First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.

A magical island. A Dangerous Tas. A burning secret.

Linus Baker is a by-the-book caseworker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records for company. But his quiet life is about to change.

Linus is summoned by Extremely Upper Management and given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to an orphanage on a distant island and determine whether six dangerous magical children are so dangerous, in fact, that they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

When Linus arrives at that strangest of islands he’s greeted by a series of mysterious figures, the most mysterious of which is Arthur Parnassus, the master of the orphanage. As Linus and Arthur grow closer, Linus discovers the master would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world has to burn. Or worse, his secret comes to light.

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

In seven days, the Christian world will be celebrating Christmas. In fourteen days, a new year will unfold. Wow. Time does really fly fast. A couple months before, the world was abuzz, fast-paced in its pursuit of excellence. Everyone thought that 2020 would be a great year, the entrance to a roaring decade. But everything was brought to a halt by an invisible enemy which the world is still scrambling to contain. I hope everyone is safe from the tentacles of the contagion.

It being a Friday, it is also time for a First Impression Friday post. For this week’s post, I’ll be tackling T.J. Klune’s latest work, The House in the Cerulean Sea. I wasn’t initially planning on purchasing or even reading this book. Had it not been for several positive and glowing reviews on the book, I might not have considered reading this book ahead of backlist books which are gathering dusts on my bookshelves (huhu, I feel sorry for them). My goal for the year changed along the way as well. I have been reading as many “new” books as I can such as this one.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is my first work by T.J. Klune, who I have learned has won Lambda Literary Award for one of his works. The Lambda Awards recognizes works that explore LGBTQ themes; I’ve read one Lambda Award-winning book previously so I kind of have an idea what the award is for. Anyway, knowing this already gave me an inkling on what the story will explore. I wasn’t even surprised when it was revealed that Linus Baker, the novel’s primary protagonist, was gay.

So the story begins when Linus, a caseworker employed by the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY), was given a highly confidential task by the Extremely Upper Management. He was tasked to investigate an orphanage located in the far flung and obscure island of Marsyas. The Extremely Upper Management’s attention was caught by the orphanage after the orphanage’s master failed to provide a detailed account of what was happening with his wards. A particular attention was sought after one of the six children in the orphanage – Lucifer, or Lucy in short. He was profiled to be the son of Satan.

Yes, the novel, as expected is filled with magical references. It is like a mashup of Harry Potter and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (although I have never read it, but if there is an image that comes to mind, this would be close to it). In Klune’s magical world, human beings, magical creatures, and the children with supernatural powers live together, not necessarily in harmony, hence the presence of regulatory agencies such as DICOMY. They were aware and wary of each other’s existence.

With the tension between the normal human beings and the magical beings, I understand that the novel explores familiar themes such as identity, homosexuality, romance, acceptance, among others. However, this tension, I see, is going to be offset by the entertaining, witty, and lighthearted storytelling of Klune. I am already laughing at some of the archetypes that he depicted at the start of the novel. I think that is good enough of a gauge of how I will feel towards the book; I just hope it will sustain it.

I just got to the part where Linus first entered the orphanage. He is giddy but I am feeling the opposite, I am excited and looking forward to getting to know the denizens of this eccentric and magical orphanage. I know it is going to be a ruckus but I don’t mend. I am actually anticipating it. I really hope the book live up to the hype because my expectations are quite high (but of course I am trying to temper it as much as possible for I don’t want to end up being disappointed).

How about you fellow reader, what book are you going to read this weekend? I hope it is a book that you’ve been looking forward to and I hope you enjoy it. Keep safe, and happy weekend!