The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Published 3/17/20 by Tor Books
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
What an incredible story.
There’s so much positive diversity and LGBTQ+ representation. I honestly didn’t know that this had queer representation until it happened. It doesn’t take over the story, but it’s too cute that I wouldn’t have cared if it did.
Do you ever read your new favorite book and can’t think of words to describe why you liked it? That’s me in this review. I finished this last month, and I still don’t know quite what I want to say. I just need you all to read it.
I will say that there was one point where the children got on my nerves. I think it was mainly because I listened to the audiobook while I followed along, and the voices he used for them were not my favorite. If you had the option between reading physically and listening—physically is the way to go. I didn’t drop it any stars because of that (obviously).
The ending almost made me cry happy, happy tears. Linus experiences incredible character development throughout the novel, and I could only root for his weird little soul. He’s the type of main character that you absolutely despise at first, then you realize what’s going on behind the scenes, and you immediately change your mind. The love he develops for the children and Arthur is indescribable.
There’s so much heartbreak in this book, but it’s always followed by so much love and humor. There will be words said that will piss you off. I wanted to throw the book because of how mean people were to the kids, but then I thought about all the positive words they heard from Linus and Arthur. It’s just a whirlwind of a book.
Even if you end up not enjoying the book you’ll come out of it feeling like a better person. There are so many life lessons thrown at you in this book. It’s important to let others be who they are instead of oppressing them. There are a lot of similarities between the world in the book and our world. It really hits home. All I have to say is go into this with an open mind and don’t give up on it too quickly. If you don’t like it, then you don’t like it. I just hope that you’ll give it the best chance.
I also posted a review on my Instagram, if anyone wanted to check that out.
Here are a few quotes I wanted to share with y’all:
“Sometimes, he thought to himself in a house in the cerulean sea, you were able to choose the life you wanted.”
“We are who we are not because of our birthright, but because of what we choose to do in this life. It cannot be boiled down to black and white. Not when there is so much in between. You cannot say something is moral or immoral without understanding the nuances behind it.”
“There was green. Bright and beautiful greens of waving grass, and what appeared to be flowers in pinks and purples and golds. They disappeared into white sand. And beyond the white was cerulean.”
“But as long as you remember to be just and kind like I know you are, what those people think won’t matter in the long run. Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as you remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”
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