ARCs Book Reviews

[ARC Review] The House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

Thank you to Tor Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! The House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune is  on sale March 17, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Queer Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


ABOUT: 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:
Wow! T. J. Klune continues to impress me with his seamless mastery of the written word and storytelling. The House In The Cerulean Sea exceeded expectations and turned out to be a really great read.

The House In The Cerulean Sea was an auto-read for me because I LOVED Klune’s ‘Tales From Verania’ and ‘Green Creek’ series – both paranormal romances. I just had to read more by Klune. I was apprehensive at first because this book’s genre was far different the aforementioned series (they are the only books of his I’ve read).

The beginning was slow for me and hard to get into. You quickly learn the kind of person Linus Baker is: meek, a rule follower, compassionate, and highly observant. His job as a casework mirrors that of a social worker but, in this case, for magical youth. At first, he seems like a dull person for a main character. But you (and Linus) gradually see that there is more to him than what’s on the surface. The more his character developed the more I grew to love Linus as a character and person. This man is sassy when he wants to be. He was such a badass by the end of the story.

I highlighted so many well-crafted quotes about life, humanity, home, family, personal character, and self-worth. As much as I loved the philosophical exchanges of dialogue, it came off a bit preachy or too much (not in a bad way). The first half of the story was like this. I was reminded post-read that this is Klune’s style – long sections of exchanges for whatever reason – which I had forgotten. The House In The Cerulean Sea was more engaging in the second half.

I adore all of the children of Marsyas Island: Lucy, Talia, Chauncey, Theodore, Phee, and Sal. A wonderful mix of personalities. They’re such good kids despite all the prejudice, abuse and trauma they’ve been through. It’s wonderful that they have a place and people, Arthur and Zoe, to help them heal.

I love that the name of Linus’ department is called the Department In Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY, for short), which is overseen by the big bosses, Extremely Upper Management. I don’t know what it is about these names. They’re just amazing that only someone like Klune would come up with.

And that slow burn romance! So good and I totally ship it.

The House In The Cerulean Sea aptly defines what family and home really mean. I’m so happy I got approved for this title. I ended up loving it a lot! The House In The Cerulean Sea is a must-read for your 2020 reading list.

10 replies on “[ARC Review] The House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune”

I watched part of it yesterday too and it just reaffirmed how amazing a human being Klune is. I’m torn between Sal and Theo…..I think I like Sal most ❤ How about you?


[…] The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune* Beautifully written and heartfelt with a lovable cast of characters, this story exceeded my expectations. It was slow at first and I wasn’t sure if things would get more interesting. But when it did I was 100% enthralled as by-the-books man, Linus, got to know the rat-tag group of kids who had been vehemently rejects, scorned, and feared by society. I love this book to bits! […]


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