Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book has had a lot of buzz and hype (it was initially self-published and later picked up by a traditional publisher), and I thought it was pleasant and entertaining enough. Unfortunately, that's all on the surface, with not much depth. This is the story of Viv, a battle orc who has had enough of the slaughter and swordplay and decides to hang it up.
After twenty-two years of adventuring, Viv had reached her limit of blood and mud and bullshit. An orc's life was strength and violence and a sudden, sharp end--but she'd be damned if she let hers finish that way.
It was time for something new.
This book is subtitled "A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes," and that is accurate. Viv's obstacles are remodeling her shop, hiring an assistant and cook, and getting the business going. She acquires friends along the way, changes her life, and makes herself a home. (She also acquires a giant feline known as a "dire-cat" who starts hanging around the shop and ends up taking out the elf who is as much of an antagonist as this story offers.) There are a few bumps along the way--the shop is burned down and has to be rebuilt--and Viv ends up falling in love with Tandri, the succubus she hires to be her assistant. This story is perfectly fine for what it is, and will serve to while away a few hours, but if you're like me and prefer deeper worldbuilding and characterization, it's pretty frothy and forgettable.
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