationship on this blog.
Coming back to the plot with those thugs, this honestly played out in a way I did not expect. And I loved it. The town has a local crime boss titled ‘The Madrigal’ who sends their runners to collect payment from local businesses in the name of ‘protection’. Viv, being the first Orc on the street and not in a position to accept their bullshit, eventually comes face to face with handling them. And it’s excellent. That’s all I’ll say. My absolute admiration to the author for pulling that off so well.
I could ramble on more but considering the length of the book, I would only really spoil it. And I want you folks to read it to give it the credit it deserves. The audio is equally fantastic, narrated expertly by the author, and only gives you more of that warm, pleasant vibe this novel radiates. One thing I did notice that in format, it does follow a lot of fantasy of manners books I have enjoyed too. Not sure if it’s purposeful but it was just something that struck me.
Thank you once again to Travis for sending me a copy of the book for review, Legends and Lattes is out now. Thanks for checking in folks and happy reading!