By Cynthia Bujnicki
Who was Hale Firena before he was an Artisan in the Confectioner’s Guild? A spoiled rich gambler that’s who. But what happened to make him run from home and start afresh? Here is the tale of Hale Firena…
Published October 23, 2018, by Live Edge Publishing The Confectioner’s Exile by Claire Luana is a prequel novella following one Hale Firena before he was an artisan.
The Confectioner’s Exile is a speedy read. It’s short and sweet and captures who Hale was before he met Wren and got swept up in a murder mystery. As fun as Hale is as a character, it’s hard to see him carrying his own novel. Much of his story is already told in The Confectioner’s Guild. It’s nice to meet his family and see the familial dynamics unfold in the story throughout the pages (honestly, his mother is pretty amazing) but there’s not much else to it.
Hale is a great character, of that there is no doubt, but the story is lacking something that the series lacks: a unique quality to it. This story is far too familiar, to see a rich spoiled kid ripped from everything he knows, seeking refuge in a foreign land. There’s a lot of adventure, but it’s all very rushed and condensed. It is a novella; it is supposed to be short, but, again, Hale isn’t a strong enough character to carry on his own story leaving the energy somewhere else. There are some great characters that pop up, particularly Griff whose personality will surely catch the reader off guard, and we can only hope to see more of Griff, but other characters are short lived.
The story would have done better if it were just a little longer and if Hale’s mother was shown off more. She’s a fantastic character who is there in the beginning and the end, but missing for much of the middle of the novel. To see their relationship grow would have helped the story flourish just a little more and create an extra level of depth considering what readers know happens to her in the Guild. But overall, the story is entertaining, but Hale, he’s just Hale, his life verges a little on cliché, but he’s still fun to read, that is for sure. (★★★☆☆ | B-)