The House in the Cerulean Sea starts off as the story of unassuming stickler-for-rules Linus Baker. Despite Linus’ reserved attitude and what seems like a paralyzing aversion to conflict (an aversion to making waves, you might say), you immediately sense there’s something more.
Readers can look forward to watching his unexpected transformation hiding just around the corner. Despite his own limiting beliefs, Linus proves that there is more to him, and more in store for him, than what’s just directly in view.
He leads a painstakingly mundane existence as a caseworker at DICOMY (or Division in Charge of Magical Youth). Still, Linus is far braver and more interesting than he would probably give himself credit for.
And he cares. He cares for the vulnerable children his work affects. His intentions are good. But is that enough? Is stopping where his works officially ends, according to The Rules and Regulations, the right thing to do?
Through colorful descriptions and deceptively simple dialogue, author T.J. Klune illustrates a magical slice of life in this fictional world. And while magic and magical creatures abound, his storytelling reveals that life is often less than for those who are different.
As the story unfolds, we witness Marsyas Island’s inhabitants chip away at the brittle exterior of Linus’ bubble. The children— Lucy, Talia, Phee, Theodore, Chauncey, and Sal— and their caretakers, the mysterious Arthur and the protective Zoe— he falls in love with his newfound family, bureaucratic objectivity be damned!
The second half of the book hones in on the characters’ growth as they balance their desires to live free with their hope in what could be. Linus isn’t the only one who experiences a transformation. These beautifully developed characters prove that your beginnings don’t define your potential or your outcomes. You’re far more than a stereotype.
Kudos to T.J. Klune for creating such a beautifully evocative little world and a delightful story that tugs on the heartstrings.