“The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune: Book Review

“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don’t, we might forget how to be happy.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

LENGTH: 398 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 17 March 2020


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.


Stuff I Liked

Almost everything. The prose was beautiful and the characters were wonderful. Found family is one of my absolute favorite tropes, and is also something in stories that I find never gets old.

“I’m afraid I don’t have magic.”

“You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary.”

Though he wasn’t one of my favorite protagonists ever, Linus Baker was a serviceable main character. His forming relationships with the children as a father figure, and his slow-burn romance with Arthur Parnassus were the things that pushed the story forward.

I also enjoyed how he was a so-called normal person – it gave me a sort of fish out of water sort of feeling, and made him slightly more engaging to follow.

The children were the definitive highlight of the book, though. Lucy is the cutest antichrist that I’ve ever seen in fiction; Chauncey is the greatest little bellhop ever; Talia is the coolest little gardener; Theodore was adorable; Sal was so sweet and gentle; and Phee was a very interesting character with interesting powers.

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

Arthur was also a perfectly fine character, though I sort of got the twist with him chapters before I actually reached the scene that revealed it. I actually preferred Zoe over him – I liked her character more.

Stuff I Didn’t Like

I thought some of the dialogue was a little too on the nose. This is nothing but a personal preference for me, though: I prefer it when authors are more subtle with their commentary and the “message” that they’re attempting to incorporate.

I also didn’t really think that any of the kids actually sounded like kids. They talked like adults. And yes, I understand that a couple of them were much older than human children are (they are long-lived mythical creatures after all), but they should have still behaved equivalently to their maturity level. (Except Sal, the book implied that he was more of a teenager, so it made more sense with him.) This is probably more of a nitpick, but it did take me out of the story a bit.

Closing Thoughts

“It’s the little things, I expect. Little treasures we find without knowing their origin. And they come when we least expect them. It’s beautiful, when you think about it.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune was a beautiful story about found family and magic in unexpected places. It was something that I greatly enjoyed. I’ll definitely be reading more of Klune’s stuff in the future!

I definitely recommend this to those who are fantasy fans, as well as those who enjoy the found family trope and LGBTQIA+. The rep here is good, guys. And the romance is decently written.

“When something is broken, you can put it back together. It may not fit quite the same, or work like it did once before, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer useful.”

Thank you so much for reading, and have an excellent day/night! (Sorry I haven’t posted in a of couple days – I was sick.)

See ya ~Mar

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