Reviews

A book for the times- A House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

World building: 3/5

Diversity: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

“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. “

I started reading this mainly because it was written by T.J. Klune. I’ve really fallen in love with his Green Creek series and so I wanted to see what this newest book would hold. I must admit, I didn’t like this book at the beginning. It’s written in a bit of a different style than what I was use to from Klune, but I held on and by the end I was in love. Klune just has this way of writing relationships at just the right pace for me that brings me ultimate satisfaction and melts my heart. That being said, while there’s a romantic element it is small and not the major point of the story.

Characters. What a cast of characters! They’re weird, but quirky and they grow on you so quickly. You have Linus, who is truly the star of our story. He’s middle aged and while well-intentioned person is just kinda stuck in the rut of life. There’s lots of growth in this guy that just makes my heart happy. Then we have Arthur. The story doesn’t spend a super amount of time on him specifically, but what we do get is enough to really understand why he does what he does and what his motivations are. Then, the children. I don’t want to give anything away about them, but they really bring the energy to this story.

World building. This novel is set in what just seems like an alternate earth. There’s the magical creatures of course and a few new governmental agencies that are mentioned, but its a pretty basic earth.

I would definitely say this is a character driven story. There is a plot, but it doesn’t even exist without our characters. The main point of this story is the growth of the characters and the family they become. This book does put into perspective some of the prejudices that we unknowingly can have and how once we realize them that we can do better. I particularly enjoyed this quote.

Diversity. Our main characters are both gay and we do have some lesbians that are mentioned at the end. One of the children is a child of color as well. Compared to some books I’m use to it’s fairly minor, but still nice.

If you love found family stories then this book is definitely for you! If you love slower romances this is also for you! If, like me, you enjoy lots of character driven moments and growth then I think you will also enjoy this story. The style in the beginning isn’t my favorite, but if you can push through it to get to the part with the island then I think you too will fall in love with this story. ❤

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