Merworld News: Book Review - In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens

In Deeper Waters Book Review

Overall Rating:

  • 4/5 Starfish; highly recommend.


  • The main character, Prince Taliesin or Tal for short, who shows us his vulnerable side throughout much of the novel. A genuine and needed shift from the standard “tough guy” stereotype we put on many male characters.
  • Athlen, the merman, who co-stars along Tal throughout the story. He’s quirky, big-hearted, and the right balance of human and otherworldly. It also helps that he has a red and gold tail. I seem to remember another fantasy novel mercreature who rocks a flashy red tail 😊
  • The banter between Tal and his siblings. Makes for a relatable family dynamic and adds humor throughout the book.


  • Some of the scenes between key plot points are a little drawn out and overly introspective for an action-based novel.

In Deeper Waters, by F.T. Lukens, is a touching tale about a boy coming of age, finding his own strength, connection, and romance against all odds. At sixteen years old, Prince Taliesin, or Tal for short, goes on a journey to explore his kingdom for the first time. Designed to be a trip full of discovery and fun, Tal instead finds himself at the center of a plot that threatens his life and family. Tal’s special form of fire magic is feared across the land and therefore has been hidden from his country and surrounding kingdoms. Tal’s unsure about his powers, until he encounters an unlikely cheerleader in Athlen, the last merman in the world.

F.T. Lukens does a wonderful job of tugging at your heartstrings throughout the novel. Whether by delving into the physical pain that Tal goes through, or the blossoming romance between Tal and Athlen, Luken’s writing plays to a reader’s emotions. The setting comes to life with sensory detail and, although the entirety of the novel takes place above the water line, Lukens gives you glimpses into the merfolk world via Athlen’s backstory.

My favorite part of this book is the character development. Lukens does a wonderful job of immersing the reader in the main character’s insecurity, love of family, and ultimately courage. Through a series of unpleasant events, Tal grows stronger and surer of himself and his special place on the earth – a theme that is both uplifting and relatable for people finding their path in life. All in all, this is a quick, easy read that immerses you in a fairy-tale world chocked full of royalty, treachery, romance, and magic. Definitely a worthy weekend read, made all the better by the fact that a merman is centerstage throughout!

Check out In Deeper Waters at your favorite book retailer. Until next time, Merworld. You flipping rock!