By TJ Klune
(or 5 out of 5 stars)
Reigniting a Reader
My favorite genre to read is mystery/thriller. I always seek out books that are intense, spooky, and addictively page turning. Which is probably why The House in the Cerulean Sea hadn’t reached my TBR list. The book started popping up on my Tiktok with rave reviews of “magical”, “sweet”, and “comforting”. Author V.E. Schwab was quoted on the back of the book saying, “It is like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket. Simply perfect.”
After a very difficult year, I decided to give the recommendations a try and I am so glad I did! The House in the Cerulean Sea was the perfect form of comfort reading and exactly the escape from reality I needed.
I love a character driven story and TJ Klune delivers on so many levels. Linus Baker is a case worker for the Department In Charge Of Magical Youths. A by-the-book, rigid, rule follower charged with investigating orphanages of children with magical abilities and reporting on the effectiveness of the orphanage as an establishment. His responsibility is to remain impartial and professional, he is specifically instructed not to get involved or attached. That all comes crumbling to the ground when he is assigned a special case at Marsyas Island Orphanage. There he meets a band of magical misfit children ranging from a sprite, to a gnome, to a shape shifter, to a wyvern, to a green gob of goop, to the literal son of the devil! The children have a notorious reputation of being dangerous and kept away from society under the supervision of Arthur Parnassus. Very quickly, Linus begins to see that the rumors surrounding Marsyas have been unfairly amplified and the residents of the island are far more special than he could have ever imagined.
A Satisfying Slow Burn
Not only are the characters phenomenal but the world building is completely engrossing! I wouldn’t say that The House in the Cerulean Sea is a “page turner”, but it is a book that I absolutely could not put down. It is a book that I reached for when I had any spare minutes to just read a few pages. The lush, vibrancy of Marsyas Island is one that I want to live in forever!
Late in Life Coming of Age
Linus is a reluctant protagonist. He is someone who thinks he knows who he is, what he wants, and what life is supposed to offer him. To watch him come to life more and more throughout the story as his bonds on Marsyas Island deepen with the children, with the sprite groundskeeper Zoe, and with the mysterious and warm Arthur also brought me to life! It was nice to see someone a little older going on an adventure and getting their happy ending later in life.
This is my favorite book of the year!
If you need a little escapism…
If you need an uplifting story…
If you need a little magic…
Then you need The House in the Cerulean Sea!
Have you read this book? What did you think?