Boy oh boy, do I have an amazing book to share with you today!
Do you love swashbuckling adventure stories filled with mages, witches, and merpeople, oh my! Stories with pirates and mercenaries and royal machinations? If this sounds like your jam––and since you’re here––I’m guessing it does. You should RUN to the nearest bookstore and buy this book.
Prince Tal has spent his childhood hidden behind castle walls. His forbidden magic now under control, he sets off on his official come-of-age tour with his older brother, Garrett. Anxious to see the kingdom for the first time in his life, Tal dreams of adventure.
Within days, their ship comes across burning wreckage with a lone survivor. Tal is tasked with supervising the prisoner, but the connection he immediately feels for Athlen shocks him. Of course, Athlen throwing himself overboard and disappears beneath the waves, Tal can’t help but feel like it’s his fault.
So when he runs into Athlen on dry land, he’s determined to find out the truth––both behind how Athlan survived and Tal’s budding feelings. But before he can do either, Tal is kidnapped by pirates with a mysterious agenda. He has to escape if he wants to save his family, his kingdom, and his life. And Athlen may be the only person who can help him.
This book is just plain fun. From start to finish it is everything feel-good adventure stories have. It’s well-paced with plenty of tension to keep you turning the pages again and again. There’s heart and humor and so much warmth that when the gut-wrenching moments happen they really HAPPEN.
I loved every relationship in this book. Tal and his siblings are just too cute for words, but are also relatable in so many of the quiet moments of the book. Their love is obvious in every interaction, and I really loved seeing that come to life on the page. Especially when it feels like so often family dynamics are portrayed as dysfunctional, it was refreshing to read such sweet sibling love.
That’s not to say everything is peaches and cream. There’s tension and bad decisions and villainy run amuck. Tal is a complete cinnamon roll, but even he has his own emotional journey to go through. We see a complex side to acceptance, which is sometimes you reject yourself before anyone else can, even if there’s no evidence that they will.
It’s adorable to set the book in Tal’s own come-of-age tour because really this is about Tal finding and accepting himself. He goes through a lot, and has to learn not to rely on his royalty, or his siblings, or his magic to get him through. It’s so relatable, magic and royalty aside, because we all have to learn how to find our own way through life at some point. We don’t always make the right choices, but like Tal, hopefully we learn that it isn’t the choice itself, but what we learn and how we grow that matters.
This book is about acceptance on so many levels. No one blinks an eye at Tal having a crush on Athlen, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s the relationships between royals and bodyguards, between friends, and even the acceptance of magic in all forms.
There’s so many layers to the characters and struggles, I think that readers will find a lot to relate to and identify with. It’s fun and immersed in the essence of fairy tales, which sort of makes the whole book feel like a warm hug. It’s familiar but the characters are so real and so dynamic, that you turn the pages because you’re invested in finding out what happens to them, even if you sort of think you already know.
But it’s also not as familiar as it feels. When creatures we recognize are introduced, they’re still unique in their own way. They fit within this story, recognizable and still new.
In all, I loved this adventure. I adore Tal and Athlen, love the siblings, and am here for the magic. The villain was a little flat, but then, this isn’t a story about dynamic villains. It’s a story about the hero and love and finding both within yourself. If you’re looking for a story that just feels good, this is the book for you. It’s heart-warming, it’s a great time, and it’s filled with characters that feel like they’re your friends.
Four magical stars.
Thank you Turn The Page tours and McElderry Books for my copy and including me on this tour!
Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more awesome posts, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy!
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…
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.
Before you go, be sure to click the magic and enter to win either a physical or digital copy!
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 di