Every booktuber I follow raved about The House in the Cerulean Sea. My local bookstore had this book on display as one of the best books released in 2020. I couldn’t be left out of the bandwagon. I purposefully planned to read this in summer because of the gorgeous cover along with the lighthearted premise. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a slow-burn fantasy novel about love, happiness, and fighting against prejudice.
CW for discussions of genocide against indigenous people.
Before I write my review, I do want to mention one more thing. T.J. Klune, the author of the book, based this book off of the “60’s Scoop”. The “60’s Scoop” is a real-life genocide where children were kidnapped and mistreated. There has been discussion about this and whether Klune is profiting off of a horrific event. I didn’t know this before reading The House in the Cerulean Sea. If you would like to read more, I suggest starting here: https://www.reddit.com/r/romancelandi…
Linus Baker lives an ordinary life without much excitement. Linus works as a caseworker, visiting various orphanages along with writing reports about what he sees. Linus is sent away to spend a month on a rather unusual assignment. At this orphanage, he discovers the “anti-christ” lives there with other magical children. Linus’s goal is to write weekly reports, get to know the children, and decide if this orphanage should be shut down.
The character development in this book was heartwarming and emotional. Linus was somewhat unlikable and scared to break away from his mundane life. Towards the end of the book, he starts to defend himself and realizes that he has the control to decide what will make him happy. Linus develops a deep relationship with Arthur, who cares for the children at the orphanage. Each of the children have their own background and personality. In stories like these, it’s easy to have some characters blend into the background, but that wasn’t the case here.
When reading fantasy, I want to feel like I’m in this world. TJ Klune’s writing made me feel this way. I could close my eyes to picture the seaside town, the color of the water, and the little cottage where Linus stays.
The messaging throughout this book was lovely. There were various themes subtly presented throughout the book. One example was how children are taught hatred, they aren’t born with it. Another message in this book was self-love. Linus has a lot of insecurity over his weight. All of the characters reinforce the fact that Linus doesn’t have to change and he’s fine exactly the way he is. I also loved the fact that this book confronted how a society can be destroyed when we let preconceived notions get the better of us. This book had such great messages and it helped to read this at a slower rate, so I wouldn’t miss it all.
The House in the Cerulean Sea was such a lovely book. It was a feel-good fantasy I was really invested in. The House in the Cerulean Sea lives up to the hype and might be my favorite book I read this year.