Book Review | The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Well, what can I say about this charming book? I absolutely loved it. I smiled, I laughed and I cried. The House in the Cerulean is my favourite book of the year so far. Nothing comes close actually.

“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.”

One of my favourite authors, V.E. Schwab, describes this book as “like being wrapped in a big gay blanket” and that pretty much sums it up. This book is about acceptance and found family – with a little bit of magic thrown in too. This book is utterly charming, slightly wacky, incredibly witty and tear-jerkingly comforting.

The book features a cast of bizarre yet loveable characters. Chauncey, a green gelatinous blob who dreams of becoming a bellhop (he must be protected at all costs); Phee, a standoffish garden sprite; Theodore, a wyvern (a winged serpent-like creature) who fiercely protects his hoard of treasure under the sofa in the living room; Talia, a hilarious if not slightly homicidal bearded gnome; Sal, a shy gifted boy that transforms into a pomeranian when scared due to his past trauma and Lucy (also known as the Antichrist) a six-year-old boy with a wickedly unhinged sense of humour. As fantastical as these characters are, Klune writes them in such a careful and masterful way that, no matter their mythical origins, unusual mannerisms or appearance, their childlike innocence and personalities shine through. As a reader, it’s impossible not to become invested in their story and feel fiercely protective over them, especially when they come face-to-face with the prejudices of the villagers who believe that their mere existence is an abomination.

“Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as you remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea also features a beautifully written queer romance. Every accidental brush of fingers and lingering glance between Linus and Arthur made my heart swell. I honestly can’t stop smiling at just the thought of this book. I can see this becoming my new comfort read. Something I can dip into in order to restore my faith in humanity. It’s powerful yet oddly gentle in its approach. Just wonderful paragraph after paragraph. Absolutely magical.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune Summers is available here. (Affiliate Link)