ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ+ rep, M/M romance, F/F romance (mentioned)
Content Warnings: Prejudice/hatred
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

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.


I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Books!

The House in the Cerulean Sea


I went into this book not really knowing anything other than the synopsis and that it’s queer.

I never knew that it will blow me away with such a beautiful, breathtaking, wholesome story. Because that’s what this book is: a beautiful, breathtaking, wholesome story from start to finish.

(Sorry, my mind went blank somewhere around here. I was trying to think of other things to describe this book, but I don’t think they’ll ever be enough! *cries*)

My thoughts on The House in the Cerulean Sea

For starters, The House in the Cerulean Sea is wonderfully-written. It was able to capture the emotions and thoughts of the characters and project it to the readers. It was also funny, yet poignant and deep. I couldn’t simply stop reading, and if I did, the story stayed on my mind.

This book is character-driven, and the characters are just amazing. I loved Linus’s character arc. He starts as this obedient and loyal employee who feels small and unseen. At the end of the book he’s not any of those things anymore, and I loved that! He discovers and realizes many things, and he grows and he learns. My favorites would have to be the kids though, specifically Chauncey (the unidentifiable green blob) and Lucy (the Antichrist (yep, you read that right indeed)). They’re just so pure! I loved Arthur and Zoe as well. They completed the story and I loved that Arthur got some character development, too!

The plot, though simple, is incredibly profound. Linus is a case worker and the fate of this rundown orphanage and the dangerous, yet extraordinary kids lie in his decision and recommendation. The story follows Linus and his one month stay at Marsyas Island Orphanage. It’s slow going, but Linus gets to know the kids and the caretakers. He gets to know the island and the prejudice against the orphanage. He realizes the unfairness of many things. He realizes where he belongs. He finally finds his own home. Along the way, there are secrets, riots, self-realizations, love, and healing. It’s wholesome, pure, and absolutely perfect.

Above all, this is a story that teaches us to be kind, that the world is not merely black and white, and that it’s okay to feel small once in a while. I’m completely blown away by it. I fell in love with this story and I’ll forever cherish it in my heart.

Quotes from the book

“You are a fire, and they need to know how you burn. Not only because of who you are, but because of what they have made you into.”

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

“This isn’t simply an orphanage. It is a house of healing, and one that I think is necessary.”

*Note that these quotes may differ from the published copy.

Buy The House in the Cerulean Sea

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository

In conclusion, The House in the Cerulean Sea is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2020 and I am slowly becoming a fan of TJ Klune (I read his novella Blasphemy and it was hilarious!).

Anyway, please consider checking this book out on Goodreads and adding it to your TBRs!

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea

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