Linus Baker, a by the book orphanage inspector for the Big Brother-like Department in Charge of Magical Youth, embarks on a life changing journey when he’s tasked with a month-long assignment at an unusual location at the end of the rail line. Accompanied by his aloof black cat, Calliope, he finds a place both dangerous and hopeful that he’d never dared to dream of. Will he summon the strength to defend the vulnerable children of Marsyas Island and claim the many kinds of love offered him by those he has learned to hold dear?
At nearly 400 pages, author TJ Klune has given himself plenty of time to build the story of one man’s discovery of his heart, purpose and place in this world. I gotta say, I haven’t cried so much over a book in a very long time.
Don’t let the Orwellian overtones at the beginning of the book put you off. Several times I put the book aside but I’d read so many social media comments that weren’t merely positive but superlative and heartfelt that I picked it up again and slogged on. So glad I did!
I identify with Linus because he’s such an introvert and so am I. As there are many kinds of love, there are also many levels of bravery.
So many times in reading this book, there are parallels to the prejudice and ignorance in the headlines of the last 18 months. If you gotta have “bad guys” in a book, you can’t go wrong with Mr. Prejudice and Mrs. Ignorance because they are so damn universal. There will be characters you want to scream and scratch. Be prepared to calm yourself.
The gay love story woven deftly into the novel is subtle and lovely and organic.
So often we search for our own worth inside ourselves, when, in reality, our worth is reflected back to us in the eyes of those who love and appreciate us.
I went into this book knowing nothing about the children of the orphanage Linus visited and I’m not going to tell you about them. I want you to meet them with no preconceived notions, like I did.
I fell in love with Linus, Arthur Parnassus, the master of the orphanage, the six magical, fragile children under his protection and many other folks of Marsyas. I want to live on that verdant, joyful island in the bright Cerulean Sea.