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Travis Baldree's LEGENDS AND LATTES — A Lovely Introduction to Cozy Fantasy

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)


Book cover of Travis Baldree's Legends and Lattes

Travis Baldree's Legends and Lattes (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm) represents a new genre for me: cozy fantasy. (Or, at least, it's a genre I've never named before.) I picked it up because of a bookstagram buddy read with @sarahwardbooks and because of Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge, which does indeed include a Cozy Fantasy Book as one category. (You can check out our interview with Sarah about her middle-grade book Victory Gallop here.)


Viv, the book's protagonist, is an orc who has made her living as a mercenary, wending her way through the world via strength and violence. She and her band of fellow mercs have stayed together through some combination of loyalty and convenience, but Viv has had enough. She follows the mysterious instructions within a prophetic verse and captures a treasure called the Scalvert's Stone (from the Scalvert Queen's skull) and leaves her band, resolved that she's retiring from a life of the sword.


Armed with the fortunate promised by the Scalvert's Stone, Viv makes her way to a small town, buys an abandoned stable, and sets about building a business she's long dreamed of: a cafe. She had coffee for the first time on her travels and was taken both with the drink and with the peaceful, communal atmosphere of the shop where she tried it. It's the life Viv has never really thought she could live.


As Viv strives to make a successful business and to leave her sword stowed away, she meets a quirky group who become integral to her cafe. Cal, a hob, helps her to renovate the stable; Tandri, a succubus becomes a sort of logistical and aesthetic advisor; and Thimble, a ratkin, fills out the menu with pastries that lure in new customers.


Things don’t have to stay as what they started out as.

As Viv settles into her new life, she's visited by threats new and old. There's a protection racket in the town, run by a mysterious and powerful figure that noone wants to cross. And the one member of Viv's band that she never quite trusted suddenly shows up, seeming to know more about the Scalvert's Stone than he should. She's tempted, again and again, to revert to the violence that was her life for so long.


This charming book truly believes in its characters, in their goodness and in the ways that they deserve a second—and maybe a third—chance to find a new path and a new found family. Watching Viv's life become full, populated by people who appreciate her for her strength of character rather than her physical strength, is a beautiful thing, and watching Viv come to understand herself differently is just as beautiful. As Viv comes to trust in her new friends, she builds relationships centered on trust and on love.


Bring on the cozy fantasy! (This one has a sequel!!)



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