Zora went outside after Layla fell asleep. There were people talking, discussing.

Books like The Cup and the Prince by Day Leitao kind of piss me off. I’m sure you’ve read books like this one before. They have all the makings of a fantastic story. The overall premise is great, the ideas are intriguing, there’s an opportunity for amazing commentary, and you’re genuinely excited to read it. But the second you pick up the book, you start cringing. And that cringing does not cease once while reading it.

I Can’t Handle The Writing

Literally every single problem The Cup and the Prince has can be summed up with one word: writing.

And, unfortunately, this can be applied to pretty much any piece of the writing itself. Whether we’re talking about world-building, character development, romance, plot, and even the commentary opportunities…the writing hurt it. Immensely.

Nevermind the fact that Leitao was very clearly trying to meld modern-day ideas with a fantasy setting but couldn’t quite make it work. And this is a result of poor writing. I genuinely felt as though I were reading a book about a teenager I could have known growing up. Never once did it feel organic within the actual setting of the novel. This is a problem.

Literally everything–and I do mean everything–felt like a missed opportunity. Leitao desperately needed an editor to sit down with her and really explain why this story wasn’t working as is. It is truly such a shame that nobody did because The Cup and the Prince really did have a lot of potential. But the writing just couldn’t take this book where it needed to go.

Why We Always Tell Authors to SHOW

I honestly don’t think I could ever drive this point home often enough. There are so many times that I find myself reading a book from a new author and I just want to grab them by the shoulders and scream this point at them. If you are writing your story as one giant summary it’s going to suck. And it’s so frustrating to see how this book suffers so greatly from that very problem.

We could have had a brilliant book about an exceptional woman who refuses to put up with the nonsense men force upon our gender. We could have had a book with a phenomenal commentary on male-dominated spaces and the over-sexualization of women without their consent. This book had so much potential to give us a broad narrative that shed light on these issues spearheaded by someone powerful.

But instead, we are left with underdeveloped characters, world, and plot coated in shoddy writing. And I’m just left feeling that this book needed twelve more drafts before even considering shifting toward final publication.

I Wish I Didn’t Have To Say It

Too often I find myself in the unfortunate situation where I’m reading a book like this. All the could have beens are truly frustrating. I’m not the least bit surprised that The Cup and the Prince falls into this very category for me. All you have to do is take a look at who the publisher is and you know the chances of this book having the right amount of editing for both content and grammatical structure is low.

I’m not saying it never happens, but it can be rare. And as much as I hate the idea of gatekeeping, it breaks my heart to see books like this that have so much potential and fail so strongly. Cause this could have been a fantastic book. It just…wasn’t.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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