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Can't Spell Treason without Tea-Rebecca Thorne: A Review

A cozy bookshop, handcrafted teas, freshly baked bread, and love is all you need. At least that’s what the heroines of Can’t Spell Treason without Tea believe. Kianthe and Reyna run from all their responsibilities to create the life they’ve always dreamed of. In this sapphic cozy(?) fantasy you can lose yourself in the world of magic and mystery.

Reyna grew up thinking all she’d ever be was a queen’s guard. Her life is worth little more than a shield to place between an assassin’s blade and the Self-centered, temperamental Queen’s neck. She had come to terms with this a long time ago. That is until she met Kianthe, who showed her that there was more to life than just one’s duty.

One evening in an attempt to save the Queen (again), Reyna found herself with an assassin’s blade to her own neck as a hostage. The would be assassin using her in an attempt at bargaining to escape. The Queen showed no concern, ready to let Reyna die despite her years of unwavering service to the crown. That was Reyna’s breaking point. She managed to escape with her life and so a plan began to form.

Kainthe is the most powerful mage throughout the land, a power she never asked for and would give up if it was an option. She had been chosen for this power at a young age and as such spent her entire life feeling separated from her peers. No one ever saw her as a person, only as the all powerful Mage of the Ages. That is until she met Reyna.

The two had been together in secret for quite some time before the assassin incident. Now with the proper motivation Reyna and Kianthe can finally run away and start their life together.

Now, let’s get into the real reason we’re here. Was it worth the read? In my personal opinion I loved it. It was cute. It was Sapphic. It was fantasy. All of these things are wonderful apart and even better together. Now, the book was marketed as a Cozy fantasy, and that might be a bit misleading. The stakes are a bit too high to be a cozy fantasy. People love to compare it to Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree and they’d be right to lump them together.

The thing is the similarities end at the cafe style shop that is opened in both worlds. I would point out that Baldree’s book also had conflict that was high stakes (their entire shop was threatened, and could have resulted in the MC’s death. Those are definitely high stakes). The real difference that I think pushes Thorne’s book out of the cozy fantasy genre is the world building aspect. In her book we don’t explore this bookshop turned library as something new and innovative, at least not in length. The idea was a single conversation between the two MCs. Comparing this to Baldree’s book where every concept from the coffee beans, the machine to make the coffee, to the names of the pastries they created were all new ideas in their world does give the two books two very different feels. Bladree focused on the building of the shop whereas Thorne rushed through the shop creation and focused instead on the side adventures.

This didn’t bother me too much but I get why some people are upset about being sold a Cozy fantasy and instead just getting a fantasy. The adventures were fun and well thought out. My only complaint is I have to get the sequal to know how everything ends! You can bet it's already been added to my TBR list though. I just have to know how their story ends.

This book is worth the read if you just want to read a high fantasy setting with sapphic love interests. I personally give the book 4/5 stars, but if you were hoping for spice you came to the wrong place.


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