Book Review: The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Reviewed: January 3rd, 2022
Released: December 29th, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Gay 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.

Helen’s thoughts: 5/5

I thoroughly enjoyed this charming and quirky story about a man called Linus, who does what is expected of him, day in and day out, without complaint. Working for an 1984 style overbearing government who puts everyone in their box and expects them to stay there. Linus lives a dreary and grey life.

Linus has a chance to burst out of his bubble when he is sent to investigate a very unusual orphanage; located literally at the end of the train line. For the first time, Linus sees the sea, experiences vivid colours and as he arrives at the orphanage, the lovable and surprising character that is Linus begins to blossom. Out of all the interesting people living at the orphanage, I think it is Linus who is the most engaging and surprising.

Beautifully written, this is a story about finding out who you are, and finding a family where you least expect it. This is a gentle story about the importance of friendship and family, and having the freedom to be who you really are, without fear of retaliation.

If you are looking for fast-paced action packed adventure, then this is not the book for you. If instead, you like beautiful prose, engaging characters and a book that keeps you turning the pages because you want to know what happens to all of them, then you will love this!

About the author:

TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include the Green Creek series, The House on the Cerulean Sea and The Exraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

Available to purchase via Amazon

Link to book on Amazon UK: eBook | Paperback

Link to book on Amazon US: ebook | Paperback

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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my books which are available in eBook or paperback: Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Book Two: Sentinals Rising. Book Three: Sentinals Justice. Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.

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