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The House in the Cerulean Sea Paperback – February 2, 2021
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A USA Today Bestseller!
An Indie Next Pick!
One of Publishers Weekly's "Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2020"
One of Book Riot’s “20 Must-Read Feel-Good Fantasies”
“The House in The Cerulean Sea is a modern fairy tale about learning your true nature and what you love and will protect. It's a beautiful book.” ―Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in. Touching, tender, and truly delightful, The House in the Cerulean Sea is an utterly absorbing story of tolerance, found family, and defeating bureaucracy.”―Gail Carriger, New York Times bestselling author of Soulless
“Sweet, comforting, and kind, this book is very close to perfect. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a work of classic children's literature written for adults and children alike, with the perspective and delicacy of the modern day. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” ―Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Every Heart a Doorway
“Quirk and charm give way to a serious exploration of the dangers of complacency in this delightful, thought-provoking Orwellian fantasy from Klune.... This tale of found family is hopeful to its core. Readers will revel in Klune’s wit and ingenuity.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Lambda Literary Award-winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus... fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up. A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy." ―Kirkus
“This is a sweet narrative about the value of asking questions and the benefits of giving people (especially children) a chance to be safe, protected, and themselves, regardless of what assumptions one might glean from, say, reading their case file.” ―Booklist
“This inclusive fantasy is quite possibly the greatest feel-good story ever to involve the Antichrist.... The House in the Cerulean Sea will delight fans of Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series and any reader looking for a burst of humor and hope.” ―Shelf Awareness
“TJ Klune is a master storyteller.” ―The Mary Sue
"A delightful tale about chosen families, and how to celebrate differences." ―Library Journal
“If ever there was an author to watch out for, [Klune] is definitely that author.” ―Culturess Daily
About the Author
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The story revolves around Linus Baker, a caseworker with the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He leads a dreary, by-the-book life, checking up on the orphanages under the department’s care and making sure they’re operating by following the extensive guidelines. He’s known for his detailed reports and it’s because of that he’s tasked by Extremely Upper Management to go to the Marsays Island Orphanage to check up on its caretaker, Arthur Parnassus, and the six unique, magical children that live there.
Linus’s life changes just going out to the orphanage. He’s always wanted to go to the sea–and that’s where he ends up on an island surrounded by the sea. As he gets away from the city, he gets out of the gloom and rain and into the sun. It’s really a Wizard of Oz moment as his world goes to color from gray. Linus’s journey of self-discovery is the heart–or one of the hearts–of this story and his progression into the light is part of what makes this story so great. He finds that there’s much more to life than rules and regulations. There’s a need for kindness, compassion and understanding.
The kids at the orphanage are an incredible array of characters that I think could only spring from TJ mind: Lucy–or Lucifer; Talia the gnome; Chauncey, a green blob with eyes on stalks who just wants to be a bellhop; Sal, a shapeshifter who when nervous becomes a tiny dog; Phee a forest sprite and Theodore, a wyvern who hordes buttons. The kids and Arthur have formed an amazing family. The kids have come here from other orphanages for various reasons and Arthur does his best to protect and teach them. Perhaps most importantly that they don’t necessarily have to be who people think they should be–like Lucy doesn’t have to give in to the idea that he’s the destroyer of the world.
Early on Arthur challenges Linus and it really sets Linus off on his journey. “I think if you open your eyes, you’ll see what’s right in front of you rather than what’s listed in a file,” Arthur says. And boy are Linus’s eyes opened. The children are all incredible with their childlike wonder, their massive sense of protection for each other and, even though they’re all young, they are well aware that the world doesn’t really want them–especially the town that is across the sea from the island.
TJ’s created six distinct characters that you can’t help but fall in love with from Theordore’s delight in buttons to Chauncey’s bellhop dreams and his protective urges towards Theodore. And there’s Lucy, he’s wildly funny as he pushes Linus’s buttons sometimes, but as you see his other facets, including a love of classic music from the 50s and that he knows that the could really cause damage you want to wrap him up in a hug and protect him.
As Linus spends his time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to see how messed up Extremely Upper Management is and that made the rules aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And when it comes to that hateful town, he realizes that there are changes needed, changes he needs to speak up for.
Oh, and there’s a super sweet, terrific romance that blooms between Linus and Arthur too. The book isn’t a romance, but the spark between these two is pure romance and it feels like old school courting. That’s not to say they don’t have problems–oh my do they have issues to take care of–but it’s a beautiful part of the story.
Yes, I love everything about "House in the Cerulean Sea"–Linus self-discovery, his romance with Arthur and the delightful kids living at the Marsays Island Orphanage. There’s something in this book from everyone and this book can be read by all ages. My hardback sits on my shelf of all-time favorites, that’s how much this book means to me.
The story follows middle-aged and easily forgotten caseworker, Linus Baker, who gets sent by upper management to investigate a troublesome group home for magical children that has seemingly been kept a secret from everyone. What Linus finds when he gets to the orphanage was nothing he was expecting or even remotely prepared for.
This book is heartwarming, sentimental, weird and absolutely and utterly delightful! I picked it up for the queer romance and I kept reading for the six dangerous children, their mysterious caretaker, the invisible case worker, and the found family trope. The children are a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist and they are weird and just downright perfect! My heart was a puddle of heartwarmed goo by the time I finished this book.
I immediately wanted to go and start this book again when I finished and that is the highest praise I can give a book.
I quickly fell in love with the children and their mysterious caretaker, Arthur. I fell in love with Linus too but it took a bit longer. It was quite easy once we got to see him interact with everyone at Marsyas Island. The worldbuilding in this book is on the light side for a fantasy book but that doesn't mean that it wasn't absolutely delightful and well done. I want to go live on the island with everyone and have adventures with them every Saturday.
A major theme running through out the book is that you don't need to live up to other people's expectations of what you should be solely based on who or what you were born. You don't have to be a monster even if look like one and that's what everyone expects from you. It's okay to be different. It's crucial even. It's about finding yourself, your place, and your happiness and being true to it. I've had this book finished for a while now and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.
I am a sucker for the found family trope and the one in this book was so precious! I could read a whole series about them! And the romance! It wasn't overwhelmingly at the forefront but it was sweet and beautiful and I was rooting for it as soon as they met on page for the first time! Also, can I comment on the fact that this is a standalone contemporary fantasy? I can't remember the last time I read one and it's part of what I loved about this book!
The House in the Cerulean Sea is heartwarming, delightfully diverse, wonderfully queer, and a bit ridiculous but in the best way. It's one that I can confidently say has already made my favorite books of the year list.
This was my first TJ Klune book and, if all of his books are written like this one, he deserves the hype. Definitely read this for the contemporary fantasy setting and the queer romance but stay for the precocious children and the found family trope. I can't recommend this one enough! It's one I will be definitely adding to my collection and I will be shouting my love about for the rest of the year. Now if you'll excuse me, I have TJ Klune's whole backlist to read.
This review was posted on the Goldilox and the Three Weres blog on March 17, 2020.
It just seemed more hokey and I didn't enjoy it. Will definitely stick to getting samples before I buy from now on:(
Seriously, I can't even with you TJ. I've been dying to get my hands on this book forever it seems. But let me tell you...
I. Wasn't. Ready.
I can't find the words to say just how much I loved this book. TJ is one of my favorite authors that I have to greedily snatch up every new book he writes. Some are off the wall hilarious, I'm looking at you TLSH. Some are captivating, I'm looking at you The Bones Beneath my Skin. And some are so moving I can't even put into a category.
I'm looking at you, The House in the Cerulean Sea.
But if you take nothing out of this review, please consider this...
This book, in a nutshell, reminds us to stop seeing only the outside of someone. The outside is only a body and has nothing to do with the inside. No matter your sexuality, religion, gender, or race, you will never truly know someone until you reach the inside. And in the world we are living in right now, more people need to read this book to remember to stop judging people you don't know, or haven't gotten to know. You may never learn that those people were more extraordinary than anyone could imagine.
Thank you TJ for reminding me of this.
Top international reviews
I loved this quiet book filled with kindness and love. I cried at the ending not because it was sad but because it was filled with such hope for the future.
As is usual with TJ's stories, there is a hidden meaning...and yes, of course it's the usual hidden meaning ACCEPTANCE FOR ALL...no matter who, what or how you love. [quote...You fear what you don’t understand. You see us as chaos to the ordered world you know.] You honestly could not wish to meet a nicer, more diverse group of characters, and although the residents of the island were particularly awful at first, even they started to warm to the children eventually. The worst part of the book for me was Linus' employment at DICOMY...must have been absolutely soul destroying [and depressed me], and that dreadful old bat he lived next door to...Ms Klapper. I loved that there was a Mr Tremblay working there too, although I was a little confused by the memos that Extremely Upper Management kept sending to Linus as they all appeared to be sent by Extremely Upper MANGEMENT 😏 [obviously too many letters for the formatter to fit across the page 😊].
And I have to say, I can't wait to meet The Extraordinaries...it looks well, extraordinary !! Roll on July...many thanks TJ. 😍😍
Beautiful setting, great world building and fantastic characters.
TJ gives his characters such realness, they have vivid personalities. You feel like you truly know them. You become emotionally invested in them and that's what makes this book so special.
I loved it and just wanted to read it again as soon as I finished it. Highly recommended. It should be made in to an animated film immediately!
Brings a smile to the face.
A tear to the eye.
A laugh from the belly
A brightness to the soul.
The main stars of this story are the children - they have varied abilities and enjoy challenging, and maybe scaring, Linus. They are a wonderful cast of characters to read about - Talia, Theodore, Phee, Sal, Chauncey and Lucy. Lucy very much enjoys pushing boundaries and stirring some of the other characters. He was my favourite character.
Naturally Linus discovers more than he expects on this journey, and finds himself a family along the way.
“Don’t you wish you were here?”
Yes I do
100/10 🌟 EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK!
Linus Baker works for a company that checks on orphanages for children with magic and if they have the right to remain open. One day he gets that secret assignment to investigate Marsyas Island Orphanage. And that is how he ends up on this beautiful island in the Cerulean Sea with all these wonderful, mysterious children: Talia (a gnome), Phee (a sprite), Theodore (a wyvern), Chauncey (no one really knows what he is), Sal (a were-Pomeranian) and Lucy (the Antichrist)... and of course their charming caretaker Arthur. Always Arthur.
This stunning book that teaches us so much about acceptance, tolerance and what it feels like to do everything to protect your friends and found family will win you over in a heartbeat. And so will Linus, Arthur, and the kids.
The House in the Cerulean Sea had me in tears through the final chapters - in an absolutely good way. You can’t just not love these unique and stunning characters. They are such a delightful ensemble. Every single child is so special and their stories are so compelling and heartbreaking. I was so enchanted by everyone and it was impossible to put that book down.
I can honestly say I adore and would recommend this book with all my heart. I am a huge TJ Klune fan but he really did an outstanding job on this one. It almost reads like a love letter.