In Deeper Waters is queer coming of age fantasy adventure story about Tal a prince and the 4th of 5 kids. And his love interest Athlen who he saves only for him to jump overboard and mysteriously survive and be found on a island.
I would rate this book a solid 4/5 stars.
This book was advertised as for 14+ and that is the age range that I find fits it perfectly. This book would fit perfectly in the adventure books that I would have read in elementary and early high school only this time with an openly queer character as the leads.
And that in my opinion this is a perfect book for young queer people to read.
Importantly though if you don’t enjoy fantasy I don’t think this will be the book for you. As fantasy is a big element for the book and its characters.
The book kept a soft and steady pace and had its highs but for the most part was a quick read to get through.
Things that I enjoyed immensely about this book.
This book has homophobia to speak of. The main character Tal being openly Bi sexual and no characters speaking like there was anything wrong with that. Even the character himself having no inner conflict with falling in love with the a man (Athlen) outside of plot related issues. None of which have anything to do with sexuality.
Another thing that I enjoyed was that this was a very soft read with little tragedy happening to any of the characters. And all harm that does come can and will be fixed within the story.
The love story is also not drawn out and happens very fast with the only conflict to them together being plot related.
Character wise the main character Tal is a enjoyably relatable character to read.
Tal is described by the characters around him as a soft hearted. But that does not stop him from being able to stand up for himself and what he wants. So you won’t find this kind protagonist being a pushover.
Tal is also relatable in his insecurity and uncertainty in what he will do with his life. Him being the second youngest child and not as set into a role in the royal family. He was a lovely protaganist to fall in love with.
“You’re handsome and spoiled, but resilient. You’re the kind of royal the fairy tales talk about” being one of the lines said to our protagonist Tal.
Athlen was also enjoyable to read. Though I will not be able to go into him much here without running into some plot spoilers.
Through and through I very much enjoyed this book. and should definitely be on any young queer’s must reads.
Now I will be getting into the spoiler section of this review for people that want it.
From here there will be story spoilers for In deeper waters by F.T Lukens.
Fantasy plays a big part in the story.
With the Main character having magic, shifters being a part of this world. And of course the main love interest Athlen being a merman.
The portrayal of Athlen was very well done. with hints to what Athen is being told through the main character catching flashes of ‘red and gold’ here and there in the early book.
And I very much liked the ‘star crossed lovers’ thing that they had to go on with Tal being a prince and Athlen being well a merman.
“Tal’s heart lurched. Athlen missed the sea. Tal was home in a castle made of stone”
but like I said earlier I very much enjoyed the lack of homophobia in this world. With the all the characters we run into being fine with Tal being with Athlen.
Tal’s mother even encouraging Tal to pursue Athlen.
Tal’s magic was also a cool surprise when reading this book. With the danger that it could do mixing with the kind hearted personality Tal presented.
Tal not being a pushover was what made me truly love the character.
Tal not giving in to what the other characters wanted even if he wanted to help others because it would compromise his wants and values.
Consequently the whole chunk with Tal on the ship being broken down to try and get him to use his magic but him not doing it because he didn’t want to give in to them being a very tense but fun to read ending with him fighting back and falling overboard to be saved by Athlen.
Speaking of Athlen and Tal.
I loved there love story.
Tal’s confession of: ” “I know we’re young.” he blurted. “I know that we met under stressful circumstances. I know that I’m a prince and you’re a merman. But I also know that I’ve never felt this way about anyone else. I know we’re both the last, and we’ve felt alone. But we could be alone together.” “
Therefore this left me with one note when I read this: Aww.
in conclusion this was through and through a very enjoyable book to read. And should definitely be on any young queer peoples must reads.