Fantasy can be a pretty repetitive genre. You’ll see a lot of the same tropes and character archetypes across multiple different series. That’s not a bad thing by any means; fantasy is one of the most enduring genres in literature. But every now and then, you just need a break from the high-stakes adventures about defeating gods or conquering evil lords or medieval political maneuvering.
Luckily, there’s a little coffee shop here to help us get the rest we need. And that shop is called Legends and Lattes.
Wholesome is the best word to describe Legends and Lattes. The whole book just gives you this happy, cozy feeling while you’re reading it! You never need to worry about whether your favorite character will survive a chapter or if the heroes will overcome the odds. It’s just a simple story about lovable characters building up a little café in a fantasy city and I LOVE IT!!!
After a lifetime of adventuring, orc barbarian Viv decides to settle down and pursue an unlikely dream: to open a coffee shop in the city of Thune. As she builds up her business, she meets all kinds of people, some friendly, others not so much. But with some help, determination, and just a dash of magic, maybe her ridiculous little dream could become a reality.
Characters are where this book really shines. Our heroes are all extremely charming and lovable, from the awkward but kind Viv to the gruff but caring Cal to the softspoken genius Thimble and the awkward bard Pendry. We even get an extremely well-executed lesbian romance between Viv and her business partner Tandri, which was easily one of the best parts of the book! Every single one of them put a big dumb smile on my face every time they opened their mouths!
Conversely, the villains of the story are some of the most loathsome you can come across. They aren’t pure evil; none of them are going around murdering people or plotting world-wide destruction. But anyone who poses a threat to our protagonists and their burgeoning coffee shop don’t deserve to live!
Setting wise, this book does something fairly interesting. It’s a very typical high-fantasy setting, like something you’d see in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. The book does a great job of exploring an often neglected side of such settings: the normal day-to-day stuff. You get the sense that this is a world full of magic and monsters and adventure, but instead we focus on the more down-to-earth stuff. This simple shake-up on the formula makes the setting feel that much more interesting and engaging!
Honestly, in terms of criticisms, I don’t really have all that much to say. This is just a really solid, simple, and enjoyable slice-of-life fantasy story! It’s damn fun and it makes you feel good from start to end!
I cannot recommend Legends and Lattes enough! It’s a delightful read! Set aside an afternoon, brew a pot of coffee, listen to some gentle music, sit back, relax, and enjoy! I assure you, you won’t regret it!
Fuck, dude, I’ve got to go through it again!