I checked this out from Libby after hearing about it on The Incomparable, where all the panelists had good things to say about it. The premise of the book is fun: an orc warrior in a D&D-type adventuring party retires to start a coffeeshop, coffee here being a gnomish delicacy that isn’t well known. I don’t drink coffee and I don’t really patronize coffeeshops, but this book kind of made me wish that I did!
A recent episode of The Incomparable covered this book, and even though the reviews were mixed, it seemed up my alley, so I gave it a try. It’s very obviously a book of ideas and is sometimes clumsy and didactic. That said, I wish I had taken more time to sit with those ideas; I rushed through the book to finish it before my loan was up, and I’m sure I missed bits.
I wasn’t sure about this novella at first, which was a bummer because it’s beloved by the folks at The Incomparable. As I kept reading, though, I got sucked in and wound up loving it! It makes the most of its short length, easily working in the worldbuilding and even lampshading the tropes it uses to do so. The characters are fun, but what stands out the most is how deliberately and delightfully non-Western it is.
By the time this movie came out in 2005, I was already deep into superhero media, and I love using recycled tropes to tell an interesting story. This does an excellent job, and it was a favorite for my whole family when it came out. (In fact, I hadn’t remembered until rewatching it that one of my family’s shared verbal tics comes from a running gag involving Ron Wilson, Bus Driver).