Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea.
Writer(s): T.J. Klune.
Narrator(s): Daniel Henning.
Publisher: MacMillan Audio.
Release Date: March 17th, 2020.
Length: 12 hours and 12 minutes.
My Overall Rating:
Judgment is easy. Funneled through an array of personal experiences and subjective knowledge shared with us by others we surround ourselves with, it can breed terrible thoughts, and once expressed out loud, imbued in negative emotions, they can be quite devastating to those on the receiving end. As the world strives toward universal acceptance and intimate solidarity in the midst of evil and chaos, it has become a challenge for many to assure a safe environment for people to live, communicate, and learn together. To assure such a future, it is up to adults to teach children about individuality, diversity, and love so that they can eventually spread their wings and spread the joy of life to everyone they encounter. Through his stand-alone fantasy novel, writer T.J. Klune invites readers on an eye-opening adventure that will change one man’s life through one caretaker’s wisdom and his six magical children.
What is The House in the Cerulean Sea about? The story follows Linus Baker, a forty-year-old lonely yet hard-working Case Worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Tasked to visit government-sanctioned orphanages to determine the safety of the environment and assure the well-being of children, he’s unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management for a highly classified assignment: travel to the Marsyas Island Orphanage where he is to document and report the situation regarding six highly dangerous magical children who might be at the heart of a world-ending phenomenon. However, their caretaker, the mysterious, perceptive, and charismatic Arthur Parnassus will do anything to keep these children safe. As Linus Baker grows closer to these individuals, he will have to make a difficult decision: put an end to this home or embrace the end of the world.
“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don’t, we might forget how to be happy..”— T.J. Klune
Wonderfully narrated by Daniel Henning, writer T.J. Klune brilliantly and effortlessly establishes his protagonist within the first opening chapters. Condemned to a world crammed with rules and regulations, Linus Baker has always followed everything to the letter, preferring the safety of structure and hierarchy, as well as the simplicity of submission to the boundless girth of creativity and freedom. This latest mission offers him an opportunity to break free from the walls he’s built around himself and understand what a safe space is actually about, what freedom of choice feels like, and what one can actually call home in opposition to a house. Although his journey inevitably leads him to face what he’s never got in the first place, a lot of the fun also lies in the motley of children introduced into this story. Their unique traits, personalities, and voices perfectly challenge the protagonist’s understanding of the world and the numerous social constructs that restrain society from appreciating one another, our differences, and the support that we are capable of.
At the heart of this tale is also a tactfully-handled social commentary on stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. On top of criticizing the indoctrination of children by marginalization and manipulation, notably by promoting the importance of safe environments constructed on acceptance and communication, the story emphasizes the beauty in each and everyone’s identity. As the story progresses, readers will quickly be enthralled by the quirky and eclectic characters, the bonds that they will eventually form (some of the plot threads are quite predictable in the grand scheme of things), and the care they’ll end up having for one another when faced with adversity. In the end, although it would’ve been ever-the-more enchanting to have more details of the world, there are numerous lessons interspersed into the narrative that indubitably makes this a memorable and mesmerizing tale.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting and whimsical fantasy adventure promoting kindness, acceptance, and open-mindedness to create a safe space where one can find a home.