Friday, May 7, 2021

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune


Reviewed by Ambrea


Linus Baker is a quiet man.  He’s a case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth; he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat; he listens to old records, attempts to stay beneath the notice of his nosy neighbor and horrible boss, and generally leads a bland, unassuming life.  However, one day Linus is unexpectedly summoned to visit Extremely Upper Management and he’s given a classified assignment:  he’s to travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage to investigate the welfare of six extraordinary – and extraordinarily dangerous – children and their caretaker, Arthur Parnassus.

But Marsyas Island has many secrets and many surprises in store for Linus, which just might open his eyes to an entirely new world of possibilities – and a bright future.

When I dived into The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy it.  Even now, I don’t think I can fully express how much I loved reading Klune’s novel and meeting his wonderful characters.  I adored everyone I encountered:  Arthur, Lucy, Chauncey, Sal, Talia, Phee, Theodore, and Zoe – they were all, wonderful, memorable characters.  And Linus—oh, dear, sweet, precious Linus – is perhaps my favorite of protagonists, simply because he isn’t who you expect to be a hero, but, more than that, he’s a singularly enjoyable fellow.

Linus is careful, but curious; he’s timid, but determined; he’s worried about his growing gut and his thinning hair and his rapidly progressing age.  He has a tendency to sputter when he’s antagonized or tongue tied.  He’s also a bit of a coward, and yet he would risk his life for any one of the magical children he meets.  It was delightful to see how he grew as a character and how he learned that love can arrive at the most surprising times. 

Like Linus, I also fell in love.

I loved the vivid landscape and the vibrant characters; I loved the humor and heart and wholesome sweetness; I loved the whole wonderful, quirky story.  Although House in the Cerulean Sea moves at a much more sedate pace, I found I enjoyed the slow building of the plot and the gradual construction of the character’s relationships.  Truthfully, I can’t think of one thing I didn’t like about Klune’s novel.

Oh, wait, yes, I can:  Extremely Upper Management.  I didn’t like them, but I suppose that was the point.

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