The House in the Cerulean Sea - a must-read book!
The House in the Cerulean Sea, TJ Klune
Genre: Fantasy – Young Adult
Published 2020, 394 pages
I LOVE this book! Never before have I read a 400-page book in a single day but I couldn’t put this down. From the first page to the last page, this book made me feel good, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me love every character (well, not some of the closed-minded people in the village). Filled with magical children, this story is about embracing others differences, not pre-judging others, not being afraid of what is new and what we don’t understand.
Linus, 40, and a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth is a man who follows the rules. He lives a lonely life in his tiny house with his ornery cat Calliope. For 17 years his job has been to visit orphanages (although no one is ever adopted) and make sure the house master is doing a proper job, that the children are well taken care of, and not abused. He reports back to Extremely Upper Management on his findings which determine whether the orphanage remains open or is closed. His newest assignment is to visit an orphanage on an island for a month and bring back news about the magical children there and also their caretaker Arthur.
Arriving at the island, Linus begins to meet the residents.
“A dark shape swooped into the gazebo, landing artlessly on the floor. It squawked angrily as it tripped over its too-big wings, rolling end over end until it crashed into Linus’s legs. Linus did his best not to shriek, but unfortunately, his best wasn’t good enough.”
This is Theodore, a wyvern, one of the few left in the world. He speaks in chirps and loves coins and buttons and becomes very fond of Linus who is always giving him buttons from his shirts. He also meets grumpy Talia, a gnome who tends to her beautiful, colorful garden. Initially Linus doesn’t understand gnomish or wyvern chirps, but he learns. Then there’s Phee, a sprite who can make plants grow. Chauncey (possibly my favorite character) is a green blob and no one is quite sure what he is. His biggest dream in life is to be a bellhop! He loves to carry luggage and greet people and do laundry. Sal is the oldest child there and the shyest. For a long time he avoids and hides from Linus. When he gets really terrified he turns into a Pomeranian. Last, but not least, is Lucifer, the son of Satan. Or Lucy as he’s called - ha. Lucy loves singing at the top of his voice to Buddy Holly and Bobby Darrin songs. He also loves shouting terrifying things he is going to do to people.
“Fire and ash!” Lucy bellowed as he paced back and forth. “Death and destruction! I, the harbinger of calamity, will bring pestilence and plague to the people of this world. The blood of the innocents will sustain me, and you will all fall to your knees in benediction as I am your god.”
Arthur is the calm in the storm for these children. He cares about them deeply and wants to keep them safe. He listens to them, encourages them, consoles them, and gives them the freedom to be themselves. Being on this island, getting to know the children, seeing the kind of man Arthur is and learning a stunning secret about him, changes Linus from a rigid, by-the-rules, no-nonsense man into someone who stands up for himself (and the children), goes on adventures, and learns who family can be.
I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to everyone.
** Note: Thanks to my sister Donna for sharing her thoughts on this book. I welcome reviews from anyone who wants to share their thoughts about something they've read.