When you need a break from the epic battles and political intrigues, look no further than Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. It is the kind of book that feels like a warm hug - familiar, comforting, and thoroughly enjoyable.
After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, the orc barbarian, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time and has officially retired. She had a dream of starting her own business, a coffee shop in the city of Thune. However, there might be a few hurdles along the way. Not to mention that in this world, no one has the faintest idea what coffee is.
The audio version of Legends and Lattes was recommend to me by a fellow bookworm on Instagram, both as an easy listen and because they thought the story was perfect for an avid DnD player like me (it was). However, I will say this is a book for all types of readers whether you are into games or not.
Legends & Lattes: High fantasy with low stakes and good company.
A refreshing take on fantasy
The tagline for Legend and Latttes is "high fantasy with low stakes" which sums up the story perfectly. This is the kind of book to reach for when you need a break from stories with a darker vibe (you know the kind that plays Russian roulette with your emotions), or whenever you're looking for a comfort read that still feels entertaining.
The refreshing part of Legends and Lattes is the fact that the story focuses more on the daily life in a fantasy setting rather than the big political intrigues and battles. It is a nice change of pace and gives you the opportunity to appreciate the smaller things in life such as daily interactions, dreams, and friendships forming in other settings than life-and-death situations.
Because the book is written entirely from Viv's perspective and only has one main character, it suddenly feels much more personal. This is very much Viv's story and the way she handles the mundane struggles of daily life. Watching her learn to forge new friendships, and step out of her comfort zone in order to reach her dreams, became as fulfilling for me as it was for her.
The personal connections between the characters in this book feel deep and meaningful. Baldree manages to make the smallest moments feel memorable. He sets the tone, the rhythm and connections up so well and it flows throughout the book.
I adore epic and high fantasy with their intrigues, big quests, conflicts and impossible choices. However, what they sometimes lack is exactly the focus on the smaller and simpler things in life. Of course, not all books or authors forget that, but it is easy to miss those moments when there is a bigger story going on. Here the smaller moments get their chance to shine, as the story enters around daily life, human connections and the search for a place to belong - and all without the entire world burning. In a way it made me appreciate my own life more, as I found myself enjoying those quiet moments too.
Fantasy can be so much more than the typical books we see. The cosy fantasy genre introduces heartwarming stories like Legends and Lattes that can be a nice break between the epic series, or the start of your fantasy reading journey.
A favorite read of 2022
The first time around I listened to the audio edition on Audible, which is read by the author himself. It was a really enjoyable experience as he is a talented narrator and it sets the vibe perfectly up for a cosy read / listen while you knit, paint, sip a cup of hot cocoa. Afterwards, I did pick up the actual book and reread it. I found it to be an equally enjoyable read, but if I had to pick one over the other, I would recommend the audiobook.
I read this book straight after finishing the grim dark series by Joe Abercrombie, The First Law, and I cannot state how perfect that was. It was like coming up for air and receiving a warm hug. It was the contrast that I needed after spending sometime in the grim dark universe of Abercrombie. It is a truly delightful read, and one of my favorite books from 2022, and one I would highly recommend.
This blog post was written by Gabriela Saez. You can follow her reviews on Instagram @bookstrider