- Author: Travis Baldree
- Series: Legends and Lattees #1
- Genre: Fantasy
- No. of pages: 308
- Dates read: 11.01.2023 – 13.01.2023
- Star Rating: 3 stars
Plot: Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen. However, her dreams of a fresh start pulling shots instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners and a different kind of resolve.
Now this was a book I saw all over TikTok! Literally this book was everywhere. Cosy fantasy set in a cafe! Yes please! I picked it up the minute it came into stores. I needed to get my hands on it. Then my friends and I decided to buddy read it together and we all came to the same conclusion. It was fine.
Now I went into this knowing the story would have very low stakes and we would be focusing on the characters etc. but this book just did not wow me the way it had other people. It was enjoyable, it did literally everything it said it would do but I just couldn’t make myself give it more than 3 stars.
I had my favourite moments and favourite characters but I was just expecting more. The positives of the novel was that I loved literally every character you meet. They were all just genuinely nice people who you wanted to see succeed no matter what. I enjoyed following Viv on her journey and achieving her dream. I LOVED Thimble the Ratkin the most, by far the shining star of the novel.
I also enjoyed how low stakes it was. I felt like the perfect book to read when you want to forget the world and just want to be wrapped in a big old hug. I loved watching the cafe come together with each additional element added.
But I did have some criticisms. For me the writing felt very condensed. I would say this plot would have been amazing for a video game adaptation. The layout and the structure of the writing/plot works amazingly for a cafe simulation game. But as a novel it left me wanting more. I felt we were just going through the motions with Viv. We never had time to sit and take in the moment with her or other characters. The minute the plot point was done we were swiftly onto the next narrative moment. It felt very stop start to me. It was just too fast-paced and it made me not feel connected to the story.
Spoiler for the book!
My other critique would be it’s sapphic romance. Had I not known prior to reading that this story had a sapphic romance I would have missed all the supposed romantic moments and chalked it up to Viv and Tandri just being really good friends. For marketing it as a sapphic romance I literally did not feel that it was delivered at all. To be honest, it came across as a very last minute decision. I wish it was developed a lot more. This goes back to my point that we were just hitting plot point after plot point and not really sitting with the characters and watching them develop individually and together.