Change often starts with the smallest of whispers. Like-minded people building it up to a roar.The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
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.
If in all my life I were to recommend a feel good book to anyone it would be this one. This gem of a book is absolute perfection. I don’t have enough words that can portray just how much I love it. It is the most exquisite story I have read in a while and I had no idea of just how much I needed it! It’s dazzling and it will forever hold a huge piece of my heart.
The story follows Linus Baker, an overweight and extremely average case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY). His job is to visit magical orphanages and through his observation during his stay in those, recommend whether they should remain open or not. Linus has spent the last 17 years of his life doing just that. He follows every rule ever created by the company he works for and has no other hobbies or aspirations and so, if we are to be quite honest, he spends his life barely existing. And it seems like that suits him just fine.
Until the day when he is unexpectedly assigned to a visit to Marsyas Island Orphanage by Extremely Upper Management. The orphanage is a level four classified and houses six of the most dangerous magical children: a gnome named Talia, a forest sprite named Phee, a wyvern named Theodore, an unidentifiable green blob that goes by Chauncey, a were-Pomeranian named Sal, and the Antichrist, or as his friends call him, Lucy. The orphanage is run by Arthur Parnassus who is more of a father to the kids and will fiercely protect these incredibly exceptional children at all costs.
The plot itself is simple but oh so sweet. When Linus first arrives in this island he is ready to work on this assignment as he did all the others in his long career. But as he got to know these beautiful kids – their dreams, their traumas and all the unjust things they had to go through – he finally starts to question the rules and regulations created by DICOMY and see how much they have failed the ones they have sworn to protect. And so, he begins to fight on behalf of the orphanage – whether it be against the bigotry the children have to face from the mainlanders next door or even against the institution he works for.
With such a simple premise it becomes clear that the characters are the ones who really drive this story. I have to hand it to Klune, he knows how to make you care about every single one of this remarkable characters. Linus can be extremely frustrating at times but he also shows how much he cares in his own awkward and funny way. Arthur though…I fell in love with Arthur immediately, from his very first appearance, just as Linus did. And holy moly the romance between these two 🥺😍😍 it is so soft and gentle and genuine and absolutely PERFECT. Every single interaction, every conversation, and all that tension (that good type 🙃)…I’m EMOTION. And every single one of these children are marvellous, they made my heart clench with so much passion and they just teach us, and every adult in the story so many things about being human. And to be able to follow along as Linus grows and the person he becomes because of all that he learns through these children is absolutely uplifting.
This story is a full lesson on life and what it means to be truly alive. It explores true beauty in the most unlikely of places. It’s a story about breaking out of our so called bubbles of comfort, that at many times just trap us and keep us from finding a happiness we may not even know we have been seeking. It’s about finding a home, your true home, and that this home isn’t a place but people, a family where you fit in like you have never fit in before. It’s about love and how we sometimes find that magnificent feeling where we least expect it.
Klune explores the fear and bigotry that are ever so present on society, and reminds us of how important it is to stand up to any type of prejudice, and he doesn’t fail to deliver a message of hope and unity and that people can change through the voices of a few. That we should never be afraid to speak up. And it is a story about growth and compassion and hope. A story that put a smile on my face and happy tears in my eyes and filled me up with the most delightful feeling of bliss. It has become a favourite that I’ll forever hold close to my heart.
This book was heartwarming, enchanting, magical, diverse, absolutely hilarious, and the best fantasy love story. And it was also so nice to be reminded that there are many people in the world working to make it a gentler and more compassionate place for us all. Thank Klune. Thank you for this story that I’ll cherish forever.