Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree
Narrator: Travis Baldree
Series: Legends & Lattes #0
Published by MacMillan Audio on November 7, 2023
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Fantasy Romance
Length: 8 hours, 1 minute
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Viv's career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam's Ravens isn't going as planned.
Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she's packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she'll never be able to return to it.
What's a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?
Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn't possibly imagine.
Still, adventure isn't all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.
Bookshops and Bonedust is a prequel to Legends and Lattes and it is really meant to be read after Legends and Lattes when we already know Liv the main character. It has a few of the same problems most prequels do, you know the character is going to survive and move onto something else so it is a little harder to build any kind of of climax since we know everyone is going to survive and what happens to them next. It is a challenge and I will say the plotting is better in this book than Legends and Lattes but it didn’t quite overcome the hurdle of building suspense.
Liv, hurt while in battle, ends up recuperating in a small port town. She has never been one for standing still and so it is a struggle to just hang out all day waiting to heal. While convalescing, she meets a lovely Ratkin, Fern, with a down and out bookshop who gives her a book to read with a bet to make it more tempting. Liv discovers a whole new world in reading books and wants to help out Fern, who is struggling to keep her shop running. There is also a cute little baker, Maylee, who Liv is trying to date, but she really is clueless about how to do that as well.
Danger comes to town in the form of a necromances searching for something he has hidden away. Liv ends up in the middle of it as trouble just seems to find her. With the assistance of an interesting band of characters, including a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, she will endeavor to protect her new friends from the evil Necromancer, dabble a bit in some interesting reading and begin her journey on wondering if there is something beside being a mercenary she would like to do.
All and all this was an interesting book. I didn’t care as much about the relationship with Maylee that was explored as if you have read Legends and Lattes, you know it isn’t going anywhere. The Necromancers magic was interesting and so was Liv’s help in bringing the bookshop back to life. Still it lacks…something. This is probably because it is a prequel and we know Liv isn’t going to stay and she will definitely survive what is happening in the book so you can’t really build tension.
I would say if you haven’t read Legends and Lattes yet to start with this book, however the epilogue is a pretty big spoiler for the next book. It is a conundrum on how I want to rate this because of the issues I mentioned above. I really liked the characters and the plot but the prequel-ness of it did affect my reading. Perhaps going into with that kind of expectation will make sure that you don’t have interpretation as I did.
Definitely looking forward for what Liv and her coffee shop have in store for us next and I’m hoping a little bone creature and certain Ratkin and her griffin dog find their way there.
Bookshops and Bonedust was narrated by the writer, Travis Baldree. Normally I discourage this, as there have been quite a few times that it really doesn’t go well. Exceptions to that rule are Julia Quinn (who is beyond a fantastic narrator) and now Travis Baldree who does a great job with this narration. I was actually surprised to find he has over 300 narrations to his credit, most in the D&D fantasy quest type realm. Which would explain why this was an effortless listen with him as the narrator. His voice and performance were fantastic and he was able to bring all the characters he created to life and give this a good D&D type vibe. I definitely enjoyed his narration of the world he also created.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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