“I’m afraid I don’t have magic.”TJ Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea
“You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary.”
Ordinary magic is everywhere.
And nowhere more so than in TJ Klune’s heart-squeezing novel, The House in the Cerulean Sea.
This book is about many things. It’s about the persecution of those who are deemed “different”; it’s about finding your line in the sand and having the courage to not cross it. It’s about righting wrongs, fighting for love, and choosing your family.
Most of all, it is about kindness.
But let’s back up for a second and get a few story details from the publisher’s blurb.
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.
Klune captures the indifferent horror of an Orwellian society with a weight that is as gloomy as the city’s perpetual rain–drops that you can almost feel, sliding down Linus’ collar. He shows us the grim impact of cruelty visited on children and families simply because they are different.
Remove the supernatural abilities and you have a world not that much different from our own, one where where families, societies, and entire cultures have been–and still are being–decimated by the fearful and ignorant.
But in The House in the Cerulean Sea, Klune also reminds us that there is a mighty hope in even the smallest acts of kindness–and that learning about each other and accepting each other for who we are is perhaps the greatest work we can do.
“We are better than what we currently seem to be. I know we are. And I don’t believe it’s too late for us to course correct. It’s going to take time, and a hell of a lot of hard work, but we’re capable of it. The House in the Cerulean Sea is my great wish into the universe, a fable about the goodness in us all, if only we can believe in it. Hope is a weapon, kindness our battle cry. As long as we stand together, I know we’ll shape this place we call home into something we can all be proud of.“*
Kindness. Hope. Love. These can free us all.
These are the gifts of The House in the Cerulean Sea.
- Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
- Author: TJ Klune (http://www.tjklunebooks.com/)
- Published 2020 by Tor Books (https://www.tor.com/)
- Cover art: Chris Sickels – Red Nose Studio (https://www.rednosestudio.com/)
- Genre: Fantasy
- This book is for fans of: supernatural fantasy, M/M romantic arcs, feisty cats, fascinating characters, courage, and hope
*For the complete interview, visit https://whatever.scalzi.com/2020/03/17/the-big-idea-tj-klune/
For more by TJ Klune, visit your local library or bookstore and check out his full catalogue, including his latest, Under the Whispering Door.
(Find it at Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250217349)
Photo credits: Book and models, Chris Sickels-Red Nose Studio (https://www.rednosestudio.com/). Ocean stock image, Canva.