Book Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

house in the cerulean sea book review
house in the cerulean sea book review

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Pages: 393
Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo
Rating: Own It (Seriously, buy this now)
Disclaimer: Mild spoilers.

summary book review

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. (Goodreads)

Thoughts book review

Excuse me while I continue to cry over the masterpiece that is The House in the Cerulean Sea. And buttons. I will never look at buttons the same again.

I’m going to gush. A lot. So I am sorry if this isn’t coherent because I’m still suffering all the feelings.

Am I saying this will be my favourite book of 2021 just a few weeks into 2021? Yes. Yes I am. I honestly don’t know what can top this book for me.

I’m not a rereader, never have been and probably never will be. So for me, the sign of a book that’s going to have a hold on my heart forever is when I turn that last page and want to flip it over and start again. I wanted to start this book again. Over and over and over again.

It was just so special and with every page this book dug it’s way deeper into my heart.

This is the kind of story the world needs right now. In the middle of a pandemic when families, friends, and people are kept apart, The House in the Cerulean Sea reminds us that family is where the heart is. It reminds us about the harm of prejudice through the tender eyes of children. It shows us how the little things we do and say can have the biggest impact.

The world likes to see things in black and white, in moral and immoral. But there is grey in between. And just because a person is capable of wickeness doesn’t mean they will act upon is.

The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune

The children are the real stars of this book. There are six of them. Lucy, or Lucifer, is the son of the Devil with a love of records, Talia is a garden gnome with a intense love of shovels, Phee is a forest sprite who just wants to grow, Theodore is a wyvern who just loves buttons, Chauncey is a something whose dream in life is to be a bell hop, and Sal, a shapeshifting Pomeranian, is just a poet at heart. Children who in the eyes of the world are dangerous and need to be observed are just children with dreams, hopes, and childish wonder. And they’re funny. Have I mentioned how funny this book is? Children always have the best one liners and the ones in this book are no exception.

Also come on, if the image of the Antichrist climbing onto a boaster seat isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever read, I don’t know what is.

“People suck, but sometimes, they should just drown in their own suckage without our help.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea is the most wholesome book I’ve ever read. And while being light-hearted on the outside, tackles the harder issue of morality and prejudice on the inside. There were lessons to be learned on every page, lessons for the children but also for the reader. This book is kind, it’s gentle, it’s funny, it’s adventurous, it’s loving, and it’s one big cerulean hug you didn’t know your heart was needing. It’s about loving everyone unconditionally, it’s about never making assumptions about people, it’s about loving and living without fear, it’s about letting the fire within burn so bright they’ll never forget you.

Klune’s writing is masterful. His attention to character is one of the best I have ever seen and with each word I was lost in this world.

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with. You may not live on the island, but you can’t tell me it’s not your home.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea has a forever place in my heart now. A small island shaped place surrounded by a cerulean blue sea.


Have you read The House on the Cerulean Sea? Please tell me you have and gush about it with me in the comments. And if you haven’t, please buy it, borrow it, steal it from a friend, whatever you have to do to read this book.

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7 Comments

    1. This book really is phenomenal. He has a new book coming out (Under the Whispering Door) and it cannot come soon enough! I need it so bad. I’m going to start looking into his backlist too.

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