The House in the Cerulean Sea
Prepare to be charmed
There are so many reasons why this quirky and heartwarming book will go down as one of my favourite reads of 2020. I remember catching myself unexpectedly smiling and sighing while reading it and any book that does that is my favourite kind.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is as funny as it is profound (these two words together bring to mind a cheeky Gandalf). It is warm, beautifully written and kind, much like a grandmas hug. (I am killing it with metaphors today. Bear with me). Years from now maybe someone will pick this book up and think, hey, what a unique plot - this must be adapted into a movie. I hope that happens because I loved everything about this beautiful, remarkable, extraordinary story.
Linus Baker is a caseworker at the ministry in-charge of magical youth. His work requires him to visit various orphanages, that house magical children, and evaluate their performance and standards. He is fastidious and objective at his job even if it means shutting down orphanages at times. He lives a quiet, solitary existence, worrying about his weight, eating salads and sticking to a predictable routine. All of that changes when he is assigned a highly sensitive case to investigate an orphanage on a distant island that houses six highly powerful and dangerous supernatural children. Linus’s mission is simple: Spend 4 weeks evaluating if the Master of the house has everything in control and if the kids pose any threat. Linus makes the journey only to discover that nothing is as it seems, and the next four weeks are going to change his life entirely. TJ Kline (the author) introduces a charming and eccentric cast of characters that make this book so lovable. From a wyvern who loves hoarding buttons, a gnome who is obsessed with the latest tech in gardening equipment, an antichrist loves classic music records and dry humor, a green blob who desperately wants to be the best bell hop in the world, a boy who turns into a Pomeranian when he’s scared, to an enigmatic caretaker who is the embodiment of compassion. The characters while powerful and peculiar are just looking for love and nurturing. This is among the most powerful messages in the book. In our haste to judge those different from us, we forget that at the most basic level everyone is alike and people just want to be loved and be treated with kindness. It’s as much about that as it is about conquering fears and standing up for others.
This is an enchanting story, written masterfully about finding a family in an unlikely place and discovering unexpected love among individuals on the margins - who are otherwise written off by everyone else. It warmed my heart. I’ll give all the stars in the galaxy to this book.