|Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)
The Queen of Cups is a heartwarming short adventure about Theo and their travels to the Oracle and through a death-defying ordeal. Although the protagonist is a neurodivergent non-binary individual, it is not the focus of the tale, choosing instead to looking at the journey ahead and Theo’s adventure.
Ren’s writing is lovely and well put together for a first-time publication. The world they develop is clearly thought through. The Oracle’s position in it all, despite the story being short, is clearly defined, as well as some aspects of the beliefs and magic. Within the story, Ren identifies Theo’s quirks and passions. Truthfully, the entire tale is beautiful.
Yet, despite the beauty of the work, I can only give it 3 out 5 stars. Why? Frankly, it comes down to the length. Short stories as a whole are difficult, and this one needed at least another couple thousand words to flesh out Theo’s perilous journey – “for the journey is long and the ocean’s tests are many”. For a story whose description ends on such a tempting tale, the fact that Theo does not embark on their quest until more than halfway through the story is disheartening. Adding a bit more to the journey may have fleshed out my support of Theo through their arduous trek.
That being said, the future of this author is promising. The world they created in this tale gives a lot of promise, and with writing so lovely how can there not be a bright future ahead?
What’s it about?
A mysterious woman known only as The Oracle resides on the seashore, blessing ships and telling fortunes for those who can pay her price. For new-made ship captain Theo Marinos, the price is higher than it first seems. If Theo has any hope of surviving their ship’s first voyage, they must trust not just in The Oracle, but in themself–for the journey is long, and the ocean’s tests are many.