Well. I feel like I just got a big ole hug.
And there is that review done. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.
No, but really, I’ll give an actual review. If I have to. And since I am a book blog and I read this book both for enjoyment and to review it, I guess I’ll have to review it. Whoo hoo!
So what can I say about this book.
Overall it’s heartwarming and endearing, which is something you don’t often say about fantasy books. I’ve heard people describe this book as though it left them feeling like it gave them a warm hug. I’m not gonna lie, I felt the same way, if you could tell by my opening statement.
Plus, LBGTQ+ rep!
Linus, as the main character, is complex for all that he is a simple man who likes simple things. He is very straight laced. His world is made up of a set of rules set by the government agency he works for, which is the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Linus is a case worker, someone who goes around and inspects orphanages that house magical children and makes sure that they are up to par. He likes the daily grind of his life and doesn’t wonder if there is anything more to the world than what he already knows. Plus, he has a cat, Calliope.
We love a good cat around here.
One day Linus gets assigned the most classified of jobs, to looks into the lives of the children on the island off the coast of the small village of Marsyas. That’s when things get interesting.
Arthur is the is master of the house and Zoe is it’s caretaker. And I love them both so much! The six children shall remain anonymous because to even give the name of one of them would spoil the surprise. And oh, you will enjoy this surprise. Except for Chauncey, who dreams of growing up to be a bellhop. A Bellhop! How cute is that!
Linus gets drawn into the daily lives of these children even as he is reporting on them back to the head office of DICOMY. Will Linus discover there is more to life?
I love Linus’ character progression. Nothing felt faked or forced for the sake of the plot. And Arthur was a lovely counterbalance. How each saw the world was in opposition to the other. The children were simply delightful. Each had their own unique story and way of looking at life.
So I think it’s safe to assume that I approve of the characters and their development.
The pacing in this book was spot on. It never felt like you were rushing to reach the end, or that you were slowing down to reach a hard earned point. It was consistent throughout the book. Much appreciated, TJ Klune (the author).
World building was pretty good. This book is clearly meant to be some form of magical realism, but we are never really told what country this all takes place in. I keep picturing a New England or United Kingdom setting. So the vagueness didn’t really sit well with me. It didn’t keep me from appreciating the book, but it did bother me a little.
I really connected with this story, as I think anyone who has felt like the odd one out will. It’s message of hope and being yourself was warm and, above all, kind. Which, again, not something you can often say about fantasy novels.
I really loved this book. I can see myself re-reading this whenever I am having a bad time of it mentally and am in need of a pick me up.
Self care is important!
So all in all I gave this book 5 stars, and I think you will to. So go give The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune a chance!