Entry 119: The House in the Cerulean Sea


Author: T.J. Klune
Fiction > Young Adult > Fantasy
Fiction > Young Adult > LGBTQA+
Fiction > Young Adult > Romance
Publication: March 17th 2020 by Tor Books
Pages: 400
Format Read In: Audiobook

Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)

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.

My Review

Trigger warning: past child abuse (physically, verbally), in-world prejudice, past abandonment, night terrors

Was I bitter when I got rejected for an ARC of this book? NOPE. NOT AT ALL. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN ASK?…..;A; But besides that, I was happy to see a copy of the audiobook in my library and immediately placed a hold! This cover is so inviting, despite the clutter!

What I Liked

  • The kids are so freaking amazing! They were so different from each other and the way they interacted was incredibly adorable! They clearly love the adults around them and their home, and despite all the trauma they’ve experienced, they bounce back with a positivity that is so inspiring. I really teared up.
  • While I was frustrated with his thick-headedness at times, I loved how dedicated Lionel was to magical children, even before he met Arthur and the others. He has such a rooted sense of justice, despite being a rather unquestioning member of a bureaucratic machine. That’s why it was believable that he would open up and begin questioning DICOMY and Extremely Upper Management. And yes, there were moments when he made me cry defending the kids; he goes absolutely feral when people are being discriminatory towards them and that was amazing.
  • This was really funny book! It balances humour with seriousness effectively, and I’d have to be careful walking around my neighbourhood, listening to the audiobook, because I’d laugh to myself (which would have probably freaked out the people walking around me). The funniest was definitely Lucy, with his playing up being the Antichrist.
  • We should all aspire to be like J-Bone. No, I won’t elaborate–read the book!
  • The ending was perfect and yes, I almost cried…again!
  • THE ROMANCE WAS TOP NOTCH, OH MY GOODNESS. It was so sweet and tender, and while there was initially the annoying insta-attraction at the start, because the book focused so much on Lionel’s developing relationship with the kids mostly, it wasn’t taking away from the story. Indeed, the romance added a whole ‘nother flavour! You can definitely tell this is an ownvoices mLm romance. Arthur is like the charming, chill dad and Lionel is the dad that has the schedules and lists.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The writing style was surprisingly young. I went into this thinking it would be a YA level of language, but it read more middle grade. It wasn’t unpleasant but it wasn’t expected and it kind of toned down the seriousness of the topics brought up.
  • While I adored the ending, I did feel like it was a little too convenient but this is a shallow point.
  • There was a wLw romance that I wish had gotten more attention!
  • I can see how some might find the pacing to be slow–there were times it felt like it lagged. There’s not a whole lot of action; mostly the story centers of learning about each character.


Sometimes a family is two dads, an amorphous blob, a murderous gnome, a shy but powerful sprite, a fierce but tender sprite, an incredibly soft were-Pomeranian, a clumsy pterodactyl, and the Antichrist. And it was beautiful in every way. This is inherently a queer story about found families and it was worth the wait!

My Rating: 4/5

Where to Find Me


1 thought on “Entry 119: The House in the Cerulean Sea”

  1. Pingback: July 2020 Wrap Up

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