House in the Cerulean Sea - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : Tor; Reprint edition
  • Published : 29 Dec 2020
  • Pages : 416
  • ISBN-10 : 1250217318
  • ISBN-13 : 9781250217318
  • Language : English

House in the Cerulean Sea

A 2021 Alex Award winner!
The 2021 RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Winner!
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"

Lambda Literary Award-winning author TJ Klune's bestselling, breakout contemporary fantasy that's "1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in." (Gail Carriger)

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.

Editorial Reviews

A 2021 Alex Award winner!
The 2021 RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Winner!
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"

"I loved it. It is like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket. Simply perfect." ―V.E. Schwab, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

"It will renew your faith in humanity." ―Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of the Shannara series

"It's a witty, wholesome fantasy that's likely to cause heart-swelling." ―The Washington Post

"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

"Is it possible to fall in love with someone's imagination? If so, consider me fully smitten. TJ Klune creates worlds where fear and threat can be conquered by kindness, and a tender, queer heart is more valuable than any weapon or power." ―David Levithan

"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 c...

Readers Top Reviews

Fannilittle bookworm
Precious, wonderful and perfectly imperfect! TJ Klune created a world full of magic that resembled Orwell's 1984 with the burochracy of handling magical youth and he gave us a story full of hope and love and acceptence. Linus Baker is a caseworker investigating magical orphans and orphanages. He's been working for the Deaprtment in charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY) for seventeen years when he gets a seriously classified case far far away from the rainy city. The orders are vague coming from Extremely Upper Management and he has no idea what an experience awaits him when he boards the train heading to the sea. The children in the island's orphanage are special, maybe more so than others. And even Linus who worked with magical children his whole life need some perspective to be able to keep an open mind. And what an adventure it turns out to be to live for a month with the six extraordinary children, one very protective island sprite and a mysterious but kind man who leads this special home. The endearing charcters, especially the quirky children who come in all forms with all the wonderful abilities and very real troubles make the reader fall in love with them from the very first page. And seeing how Linus, rule-follower, strict Linus opens his mind and heart involuntarily to the inhabitants of the little island is heartwarming. Because sometimes people touch your heart and you touch theirs even without knowing so. Acceptance is key in this story. Let it be accepting yourself and who you really are or learning how to see the person behind the name and the stigma, it is eyeopening. Besides that the complacency of the world and handling the unknown is a main topic. How to fight the restraints of society to discover the truth and the wonders of the world. How to stand up and fight for those who you love. How to learn the colours of the world throught the eyes of children. Every page has something sweet or moving on it. Every chapter either makes you laugh or cry or the both at the same time. The book is so much like TJ Klune! You can't miss the special touches that are so uniquely his own. There is a very big chance that you will walk away from this book with a full heart, wet eyes and a huge smile on your face. And one thing is sure. You will carry this story with you forever in you heart.
To sum up this book.....two characters are trying to move a desk from a closet to a better spot in front of the window. They need to be careful they don't damage it. It seems like a simple bit of storytelling....the act of moving the desk from a small dark space to a larger brighter one is what is significant except one character 'Sal' makes a comment about how another kid cracked the corner of the table when they first put it in the closet. Sal takes a moment to say that even though things are cracked or chipped there's still good in them'..........This basically sums up how exhausting this book is. Every paragraph, every page....there's an overbearing and preachy lesson. It feels fake and forced. It's like someone decided to write the book and start with the 'agenda' rather than the story. Yes, by all means, right a book about inclusivity and accepting your differences, but do it in a more natural way. Stop telling the reader the same thing on every page, stop making up trite instances to prove it's okay to be different. The book was exhausting. I'm three quarters of the way through and struggling to finish.
Sue Eaton
A book about kindness, being different and found family. This book is wonderful with a quiet story about awakenings. It is realising that the world you know is not how you think it is, it is have a new world and new different people being revealed to you not in a loud splashy way but in a thoughtful, quiet way. It is the realisation that different isn’t scary and something to fear, but that different is actually pretty much the same as you, despite that packaging people may come in. The imagery in this book is profound from the drab, grey, rainy place where you are just another cog in the machine. To the bright, sunny, warm place you longed for in your heart but never thought you’d find. The characters are wonderful, full of light, love and resilience. The central theme in this book, like for a lot of TJ’s books is found family, choosing people to be your family and forging bonds of love and acceptance. There is another strong message in this book that a single voice can achieve great things, change can be achieved by doing small things with passion and conviction. 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.
Terrible way to get a gay romance out there! Disappointed to say the least. If there was a negative star i would have given it. All gay romance and very little about the magical children the story was supposed to be about. Don't waste your time with this one.
Have you ever read something that is something completely new yet familiar at the same time? That's how I feel about The House in the Cerulean Sea. I am totally in love with this book and I'm having a hard time pinning down exactly why. The best comparison I can come up with is that the story reads like what I'd imagine would be the result of Douglas Adams and Diana Wynne Jones combining forces to write a fantasy version of the Island of Misfit Toys but with paranormal creatures instead of toys and a dash of Good Omens thrown in for good measure. 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 o...

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