The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
March 17, 2020 by Tor Books
“Hope?” Linus said stupidly.
“Hope,” Mr. Parnassus repeated. “Because that is what we must give him, what we must give all of them. Hope and guidance and a place to call their own, a home where they can be who they are without fear of repercussion.”
I’ve seen TJ Klune talking about his new book with his new publisher on Twitter for awhile now. As soon as I read the blurb I knew I had to add it to my TBR list and beg Tor for an early copy if I had to. The House in the Cerulean Sea is labeled as LGBT Humorous Contemporary Fantasy Fiction, so I dove into it with relish. Ready for anything and everything… And ended up reading it in one sitting. It was that good.
This book was just so much. So much heart, so much charm and humor, so much emotion, so much everything I didn’t know I needed until I sat down to read. It starts out by introducing Linus Baker, a case worker with the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY). Linus lives a colorless, drab life where each day consists of exactly the same thing. He lives alone with only his cat Calliope for company and is very good at following the rules. In fact he has two copies of the employee handbook, Rules and Regulations. Then one day he is called into a meeting with Extremely Upper Management and told he is being given a new case to investigate. He must travel to an orphanage full of magically special children located on Marsyas Island and discover if there are any problems. His report will help them decide whether to keep the orphanage open or close it and move the children elsewhere.
I don’t think me or Linus knew what we were in for when he finally arrived at the house in the cerulean sea. The very best part of this book are the young people who live at the orphanage and how beautifully they are written. They simply light up the pages and you can’t help but fall in love with each of them. While their backstories are absolutely heartbreaking, they still manage to have this tentative hope that tugs at your heartstrings again and again. Oh, and they made me laugh so many times.
There is a soft, rather sweet romance between Linus and the master of the orphanage, Arthur Parnassus. The story ends with a simply lovely HEA for them and their charges.
Honestly? While I believe this novel is geared more towards adults, I do think anyone of almost any age would enjoy reading. There are so many important themes woven into the narrative, the main ones being nature vs. nurture, judging others based on preconceived notions and learning how to be an agent for positive change.
This is a feel good, fun, character driven fantasy full of hope and important messages. I enjoyed every single moment I spent with this found family and look forward to more adventures from this author.
Final grade- A