Today, we will be reviewing The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. It is a fantasy novel that follows Linus Baker as he is assigned a case that changes his life and how he sees things. Keep reading to read our review of the novel and whether or not you should add this to your reading list!
The House in the Cerulean Sea Summary
Linus Baker is a case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY) and visits orphanages to see if they are up to standard. The orphanages house magical children that have superhuman abilities which the public doesn’t understand and fears.
Baker’s attention to detail gets him invited by Extremely Upper Management. They assign him a case in Marsyas to observe an orphanage for a month. The orphanage is located on an island surrounded by the Cerulean sea and houses six children and Arthur, who runs the orphanage.
When Baker arrives there, he learns that this orphanage houses six-year-old houses a boy named Lucy, the son of the devil. It is up to Baker to learn about these children and Arthur and report back to DICOMY and determine if the orphanage should stay open or be closed. But what happens on the island changes Baker’s life and what he thought he knew as well as what his future holds.
I came across this novel while browsing a list and the name of the novel as well as the beautiful book cover made me decide to read it. The plot of the novel is fun and the writing is brilliant. It is much funnier than it has any right to be. The characters are fresh and the world building is done well where it doesn’t feel like too much information to absorb all at once.
The novel was inspired by real life events of “a Canadian practice of removing Indigenous children from their homes and placing them with white, middle class families which continued into the 1980s.” Klune wanted to focus on celebrating the differences and supporting the children and his novel does just that.
Another inspiration for the novel is the lack of positive queer representation. Klune has said that he has come across many books where queer characters don’t have happy endings and wanted to write a book where that was the case.
Published in 2020, the novel was well received by critics and went on to win the 2021 Alex Award  and the 2021 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.
I enjoyed this book and loved the writing and humor. Klune’s novel is uplifting and the tone of the novel matches the book cover. This book may have a sequel if fans have their way and I would love to see this world that Klune created expand a lot more. Happy reading!