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Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea

TJ Klune

Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world. Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light. The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

My Rating:

Charming and quirky, The House in the Cerulean Sea is a light and joyously uplifting tale by Lambda Literary Award–winning author, T.J. Klune.

Linus Baker is a man who is fastidiously in love with rules. It makes him the perfect candidate for the bureaucratic job of investigating orphanages for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, DICOMY. When he is instructed by Extremely Upper management to investigate an orphanage on an island, occupied by dangerous youths, Linus’s small, grey, grim world as a cog in the machine of government agency is lit up in brilliant colors, if only he can be bothered to see it.

At first reticent, down right petrified and a little bit of a wet noodle, Linus discovers the occupants of the orphanage are more than their records imply. With hopes feelings, and dreams, these magical children, deemed monsters by some, weasel their way into Linus’s heart. So too does the calm and caring proprietor, Arthur Parnassus, whose fierce love and loyalty for these unique children is as endearing as his strange outfits and peculiar teaching methods.

Too long Linus has followed the rulebook, thinking he was doing his best for the magical children whom he has interviewed throughout his long tenure at DICOMY. With the help of Arthur and his wards, he begins to see he wasn’t doing near enough, and so his heart dares to start beating, and he finds that life should be lived in color, not at some dreary desk, under constantly grey skies.

At times reminiscent of the movie ‘Brazil’ by director Terry Gilliam, Klune paints his own picture of a man seeking out the true joys of life, the true joy of living at all really. Witty, fun, filled with laughter and so much hope, The House in the Cerulean Sea is a refreshingly brilliant novel, utterly enjoyable.

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