cover image Bookshops & Bonedust

Bookshops & Bonedust

Travis Baldree. Tor, $17.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-88610-1

Bestseller Baldree’s cozy standalone sequel to Legends & Lattes shows that even a battle-hungry orc can find happiness in life’s simple pleasures. Orc Viv devotes herself to the mercenary team she works with, Rackam’s Ravens. While hunting a powerful necromancer, she’s gravely injured in battle and is forced to stay in a nearby small town to recuperate. The quaint village of Murk is initially far too quiet for her—until, while exploring, Viv stumbles upon a run-down bookshop overseen by a loud, foulmouthed rattkin (a mix of a human and a rat) named Fern. Fern grew up in the bookshop and hasn’t noticed how dilapidated it’s become, but does have a gift for matching books and customers. After Fern picks the perfect book for Viv, she falls in love with it and the bookshop—and possibly Fern as well. She offers to help make the shop more presentable, finding unexpected contentment and purpose in doing handiwork. The peace doesn’t last, however; the necromancer’s reach extends into the town after the discovery of a mysterious body and a satchel full of bones. The innocent joy of Viv and Fern’s love is delightful and Baldree’s formula of placing low-stakes stories in high-fantasy settings remains good fun. Series fans will eat this up. (Nov.)