May 30, 2023

The House in the Cerulean Sea


2020 Macmillan Audio
Narrated by Daniel Henning
Finished on 5/27/2023    
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is another book that I've seen mentioned all over the blogosphere, Goodreads and Instagram. I decided to give the audiobook a try and enjoyed it pretty well, despite the storyline's predictability. I would have bet big money that Steve Rowley (author of The Guncle) was the narrator for the audiobook, but it's actually Daniel Henning. His sense of humor and sarcastic tone sound very much like that of Rowley's. The writing (particularly the humorous dialogue) also reminds me of Kevin Wilson's in Nothing To See Here.

I'm not sure if Klune's book lives up to all the hype, but it's entertaining and I enjoyed listening during my daily walks. The story is filled with numerous (and not-too-subtle) messages and life lessons about prejudice, intolerance, etc., which I feel was a little heavy-handed. Finally, there is some controversy about Klune's inspiration for the book, but I don't care to dive into that here. Feel free to click here and here for more on that issue.


  1. I abandoned this part way in; I think it was the over-hyped for one thing, but I had a few other issues I struggled with.

    So glad to see that you liked The Housekeeper and the Professor on Instagram. It is one of my very favorite Japanese books. ❤️

    1. Meredith, I might have called it quits too, had I been reading the print edition. It's always easier for me to keep plugging on with audios.

      I thought The Housekeeper and the Professor was marvelous! I thought of you when I was reading it. It's a gem.


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