Review Detail

In Deeper Waters Featured
Young Adult Fiction 925
charming YA fantasy
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
IN DEEPER WATERS is an intriguing and fast-paced YA fantasy. Tal is the fourth of five royal children in a small kingdom afraid of magic. He holds a big secret in that he has the same powerful magic as his great-grandfather who had used it to wage untold wars. As such, Tal has been sheltered inside the castle to keep his magic a secret. Now, at 16, he is being taken on a tour to see the country their family rules for the first time.

Things begin to go awry pretty quickly, when they find a boy chained to a damaged boat with a huge chest of gold. This boy, Athlen, intrigues Tal pretty quickly, but when he sets him free, he runs into the sea. Tal is upset, but they must keep going into town. However, before long, Tal has had his life threatened and been kidnapped. As he tries to figure out who is behind it and how to escape, Tal must also consider how he wants to live his life when the dust settles.

What I loved: This was an action-packed and fast-paced read, and I appreciated the quick speed. Although there are a lot of intense and serious things going on, Tal manages to be hopeful and keep the tone of the book from getting too dark. I found the world-building really intriguing with some hints of THE LITTLE MERMAID plots, plus the politics of the area built by history. The romance was really great, and I loved the way it built and was tried by circumstance.

The characters were really intriguing here, and I appreciate the view on siblings through Tal's brothers and sisters with the emphasis on the love of family. Tal is somewhat naive, having been sheltered in the castle for most of his life, but he still manages to have deep insights and hope for the world around him. Athlen is awkward, endearing, and absolutely charming. Together, their chemistry was great.

There were some interesting themes about being true to yourself, embracing yourself wholly, loving deeply, the power of hope, politics, and forgiveness. This was a book and world that I would love to continue reading about, but I did appreciate that this book had a complete ending and could be a stand-alone. The writing and plot would be well-suited to a range of YA readers, including those on the younger side while also enjoyable for older YA readers.

Final verdict: A charming YA fantasy, IN DEEPER WATERS is an intriguing, fast-paced, and hopeful read that I would highly recommend for fans of Tamora Pierce and Amy Rose Capetta.
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