A while back, maybe last year, there was a bit of discussion regarding the popularity of m/m books being written by women and the men writing these books being frozen out, so to speak. Going in search of a male writer for a m/m romance, I stumbled upon TJ Klune and his novel The House in the Cerulean Sea. I bought it but it took me a while to read it. Being in several reading groups and writing up reviews on a schedule, it was pushed down in my TBR list. In September, I picked it up and began reading it only to have to put it down for a while because I had three books I needed to read as soon as possible. (Two were library books that had come in)
Finally, in mid-October, I picked it back up and finished the remainder of the book in a sitting.
There are books that you read and think, “Oh, that was cute.” There are books that quickly become your favorites and they get kept, regulated to the “to be re-read” pile. Then there are books that touch you so deeply that you wonder how you missed this all this time. Not only is House going in my “to be re-read” pile, but I can safely say this is a comfort book for me.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is a bit of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” with a dash of “Good Omens” mixed with a whole lot of warm and sometimes slimy fuzzies. Linus Baker is a case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth and he’s damn good at his job. So good, in fact, that he is summoned by the Executive branch to look into a special case for them.
There is an orphanage with six dangerous and magical children, and he is tasked to discover if they are being properly housed. Once on the island, Linus meets with Arthur Parnassus, the master of the orphanage and his six charges up to and including one child who is the actual antichrist. The entire story is a magical tale of found family, how eyes can be opened to the abuses of government, and how fear of the unknown can corrupt cities and communities.
Is this a romance? Absolutely it is a romance but it’s also about familial love and learning to love oneself. Klune’s characters come to life on the page, and you fall in love with the children, who are just that…children. I am kicking myself that I waited so long to finally read this book because I deprived myself so long from this wonderful tale.