I want to start 2021 with one of my favorite books of 2020! Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, who has read The House in the Cerulean Sea has told me how much they loved it. I was scared that my read wouldn’t live up to the hype. But it did. So spectacularly. Keep reading this book review to see my own reactions!
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.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is a book I loved from the very beginning. I powered through this audio book in about a few days. I could not stop reading. The characters, above all, were where this book shines. They are wonderful, quirky, vulnerable, and able to change. Everything has this whimsical off kilter sense. This world of magic, departments, and beaurocracy is one that I could delive in for a few more books. Linus immediately made a place in my heart. His relationship to his cat, passion for his job, and desk tidiness.
And then when I met the children at Marsyas Island Orphanage I was done. I would protect all of them with my entire life. Not only are they so detailed and full of life, but they have that fear that children should never have to endure. The kinds where they are wondering if the will lose their home, feeling the human’s prejudice and hateful glances, so desperate for love and allies. Throughout The House in the Cerulean Sea, Linus has to see if he is able to change. Able to confront his own misconceptions, fears of connection, and doubts about the world around him.
The House in the Cerulean Sea was the perfect book to end 2020. It made me SO SOFT. All the ways in which Linus has to fight for the children against a world that doesn’t understand them. A world which judges them based on what they could do, and not who they are. It’s a story that empathizes that who we are is molded by our choices and that our genes, what lies in our blood, our potential are not our only defining factors. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a book about found family, fighting prejudice, opening heat, and letting people see us for who we are.