Linus Baker used to worry about the stain on his shirt. That little orange dot that he got while eating his salad for lunch. He also worried about his waist line, his blood pressure, the size of his hip, his nosy neighbor, and many things.
Reaching 50 and unmarried, Linus found himself constantly trying to fit in into all the small spaces that he’s allowed to be in. His cubicle in the office, his house with small garden at the porch, his seat in the bus. He tried to find solace in the rules that are given to him, and the rules that he must enforce to others.
Though his daily job as a caseworker of Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY) insisted him to deal and interact with magical beings, his life is far from magic. For what he believed, his job required him to be as neutral and boring as he can–and for that one thing, he wanted to be really great at.
But one day, the upper management of DICOMY called Linus Baker into their top-floor office and gave him the job he never thought of.
They gave him a 3-week assignment to visit and write a thorough report on a magical being orphanage located at the Marsya Island, where a boy child of Satan resides along with 6 other ‘special’ magical children.
Linus was told to shield his judgement as best as he can and write truthfully. He promised to do so, and he also promised to himself that he would do everything to get out of that island fully intact.
He’s not sure of the latter one.
The Sea Has This Beautiful Cerulean Color
Linus never saw a sea before in his life. Compared to the orange dot on his shirt, and his cute sunflowers that grew in his little porch, the Marsya Island that located in the middle of the cerulean sea sure gave him much more colors to digest.
The more he stepped into the island, the more he found wonders. But scary thoughts were clouding his feelings and mind, he kept thinking about the 6 children he need to interact with during his stay.
A gnome, a monster, a wyvern, an animagus, a sprite, a child of the devil, and one mysterious master of the house that is accused from being secretive in his report about the children under his care.
That’s all what Linus knew, but later he learned that his object of investigations have name, personality, and stories to tell: Talia, Chauncey, Theodore, Sal, Phee, Lucy, and Arthur Parnassus.
Warm and Full of Hopes
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is the 2020’s winner of Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy genre. My friend read it first and said that I should try to read it too.
During the beginning chapters, the setting of the story reminded me of Harry Potter. But in this one, the magical beings and muggles (human, non-magical) have aware of the existence of each other, although we couldn’t say that they have agreed to live together.
Magical beings or someone who’s capable of magic such as witch, dragon, sprite, fairy, and so on, still live under the radar. People are vigilant, cautious with what their magical neighbors can do. So the government tried to control it as much as they can. One of the examples is how the orphanage home mastered by Arthur Parnassus was located in a small island, far away from the city and the mainland. The reason is because the local residents are afraid of the destruction the children might inflict to their life.
The book The House in the Cerulean Sea touches the issue of living as minority–to be someone so rare, so different, that the world tend to judge and be afraid first before they really know what they’re dealing with. Some LBGT-themed stories are also included to highlight the struggle of being different than the others.
It’s quite a quirky book, but not dark at all. It’s hopeful, cute, and sweet. One that could make you smile during reading.