I don’t recall when I started seeing ads for Legends and Lattes online but they immediately grabbed my attention with the adorable picture of two female baristas, an orc and succubus, on the cover. Then, my favorite bookshop fell head over heels for it and I knew I had to read this book. Our family does a Winter Solstice book exchange and one of my daughters gifted me Legends and Lattes. It took restraint to finish New City, Who Dis? before starting it.
The book advertises itself as, “A novel of high fantasy and low stakes” and it delivers on that promise. It’s a typical fantasy world with many classic races; orcs, elves, dwarves, gnomes, etc. There is magic and bands of adventurers. It has a Dungeons and Dragons vibe. Viv, an orc, has always been an adventurer, claiming bounties and doing work for hire. But one particular adventure in the gnomish city of Azimuth changed her life with a chance encounter. Viv discovered coffee and a desire to hang up her sword and open a café.
Viv has meticulously planned and saved for years but doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. She does one last job with her crew and secures the stone of a Scalvert Queen as her final reward. A stone rumored to bring good fortune to the owner. Viv’s research has led her to the city of Thune as a good location to set up shop. Using a divining wand to find ley lines, Viv carefully selects a location and sets to work. Aside from starting a business, she also needs to educate the people of Thune about coffee, as it is completely unknown in the city. Good fortune does indeed find Viv. She builds a collection of friends who help her with each stage of getting the coffee shop up and successfully running. When calamity happens, Viv learns a lesson about the scalvert stone and what the legends meant in the descriptions of its power.
I loved everything about Legends and Lattes. It definitely falls somewhere on my top ten list of 2022. As an avid fantasy reader and D&D player the world setting was so familiar but being set in a coffee shop gave it a cozy feel. Viv’s devotion to coffee is something any coffee drinker can relate to. There are lovely passages where she details first finding coffee and describing coffee to everyone around her. I admire Viv staunchly choosing non-violence in all situations. She may have used her fearsome visage and fierce fighting skills to resolve issues as an adventurer but she is determined to leave that behind and live differently. I also enjoyed the sweet, slow moving romance between Viv and Tandri (the succubus). They make an adorable couple in my mind.
This book ticks a lot of boxes for me and there is much for a variety of readers to enjoy.