Legends & Lattes is a rare book that I wanted to read again as soon as I was finished with it — it’s warm and cosy, a world with a lot of goodness in it and people who will make an effort and put in work, even when it’s hard. A world where even an orc can quit being a mercenary and make a coffee shop, and a rattkin can come on staff to make baked goods, and a succubus (who doesn’t use any of her charms) can come on board as a barista. It’s a world where a far-fetched dream can come true with a little magic, a little luck, and a lot of willing hands.
Honestly, I got to the end of it and was a little outraged that the bit I thought was left was an additional short story and not more of the same coffee-scented cosiness. I wanted more of Viv, more of the coffee shop, more of the little mysteries around it (the gnome who seemed to be some kind of time traveller, for example).
I think some people have dinged it rating-wise for not being original, which is a little bit confusing to me: it’s not meant to be some spectacular and strange fantasy world with intricate world-building. It’s more like “here’s a generic fantasy world, and here’s the kind of story we don’t tell set in this kind of world very often”. The world-building is far from the point — it’s more taking this basic fantasy world and saying, well, not everyone can be a mercenary all their life. What do they do after? What do they do if killing people isn’t what makes them happy?
So I wouldn’t go in expecting something super original, because it’s not about that. It’s a mug of hot coffee (or hot chocolate, if that’s more your thing, as it is for me) on a cold day; a friend’s shoulder leaning into yours while you’re just going about your day.