Travis Baldree's debut novel is a member of what's being called 'cozy SFF' in some parts of the interwebs (okay, I admit I found it on #booktok). Cozy science fiction and fantasy is just that, it's certainly imaginative and involves beings and creatures fresh and innovative, but it's also warm, good hearted and even funny. Sample titles, in case you need more of an idea, All Systems Red by Martha Wells or The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune and any number of titles (though certainly not all) by T. Kingisher. All of which have recently been balm to my soul. So when a recommender made mention of Legends & Lattes as being within that sphere? I jumped at it. And boy am I oh so glad I did. This was a delight from first to last - one that left me craving coffee and cinnamon rolls in the worst way.
As the book opens Viv, an orc mercenary and all around bad-ass, gets one last score so that she can hang up her sword and achieve her dream: settling down in one place and opening a coffee shop. Yes, you heard that right, she wants to settle in the town of Thune and go into business introducing her clientele to the wonders of coffee. And with the same determination she's brought to every other endeavor and task, she does just that. Along the way there she picks up others who need the safety of her shop and finds just the right way to make it work for each of them.
The subtitle for this one is "A Novel of High Fantasy...and Low Stakes" and while my initial reaction to that, was yes, true. In thinking about it, I realized that it isn't low stakes for Viv or the people who come into her life. Viv and her friends put everything on the line to make this endeavor a success. And there are certainly challenges Viv will have to face if she wants to keep to her plan and avoid having to again pick up her sword. It's in the friendships and the hard work and good will they each bring to building their community that the warm-hearted cozy comes into play. So very nicely done.