There Once Was a Ship That Was Put to Sea: In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens

Release Date: April 20, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult


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…

My Thoughts

Comparing In Deeper Waters to Pirates of the Caribbean and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue may be accurate, but unfortunately I think it contributed to people (including me!) assuming Lukens’ latest novel was about queer pirates. There are queer people and pirates, but the main characters are not, alas, queer pirates. But that’s okay because Tal and Athlen are so darn charming that any queer pirate-related disappointment is quickly forgotten. Tal is bisexual and while Athlen doesn’t discuss his sexual or romantic attractions in detail, he is attracted to Tal. Their romance is both insta-love and slow-burn, and it’s hard not to root for them…

Read the rest of this review at

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.

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