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.
It may be impossible not to fall head over heels for everything Klune writes. From the Extraordinaries series to Under the Whispering Door and now The House in the Cerulean Sea, all absolute perfection in uniquely wonderful ways.
"I'm afraid I don't have magic."
"You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary."
The House in the Cerulean Sea is one of the most predictable books I’ve ever read, and I’ve never cared less. Linus and Arthur are perfection, from the feeling their names evoke to the emotional ride they force upon you. The tenderness, hope, and fear is palpable, with a strong undercurrent of brilliant chemistry.
And the children; each is more perfect than the last. From weird to terrifying, with everything in between, they round out the cast in the best way. The idea that anyone could hurt or hate them seems ludicrous within moments of meeting them. Even as they obsess over the morbid and macabre, and even if they have some incredible powers, they’re only children. They have unique hobbies and interests, they go on adventures and have nightmares, and they just want to belong somewhere.
Is it possible to describe another aspect of this book as perfect? Because any other word fails when trying to portray the emotional wringer I went through. The slow burn and satisfying conclusion are everything you want them to be. Linus’ initial reserve gives way to bumbling kindness; as he opens his heart, the island and its inhabitants respond in kind.
Sometimes, he thought to himself in a house in a cerulean sea, you were able to choose the life you wanted.
And if you were of the lucky sort, sometimes that life chose you back.