In Deeper Waters by F. T. Lukens

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Title: In Deeper Waters
Author: F. T. Lukens
Publisher: McElderry Books
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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…

I hadn’t read any books by F. T. Lukens before I picked up In Deeper Water, but if they are even a smidgen as good as In Deeper Waters, I need to get them on my TBR as soon as possible. It was everything that I expected it to be and more, and the romance was just so wholesome.

Tal and Athlen were just perfect characters, and they complimented each other so well. They each had their own issues that they needed to work through, but that didn’t impact their relationship and how they treated each other and all of the supporting characters. Talking of the supporting characters, I loved all of them. It was terrific to see Tal’s family that supported each other through everything and also had adult conversations where everyone was listened to.

Even though it doesn’t come across like that in the synopsis, In Deeper Waters is definitely romance heavy, so if that isn’t something that you normally like, I may suggest staying away from it. But if you love romance in your books or fantasy romance without the steam, In Deeper Waters may just be the book for you. The romance in In Deeper Waters is just so wholesome that it gives you all of the feels, and you are just rooting for them to come together.

While there is a plot to In Deeper Waters, I wouldn’t say that it is as important as you would normally expect. It does play second to the romance, but that isn’t to its detriment because it still holds its own. I could guess most of the plot points before they happened, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment because it was so fast paced, so I was constantly turning over the page.

But my favourite part of In Deeper Waters was how neatly F. T. Lukens tied the story together. So as much as I would love a sequel, possibly following some of Tal’s siblings, I don’t feel that I would be disappointed if I didn’t get one. We did get to find out what everyone was up to and where the events at the end of the book had taken all of the characters, which I appreciated.

I cannot recommend enough that if you love cute and wholesome romances, you must pick up In Deeper Waters. I can’t wait to see what F. T. Lukens will write next because it will be going on my TBR as soon as it is released.

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