Book Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Tor Books (March 17, 2020)
Hardcover, 398 pages
Fantasy, Adult Fantasy


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.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m still trying to put my thoughts together on this amazing book. So many people recommended it as amazing and being like a warm hug. I had kind of a difficult time getting into it for the first chapter or two. “Wow, I hate all of these miserable people in this miserable world,” I remember thinking. I also didn’t see how I could come to care about a main character who seemed like such a drab, boring man with a copy of RULES AND REGULATIONS where his personality could be.

Boy, was I wrong.

“All that sunlight. I’m used to only rain.”

This book is so beautiful and weird and powerful. I fell in love with just a few of the children at the Marysas orphanage first, and then with the rest of the children, and as Linus Baker began to show a bit of what lies beneath his stone walls… Wow.

“Change often starts with the smallest of whispers. Like-minded people building it up to a roar.”

I don’t normally have any sort of urge to mark-up the books I read, with highlighting or sticky notes or whatnot. But there are SO MANY impactful moments in this book that left me breathless or that had tears streaming down my face. It’s a quiet sort of book, much like Linus himself, but so kind and deep and powerful for all that.

“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.”

I really have nothing to say beyond READ THIS BOOK, and give it a chance beyond the first couple of chapters to sneak up on you.

“I am but paper. Brittle and thin… Take me in hardened hands, and I crumple. I tear. I am but paper. Brittle and thin.”

One thought on “Book Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.