The House in the Cerulean SeaThe House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Published by Tor Books on March 17, 2020
Pages: 398
View Title on Goodreads
Bantering Books Rating: five-stars

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.

Bantering Books Review

“His thoughts were all cerulean.”

Mine, too. My thoughts are all cerulean, now that I have read TJ Klune’s wonderful novel, The House in the Cerulean Sea. And never have they been tinted such a brilliant, exquisite shade of blue.

Linus Baker lives routinely by the rules. He is a dedicated caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth; he knows every word of its RULES AND REGULATIONS by heart. At the end of each workday, he returns home to an empty house, comforted only by his classic record collection and his cantankerous (but lovable) cat, Calliope.

Then unexpectedly, Linus is given a top-secret assignment by Extremely Upper Management. His mission? To travel to a clandestine orphanage on Marsyas Island, where six highly magical, highly dangerous children live. While there, Linus is expected to observe both the children and the master of the orphanage, Arthur Parnassus, report his findings to Extremely Upper Management, and ultimately determine whether the orphanage should be closed.

But as in all good tales, Linus soon finds there is much more to Arthur and the children than meets the eye. And much to his astonishment, he also discovers a quiet yearning within his own heart for a life he never even knew he wanted.

Prepare yourselves. I am about to gush. Profusely.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is an absolute treasure. It is a pot of gold found at the end of a rainbow. It is a priceless jewel cupped protectively in one’s hands. It is a perfectly delicious sundae with a cherry on top. It is a golden ray of sunlight shining through the blackest of clouds. It is a stunningly spectacular summer sunset.

And bar none, it is the kindest, gentlest, most loving story I have ever read. Ever. Love and kindness virtually radiate from Klune’s words and ever so tenderly spiral around you like a soft, warm blanket. The entire reading experience is incredibly comforting and calming.

Like Linus, the novel is one that I never even knew I needed. Or wanted. I am grateful to have found it.

Klune’s tale is, for sure, a fantastical one, filled with lovable magical children and endearing magical creatures. It has charm, whimsy, and a touch of romance. It has gorgeously simple writing.

It also has impeccable humor. The novel is truly hysterical, in a cleverly dry and witty sort of way. It may very well be the most amusing story I have ever read.

But do you know what I love most about The House in the Cerulean Sea?

Its gently powerful messages. Because not only is the novel about kindness – it’s about prejudice and how its roots burrow in fear and misunderstanding. It’s about encouraging people to be who they are and accepting and loving them for it. It’s about the freedom to love whomever you want to love, wholly and freely.

It’s beautiful. Klune has written a beautiful, beautiful book.

Indeed, the story does feel slightly preachy and a bit syrupy at times. The narrative is also quite predictable and crammed with many common literary tropes. But really, none of it matters.

Why? Because the The House in the Cerulean Sea is special. Books as unforgettable as this are few and far between. And even though it may feel like you’ve previously read this story, there is an exceptionally good chance you will adore it more than all the others that have come before.

Sincerely, I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. I will never be able to gather the proper words to accurately express how I marvel at the magic of this story.

I know, deep within my soul, that it should not be missed by anyone, as it is so lovingly written for everyone.

Anyone and everyone with a beating heart, that is.

And if, regrettably, you have misplaced your heart somewhere on this treacherous road known as life. . . The House in the Cerulean Sea may be just the story you need to find it once again.