This is another unique, beautiful, sad and heartwarming story by T.J. Klune! I absolutely loved The House in the Cerulean Sea and am so grateful for the opportunity to read the wonderful Under the Whispering Door already as an ARC. (Thank you so much Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley! All opinions are completely my own though and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.)
The main character in this contemporary story full of magic and fascinating beings is the mean, selfish and obnoxious workaholic lawyer Wallace Price, who has ruined all relationships he’s ever had and is living solely for his work. Until he suddenly dies of a heart attack and finds himself at his own funeral. From there a wonderful, magical and empowering tale evolves, with Wallace meeting the mysterious Mei, who brings him with her to the tea shop Charon’s Crossing and its owner the ferryman Hugo, and his dead granddad Nelson and dog Apollo. Together they try to help Wallace come to terms with his faith and help him cross over to the afterlife, all the while Wallace also slowly starts to reevaluate his whole life and realize the bad choices he’d made while living.
I have to admit that I struggled a bit with this story compared to The House in the Cerulean Sea, which stole my heart from the very first sentence. Mostly due to the fact that the main character was so dislikeable, bitter and mean for a long time. He does undergo a remarkable character development, and in the end, I absolutely loved him, but it took a bit too long for that to happen. The story also dragged quite a lot in the middle.
But after that, it was all back to the best kind of T.J. Klune magic again! The last part of the book was absolutely amazing! It was just pure perfection and so full of emotions, and I loved the romance so, so much. It must be one of the best endings ever! It both broke my heart and put it back together. Even though it was so sad and gripping it was also so full of love and hope, healings and new beginnings.
“Because life is senseless, and on the off chance we find something that does make sense, we hold onto it as tightly as we can. I found myself because of you.”
I also loved the whole concept of the story, and all the humor and the characters’ banter that is typical for a T.J. Klune book.
All in all, this was a beautiful, poignant and unique story about finding yourself and your purpose, and a homage to living your life to the fullest and the power of love and found families, no matter if they are alive or dead or somewhere in between.
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The House in the Cerulean Sea is such a unique and heartwarming story. It’s full of hope, acceptance and magic, and with amazing characters to root for. The story is something of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children meets the X-Men and the Ministry of Magic, all mixed together into a completely unique, beautiful and empowering tale about the power of love and found families.
It follows forty-year-old Linus Baker, a case worker at the Department In Charge Of Magical Youth (DICOMY) who has always followed the rules and regulations to the letter when inspecting the orphanages for “special” children run by the government. In contrast to his rather exciting work, Linus private life was quiet, to be kind (dull, grey and utterly boring and lonesome, to be honest). He lived alone in a tiny house with only a grumpy cat and his old records as company. Nothing exciting ever happened to him. Not until the day he was summoned by the Extremely Upper Management and given the highly classified assignment to visit the orphanage in the Cerulean Sea. There Linus was faced with the most unusual children he’d ever met, but also the charming caretaker and a hostile village with people full of fear for the unknown.
In this book, TJ Klune has created a world full of magic and adventures, and with some of the most wonderful characters in literature. I rooted so for them all; the devil’s son Lucy who loves old records, the bearded gnome Talia with a passion for gardening, the forest sprite Phee, the wyvern Theodore who collects buttons, Chauncey who is so unique that no one knows exactly what he is and who’s been told his whole life that he’s a monster but who’s dream is to become a bellhop to greet and help people, and the shy and sweet Sal who writes poetry but who changes into a small Pomeranian when he gets scared. And of course, the enigmatic caretaker Arthur Parnassus, with the big heart and his own secrets, and the island’s protective sprite Zoe.
Even to Linus, who had worked with magical children his whole life, the visit to the island was a mind-blowing experience. He had to struggle to keep an open mind and not let prejudice, rigid rules and unease for the unknown get the better of him. But along the way, he found some eye-opening truths, got to experience the wonders of the world, and the courage to live life to the full.
“Funny how that works out, isn’t it? That we can find the most unexpected things when we aren’t looking for them?”
Linus was such a dear, kind and just man. Seeing how he opened his mind and heart to the children was so heart-warming and touching. The journey to self-discovery for Linus and his character development was simply astounding. From a repressed and quiet little man (with a somewhat large waistline) he grew into a strong and unyielding fighter for justice.
There is so much to be learned from this book! It’s such an enchanting story about acceptance, respect for diversity, the power of love, and about realizing that a home and a family can be found where you least expect it.
“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”
The story dragged a little in the middle, but the ending more than made up for it. All in all, this was a breathtakingly beautiful novel about discovering what makes life worth living and about daring to stand up for the people you love and the things you believe in. It’s a story about the importance of kindness and how a small act of sympathy or love can shine a light even into the darkest of places. I recommend this empowering, hopeful and heartfelt book with all my heart, it’s a book that helps make this world a better place!
4.5 magical stars rounding up to 5
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nancy Garden Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Yamile Saied Méndez