I’ve been hearing about this book for awhile now, first when it was the self-published phenomenon (I think I even checked it out on KU at some point), and then when Tor picked it up and it was a major publisher phenomenon. But “cozy fantasy”??? When I’m very much not a fan of cozy mysteries? I figured it would be boring with forced quirky characters and improbable coincidences. That’s what “cozy” means to me when it comes to stories.
Well, as much as my husband would dispute this, I am happy to say I WAS WRONG. This book wasn’t action packed, but it wasn’t boring either. Somehow Baldree manages to make the ins and outs of opening a coffee shop – and I mean the minutiae – seem adventurous. (And also delicious – this should not be read on an empty stomach.)
The real sweetness comes from the characters. What a group! Viv and Tandri and Cal and Thimble – an Orc, a succubus, a hob and a rattkin – outsiders who find what they need in each other’s company. None of them were incomplete or struggling, but once they come together, it’s magic. Baldree has a gentle hand with them, letting them slowly grow into a unit so everything feels natural.
And the conflict was realistic and just enough tension to give the book some momentum. Real danger that gives Viv the opportunity to commit to her new life or the temptation to resort back to violence as the only answer. Again, the character development is the star.
This was an excellent diversion. If you’ve been avoiding because it sounds a little boring or a little precious or overhyped or cozy is just not for you – I urge you to give it a try. It was sweet, an unexpected soft place to rest. And there’s a second book in the universe coming out this fall!