I am so excited to be able to share my review for In Deeper Waters, hosted by Turn the Page Tours! I was immediately drawn into this book by the cover and the description completely won me over. You’ll definitely want to check out the giveaway for a copy of this book, it’s a must have!
Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and SimonTeen for providing me with a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler free and honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens
Published: April 20, 2021
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger to save him when he is kidnapped during his coming-of-age tour in this swoony adventure that is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
Prince Tal has long awaited his coming-of-age tour. After spending most of his life cloistered behind palace walls as he learns to keep his forbidden magic secret, he can finally see his family’s kingdom for the first time. His first taste of adventure comes just two days into the journey, when their crew discovers a mysterious prisoner on a burning derelict vessel.
Tasked with watching over the prisoner, Tal is surprised to feel an intense connection with the roguish Athlen. So when Athlen leaps overboard and disappears, Tal feels responsible and heartbroken, knowing Athlen could not have survived in the open ocean.
That is, until Tal runs into Athlen days later on dry land, very much alive, and as charming—and secretive—as ever. But before they can pursue anything further, Tal is kidnapped by pirates and held ransom in a plot to reveal his rumored powers and instigate a war. Tal must escape if he hopes to save his family and the kingdom. And Athlen might just be his only hope…
If you are a fan of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, then you are going to love this book. I went in thinking this would be more Pirates of the Caribbean-esque, but it definitely leans more towards the coming of age tour aspect and while there are pirates, they are not the main focus. The main focus is in fact, our magical prince on his coming of age tour trying to hide he has magic while also simultaneously trying not to die as he keeps getting pulled into more and more dangerous situations. Oh, and there’s a cute boy he keeps running into who he just can’t stop thinking about!
I loved the magical aspect of this book and appreciated that we got to see glimpses of all the different kinds of magic available in this world. Some books like to mention that there is other magic out there, but fail to show us what that looks like and what it means. Tal encounters all kinds of different people and different magic on his tour, which I thought was “fun”. And by fun, I mean terrifying for Tal, but interesting for me.
… but Tal was afraid. Afraid his rescue was all a dream. Afraid of recapture. Afraid of himself, of the monster he’d become in his rage and grief.
One thing I wished we got more of though was the tour aspect. Tal doesn’t seem to make it past his first stop before chaos reigns and I wished we could have seen a bit more of the kingdom and surrounding areas before things went downhill. But, I can appreciate how the story builds and moves even without the additional travel time.
Althen, our prince’s hero, is an interesting character, but I wasn’t necessarily a fan of him as a love interest for Tal. Maybe it was just the dynamic written between them, but it seemed like they went from strangers to kind of friends to lovers very quickly and it made it feel like the romance was disingenuous, especially from Althen’s side. Tal was in love with this boy from the second he laid eyes on him, he had no chance, but Althen definitely did not seem interested at all until suddenly he was. But as a person, I love Althen. I thought he was very sweet and kind hearted, even as he’s avoiding Tal as best he can.
“I know you saved me when you didn’t have to. I know you love your family. I know you care for the people of your kingdom. I know that something that is a part of you could never be bad.”
Tal’s brothers were also very interesting. We see a lot of Garrett in the beginning but we don’t really get to know him that well. And then Tal mentions that he is closer with Kest, but again, we barely see Kest and even in their interactions that we do see, I don’t see that closeness that Tal mentions. I think in general, I just wanted more time with the other characters. This book is very fast paced and I think slowing it down in certain moments would have helped established the relationships between Tal and his brothers, or between Tal and Althen, a lot better.
Overall though, I really did enjoy this book. Every obstacle Tal faced pushed him into learning more about himself and allowed him to appreciate his magic instead of fearing it. I loved watching his character grow! Though, I’m curious if there will be a sequel for his younger sister Corrie, because that would be a really cool book! Definitely a favorite of mine and I hope we can get a sequel or a spin off!
Denying such an integral part of his being had only made it worse when the time came to use his magic in his own defense. Maybe it was time to try something new. Maybe it was time to heal and trust himself, as Athlen trusted him.
F.T. Lukens is the author of four young adult novels published through Interlude Press, and her book Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic was a 2017 Cybils Award finalist in YA Speculative Fiction, won the ForeWord INDIES Book of the Year Gold Award for YA Fiction, and the Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction, and it was also recently named to ALA’s 2019 Rainbow List. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. Visit her at FTLukens.com.
Up for grabs, we have ONE (1) physical copy and ONE (1) digital copy of In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens. This giveaway will end on April 26th at 11:59 PM CST. The physical copy will be available to win by US residents only and the digital copy will be available to win by INTL residents only. To enter, click the link below!
DISCLAIMER: This giveaway will run until April 26th at 11:59 PM CST. The physical copy will be available to win by US residents only, and the digital copy will be available to win by INTL only. No giveaway accounts allowed. This giveaway is in no way associated with Instagram.