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Boots by Julian Greystoke: Whimsical and Cosy

This post is a review of Boots by Julian Greystoke. I am not affiliated with them. All opinions are my own.

Let’s start with the basics. Boots is a Puss In Boots Retelling by indie author Julian Greystoke. They also have a Youtube channel I love and has cool videos (if you want to know what other channels I like, click here). I have this book in Kindle format so I have no idea what the other formats are like in terms of quality and formatting but this one was pretty good.

As I’m releasing this long after I planned, I have links for Julian and their things below. I also finished this just in time before the release of their newest book: Adventurer Mage. You can see their book release stream here.

But, I will share links for Julian and their things below for you to check them out:

A Spoiler-Free Overview

Boots very much has the cosy fantasy vibes where I wanted to curl up in bed with a hot drink. It had a good balance of action with a fitting ending. The characters were likeable and easy to follow along with and the story wasn’t weighed down by the politicking and scheming.

This story reminds me more of Legends and Lattes if it had higher in-world stakes. The characters are trying to save the kingdom, not open a coffee shop. While I’d love to see more of the characters, I think the book is a great stand-alone. I’m not sure if there’s any room or any need for sequels with how well the plot and characters are wrapped up at the end.

As with a lot of indie books, there were occasional typos and a few odd sentences that had been missed during editing. But, considering I have seen traditionally published books with just as many mistakes, if not more, it didn’t really make much of a difference as none of them pulled me out of the story.

The Cover for Boots by Julian Greystoke. It features an orange cat in front of a broken 'Beware of' sign. Behind it is fields and a distant castle.
The cover for Boots by Julian Greystoke. It features an orange cat in front of a broken ‘Beware of’ sign. Behind it is fields and a distant castle.

Now for the more in depth and spoiler-y review part of Boots by Julian Greystoke. If you don’t want spoilers, come back when you’ve read the book.

Characters (AKA, Why Boots Is The Best)

Firstly, Boots is adorable. Am I biased because I like cats? Possibly? Is Boots adorable anyway? Yes.

A a self-proclaimed character writer, Julian manages to create believable and likeable characters. You can’t help but to relate to or sympathise with them. Within the world, the characters actions and reactions make sense in a world with magic and shadow creatures.


Boots acts exactly like a cat. He’s confident, acts like he owns wherever he is and is absolutely adorable. At one point, Boots is considered a foreman and meows as if he’s giving instructions. It’s amazing. I love the characterisation, even just through the meows and mews. At the end, I love his interactions with the God of Luck, as well as the slight confusion and annoyance at his new blessing of understanding.

For me, Boots is the best character in the entire book. Julian has just perfectly captured the essence of a cat and why people love them, even down to his knocking things off table with a swipe of his paw. He likes pets and attention and I love the mental image of him curling up with Levi to comfort him after bad dreams. Another interesting thing about Boots is that Julian doesn’t shy away from portraying cats as hunters as they were and still are valued for their ability to catch rodents.


Poor Levi. His bad luck curse ranges from mild inconveniences to near death experiences and I love how kind and trusting he is. I spent most of the book feeling bad for him but it is nice he gets the ‘rags to riches’ type fairy-tale ending. I like how earnest he is in trying to help and how, understandably, he shies away from people when he knows his bad luck causes so many issues.

What I like the most about Levi’s character and his journey, is that he is not cured at the end. He has to learn to live with his curse and by the end of the book, has learned to be more at peace with it and designing ways around it rather than everything magically being perfect for him.

Princess Johanna:

Princess Johanna is easily my favourite of the human characters. She is stubborn, constantly at odds with her parents over her role in life, and a good fighter. While I relate to always feeling at odds with my parents, part of why I love Princess Johanna so much is that she’s aware of her place. People treat her differently because she’s a princess, but she manages to be friendly and understanding to the common people of the kingdom. Unlike a lot of books where the royal characters are ‘friendly’ to the peasants only to be condescending, Johanna manages to be truly compassionate for the people.

The queer representation of Princess Johanna being aromantic and asexual is very important to me. I’m also queer with asexual friends who’d love Johann. What I liked most was the Princess not suddenly finding anyone attractive. She wasn’t constantly worried if she was refusing for attention, or if her feelings might change if she just found ‘the one’. Princess Johanna as confident in how she felt (or didn’t feel) about people. Best of all, Princess Johanna is not another race or somehow ‘less than’ just because she doesn’t feel romantic or sexual attraction. She isn’t cold towards people because ‘she doesn’t love’ and the idea of being aroace as something that needs to be fixed isn’t even mentioned, not even when there’s magic involved at the end.

I’m very glad to have a strong aroace character who isn’t considered weird (expect maybe by her parents who understandably expected her to marry as part of her duty as a Princess, but royalty knows marriage doesn’t always come with love). She’s also capable, has flaws and I’d generally consider her as a strong female character and good aroace representation.

Simon/The Ogre:

While his motivations might have been clear to everyone but Levi, The Ogre suffices as a good antagonist for the story. His backstory isn’t needed beyond what’s given and there’s no villain speech about how he was corrupted. .Truthfully, neither are needed. Simon was The Ogre because he was greedy and selfish and nothing more than what’s said in the book is needed. Some books don’t need super complicated villains and this is one of them and Simon serves that purpose well.


Julian has described themselves as a character writing multiple times in their videos and its easy to see why. The plot of Boots isn’t anything particularly dramatic or inventive. While relatively slow paced, it’s a fun story. The appeal of this book is seeing likeable characters go through their troubles and find their way to their goals in some way or another. The twist of The Ogre not wanting to help Levi, but to steal his magic, was easily guessed. The story wasn’t worse for it, but it did make Levi look a little stupid considering the Ogre’s reputation. The plot didn’t need huge, dramatic twists to work and it would have been worse if it did have one.

The Writing Style of Boots

Writing style is such a unique thing to the author and opinions are all subjective. For me, I liked the style of writing of this book. As an adult, I find it easy to read. There isn’t tons of exposition and there aren’t paragraphs upon paragraphs of needless prose either. I do prefer books that don’t have excessive descriptions and lore and for me, this book has a good balance.

The writing style does also give me a fairy-tale vibe. Near the beginning, it reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s writing in the way that it feels like you’re sitting by a fire and someone is reading it to you. By the end, with the Bard recounting the tale of ‘Puss With Boots’ to children, it feels quite fitting.

Book Formatting

As said earlier, this is largely in regards to the Kindle formatting as the paperback formatting may be completely different.

But, the book’s formatting is its biggest issue for me. The book is separated into parts, each following the character it’s named after, e.g. The Miller’s Son, The Princess. Within these parts, there are no individual chapters. Sometimes this works fine, but for the longer sections, it does have the inadvertent affect of making the book feel like its dragging through the middle. While there are scene breaks between sections, they continue as one larger part and Kindle doesn’t recognise them as separate chapters.

Some people likely don’t care about such a thing. As I’m someone who likes to read a chapter or two in spare time, it was a little annoying searching for breaks and figuring out whether I’ll read it in time. The chapters/parts ranged from around ten minutes to two or more hours but it was only a little inconvenient.

The Ending of Boots

I could not think of a better ending for Boots. Princess Johanna doesn’t suddenly madly fall in love with Levi as if she had found ‘the one’, Levi isn’t suddenly perfectly normal, and Boots has the chance to help Levi, and also the whole kingdom as a result. The Orge’s defeat is logical, with both tactics and strength (with a good couple of action scenes) but not immediately.


Overall, I would give Boots 4 out of 5 stars. It felt like the story dragged in the middle and there were times where the prose could have been tidier. But I loved the characters, especially Boots and Princess Johanna. I liked the style and how well everything was wrapped up by the end. It was refreshing to have a cosy fantasy story that was a bit whimsical with Boots. Cosy fantasy like this is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres. I’ll happily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in that genre or indie authors in general.

If you would like to check out Julian Greystoke (which I highly recommend), here’s the links to their socials again. Including their Youtube channel, Amazon and Fiverr where they now offer developmental edits.

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