Book recs: ‘The House on the Cerulean Sea’ is whimsical adventure on fantastical island


The House of the Cerulean Sea is an endearing story in a fantastical setting

Gianna Cocovinis, Staff Writer

Imagine an orphanage for magical children, a soft, sweet romance between two gentle, caring men from two completely different worlds and a story that will melt your heart. “The House on the Cerulean Sea” by T.J Klune is an adult fantasy following the pragmatic Linus Baker, a veritable cog in the working machine that follows orders to a T and absolutely cannot deviate from the norm of his dreary, grey life working for an institution that assesses the dangers of magically gifted children in remote orphanages. When Linus is suddenly summoned by Extremely Upper Management, he is given a highly classified assignment. He must travel to the Marsyas Island Orphanage, meet the six “dangerous” children that live there, most feared of which is the Antichrist himself and conduct an observation on whether the place should be shut down. The assignment is simple enough, and a practice that Linus has done countless times before. Yet, as Linus arrives on the island and he gets to know these peculiar but endearing individuals, he begins to wonder what his real priorities are and whether he just might fit in with this found family in their quiet but perfect corner of the world.  


For fans of “Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “X-Men,” this story will warm your heart and make you laugh from the start of the first page. From wood sprites to wyverns to an unidentifiable greenish blob with dreams of becoming a professional bellhop, these strange, quirky characters win your heart from the second they came onto the page. With distinct, vivid personalities of their own coming from all different backgrounds, these characters still had such a strong family bond that showed just how much they loved and valued each other. The found family trope is always one of my favorites, and this story captures so beautifully how so many different people can come together and share such love while enjoying the small paradise they have carved for themselves. Not only do they have unique, interesting magical abilities, but they all have their own passions and distinct personality traits that made them complex, compelling characters which I found a pleasure to read as the story progressed.  


In every way, “The House on the Cerulean Sea” is about acceptance, vulnerability and opening your heart to new, unexpected experiences. While at times the book felt a bit cheesy and poured the hopeful “glass half full” speeches a little thick, it was well worth the read. Beyond just feeling all the heart warming, cozy vibes this book gave off, it also introduces you to some great music. Turns out the Antichrist everyone is afraid of is a pretty big music buff and has a thing for 50s and 60s rock music. Linus’s character was also one who is especially relatable. Watching him slowly release his inhibitions and accept the fact that he can’t be in control of everything at every moment was a satisfying and painfully relatable character development. If you’re ever feeling stressed during the semester, don’t hesitate to pick this book up. It will sweep you away to this small, magical island by the sea and give you a sweet love story full of kindness, warmth and vulnerability from start to finish.