The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

#BookReview
Fantasy | Fiction | Magic | Children
Rating: ***

Hello Dear Readers, Happy New Year!
The House in the Cerulean Sea, my first book of 2023, yay I guess! This one’s a fantasy fictional novel in which the protagonist, Linus Baker, is a caseworker working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY). His job requires him to visit government-sanctioned orphanages to check on the well-being of the magical youth. Also, to recommend whether the orphanages should continue to remain operational or be shut.

DICOMY’s main purpose is to keep these magical children safe by making sure they aren’t harmed, mistreated, or abused. However, the children are not allowed to leave the orphanage, mingle with the rest of the world, or live alongside the so-called normal humans. DICOMY is more of a dichotomy! It’s a stern organization that expects its caseworkers to abide by the RULES AND REGULATIONS document when they’re on their rounds to investigate the orphanages. The caseworkers aren’t allowed to show any form of empathy, love, and care to these children. Mr. Baker, having worked for the DICOMY for seventeen years, tries to do his job by following all the rules to the T, but sometimes empathy takes over his better judgement.

Linus Baker has the personality of a simple man with low expectations in life. He lives a solitary life at the age of forty and allows people to antagonize him – his coworkers, superiors at work, his neighbor, and the rest of the world. His life is all about going to work, returning home to his cat, and listening to records all by himself while having dinner.

One day, Mr. Baker gets unexpectedly summoned by the EXTREMELY UPPER MANAGEMENT to work on a special case. This requires him to go to a magical island that holds children tagged as classified level four. As Mr. Baker approaches the Marsyas Island Orphanage, a site housing young individuals with extraordinary and potentially perilous abilities, he finds himself consumed by anxiety and apprehension over the classified mission at hand. Will he be able to push aside his fears and do what’s expected of him? To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the book!

What can you expect from this book? Well, there is an entertaining story with layers of magic, discrimination, bureaucracy, mysterious secrets, love, and of course children. The dangerously adorable children – Talia, Theodore, Sal, Phee, Chauncey, and my dear lil Lucy. There is also the enigmatic Arthur Parnassus and sassy Zoe Chapelwhite who are the caretakers of these children. And of course, let’s not forget our good old man Mr. Baker.

What did I think about the book?

Mmm, mixed feelings! I like the fact that it was a fantasy book and the world-building was good! But it was overhyped, it got a bit too emotional and preachy, making me feel like I was watching a family drama movie. This book needs to be categorized in young adult fiction. Most people found the book to be a tear-jerker, but I’m sorry it didn’t do anything to me. See, I can be super emotional and I love emotional books but I don’t know, this one felt forced..? Well, the dramatic part just didn’t work for me. While reading this book, I also got reminded of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, which I like better than this one.

Anyway, moving past the lows! Let’s see what was good about the book: the story flowed well and it was pretty descriptive which made all the characters seem almost real. Some of the issues discussed in the book can also address real-life problems. Like, do we have to hate or judge things that we fear or don’t understand? Life is all about being more accepting of everyone and everything despite the differences. To make the world more colorful, peaceful, and beautiful we all need to be kind, accepting, and loving, right?

Lastly, cannot end the review without calling attention to Lucy’s dialogues, those were my favorite, I looked forward to them!! ❤

PS: The House in the Cerulean Sea is a good-read if you are looking for a sweet and comforting story. I would give it a 6.8/10 only because of the extra drama and also Brandon Sanderson has ruined me with his fantasy books!

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