Warning: This review contains mild spoilers for “Coffee and Faerie Cakes” by Laura Simons. If you haven’t read the book and want to avoid spoilers, be careful when reading this review or go find another review to read!
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Coffee and Faerie Cakes” by Laura Simons! It’s been a while since I read a fairy/magic-related book, and the concept of this taking place in a little café was rather charming, so I couldn’t help but pick up this book to read. This book is free to purchase online, so that was also a bonus as well! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Nowadays hardly anyone notices if you’re of faerie descent and Jeanne has no trouble whatsoever running a nice little café in Paris. They keep their magic in check, save the occasional splash of comfort in the coffee or a dusting of joy on the pastries, and are happy with simply observing their mortal customers without ever giving themself away. At least that’s how it was, before a young man waltzed in who was just a bit too pretty and definitely a bit too light-fingered.
Rule number one: never steal from a faerie.
Coffee and Faerie Cakes is 45k of light urban fantasy with a generous helping of romance.
You want a cute romance between a curious nonbinary faerie running a little café and a charming trans boy with knowledge of magic and thieving fingers? This is it.”
Plot Development: 4 out of 5 stars
The plot was a bit slow at the beginning, though it did give some good exposition for the main events that lead to everything else in the book happening. The overall plot was definitely character-driven from beginning to end, and I love how all of the characters’ major decisions and actions were what drove said plot, as well as how said decisions and actions played off each other. It created a sort-of domino effect of events happening, and the constant question of “Will they or won’t they get together?” certainly played an overall effect on the plot as well. It never got tiring or forced. Everything that happened felt rather organic, and that made the whole story fun to read.
Worldbuilding Development: 5 out of 5 stars
The worldbuilding was definitely the strongest part of the book. I loved how the concept of exchanges was used so well in the context of a café as well as between the characters in general. I also enjoyed the magic wisteria and how they worked, the idea of one being able to ‘sense’ magic, as well as the growth of a magic community created by all the characters running into each other. Though faeries exist in this book and are the main focus, there are also other types of magical beings (and I can’t say what, or else that leads to too many character-related-spoilers). There is a lot I want to say about how good the worldbuilding is, but this will lead into major spoilers and so I can’t.
Character Development: 4 out of 5 stars
As the summary mentioned, there is LGBTQ+ representation in this book, with a nonbinary faerie named Jeanne and a trans male human named Lucien. And yes, they have a romance together, though I’ll touch on this more in the romance development section. The book itself does not make a big deal of these being nonbinary and/or trans. Everyone is rather chill with these revelations, in all honesty, and that’s really refreshing to read here in general as a reader.
I think the main characters, Jeanne and Lucien, get the most development, and it’s fun to see both of them develop not just in their romance, but also in terms of their own individual development. I wish I could dive deeper into this part, but I can’t because that would lead to some major spoilers. I wish some of the more minor characters got some more development. I wanted to learn a bit more about Dupont and the fact that he had interacted with Jeanne and Lucien. I feel that his lack of development would be interesting to see if there is a sequel. How did he get the magical influence he now has, for example? I also think other minor characters could use a little more development, though I understand this was probably due to the large focus on the two main characters that they lacked some.
Romance Development: 5 out of 5
The romance was quite well-written, overall! The way they met and how everything consequentially happened because of it (as well as an important discussion of whether the two of them falling in love with each other was due to accidental magic at work or if they were actually and authentically falling in love in the plot’s latter half) was charming to read. I love how both of them grew on each other over time, not just through how they increasingly encountered each other through the book, but also how they became more and more affectionate with each other. By the time they were dancing, I just wanted them to realize by then that they were falling for each other.
Overall, I’m rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars!
If you’re looking for some romance, faerie magic and a nice café on top, this is definitely one you should read!
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