Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.
As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.
With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.
Thoughts and Themes: Once I finished reading In Deeper Waters, I knew I had to get my hands on this book so I pre-ordered it. Thankfully I winded up getting the chance to read an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley because I didn’t want to have to wait for this book.
This book does have a slow start because they have to introduce the characters to you, the world, and the magic that is involved. This being said the slow start was perfectly fine with me as I loved learning about these characters, their magic, and the new kingdom that they are tasked with running.
The book does pick up around the 50% mark as you get to see a lot more action happening with fighting scenes and also scenes where the team is introduced to new people. I enjoyed reading the scenes in which the team was in danger as this made me want to continue reading to see if they got themselves out this time and how they managed to do this. I liked getting a chance to see them all in action as a team and see how their strengths work with each other to defeat anything/anyone they come across.
Something I really enjoyed about this book was the theme of found family, I just think that the book captured the feelings of this quite well. I really enjoyed seeing each of the character’s relationships with each other and how supportive they are of one another. I also really liked how they all felt like a family and it felt like they had known each other their whole lives.
I really enjoyed getting to learn about the magic that was involved in this new kingdom and how the magic affected the king. I liked learning alongside each of the characters because the reader’s reaction sometimes mirrors Arek’s reactions as he finds out more about what he got himself into.
Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters as they are the team that is working with King Arek to run this kingdom. You get to meet his best friend Matt, Sionna, Rion, Lila, and Bethany, each of which I winded up loving from the moment that you meet them. It’s really easy to see why King Arek keeps these people around and why he is so scared to lose them.
I loved all of the characters and their relationships with each other. I liked getting to see how Arek interacted with each of the people on his team and to see him stumble through trying to woo anyone. I really enjoyed getting a chance to see each of the characters on their own to see their traits, characteristics, and abilities shine on their own. I thought it was great to have moments in which each of them was able to provide Arek with something that another person wouldn’t be able to provide.
Something else I enjoyed about the characters was the number of Queer characters that were included in this book. I don’t believe any sexualities were ever named but you see who each of the characters end up dating and/or who they attempt to have relationships with.
Writing Style: This story is written in the first person through the perspective of King Arek which I thought was great. I really liked getting to see everything through his perspective even if there were times that I wanted to know what others thought about certain things that were happening. I really would’ve liked to see some of the stories unfold through Matt’s perspective but I think if that was included certain scenes wouldn’t have been as impactful to the reader.
F.T. Lukens is an award-winning author of Young Adult fiction. A sci fi enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Wars and Star Trek and is a longtime member of their college’s science-fiction club. F.T. holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with their spouse, three kids, three dogs, and three cats.
F.T.’s urban fantasy novel The Rules and Regulations For Mediating Myths & Magic won several awards including the 2017 Foreword INDIES Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction, the 2017 IPBA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best Teen Fiction and the 2017 Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction. It was also named to the 2019 ALA Rainbow Book List.