RELEASED: October 23, 2018
PUBLISHER: Live Edge Publishing
GENRE: YA Fantasy / Mystery
GOODREADS RATING: 4.15
TRIGGERS: Very short mention of torture, alcoholism
A magic cupcake. A culinary killer. The perfect recipe for murder.
Wren knew her sweet treats could work wonders, but she never knew they could work magic. She barely has time to wrap her head around the stunning revelation when the head of the prestigious Confectioner’s Guild falls down dead before her. Poisoned by her cupcake.
Now facing murder charges in a magical world she doesn’t understand, Wren must discover who framed her or face the headsman’s axe. With the help of a handsome inspector and several new friends, Wren just might manage to learn the ropes, master her new powers, and find out who framed her. But when their search for clues leads to a deep-rooted conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, she realizes that the guild master isn’t the only one at risk of death by chocolate.
If Wren can’t bring the powerful culprit to justice, she and her friends will meet a bittersweet end.
I don’t think I have to tell any of you why I immediately requested this book on NetGalley when I stumbled upon it, right? But in case I do: Can you blame me for not being able to resist a cupcake on a cover? A blue cover at that? Me and my cupcakes.. Me and my favorite color being blue.. and on top of that a fantasy with a murder mystery? No way I was going to resist that! Absolutely. No. Way.
And I’m honestly glad I didn’t either. The whole food-aspect in The Confectioner’s Guild was right up my alley. Not only the presence of food – because, trust me, there’s a lot of food mentioned – but also the way it’s incorporated in the author’s writing. Where others compare the sky to colors, Claire Luana compares so many things to delicious sounding dishes, confections and even fruits. Can you blame me for being entranced by it? No, you cannot!
If there are two constants in this life, it’s men and their power. If they don’t have it, they want it; if they have it, they want more of it.
The biggest part of this novel is, of course, the murder mystery Wren – our main character – has to solve. Being wrongfully accused of killing an important guild member, she has to figure out her new life while finding her way in a political web she knows nothing about.
I really loved how the mystery was set up and how all puzzle pieces came together. Although one thing definitely had me on top of the murdered faster than I would’ve liked, I still enjoyed seeing Wren and her friends figuring it all out.
I can’t change who my parents are. I can only control the life I live.
Unfortunately, there are also some issues I had while reading.
First of all, I didn’t really felt like our characters were fleshed out – not even our main character. The author tried – I could definitely see that – but it didn’t come across as I would’ve liked. Wren has her past but, to me, it didn’t make her into a well-rounded character and that was really a pity.
I also didn’t really like the.. romantic aspects in this story at the beginning. Usually I would look past that since it definitely got better towards the end but I was missing more of an evolution. Wren simply stated one thing and then suddenly stated something else. She did stay true to her opinion, but.. it was too abrupt in my opinion.
You deserve a place in this world. A place where you can be safe, and whole, and happy. Never apologize for insisting on it. For fighting for it.
As for the entire political system of Claire Luana’s world.. It was simply too much at times. My issue was that the explanation of it – and thus the world-building – was squeezed into paragraphs filled with information which caused me to forget half before even finishing the paragraph. I could see where the author was going, but it was simply explained in a, for me, non-enjoyable way.
I do hope it’s something that’ll be fixed in the finished copy. Maybe the addition of a political schedule could already help things a long? I really feel like it would’ve helped me to have something of the sort to look at whenever I needed to.
Conclusion is that I did like this story, but I feel like it needs more editing and work before it can actually show this author’s strength. The potential of becoming an amazing story is definitely there, but it isn’t just ready quite yet. I can only hope it’s had a huge cleaning-up before being published. Nevertheless, I’m still curious to see where Wren’s story is headed next, so I’m going to keep my eye out for the sequel anyway.
Looking at the cover, would you have caved immediately like I did?
What do you think of food having a very big presence in a story? Like / don’t like?