By TJ Klune
Published March 2020
This is one of those books that languished on my TBR pile for months and my only regret after I finally got a chance to read it was not getting to it sooner.
Here’s the blurb: Linus Baker lives an unremarkable life in an unnamed land (although judging by the weather and language, my guess would be London) where it’s always gray. However, in this world, there are magical beings, and they are all carefully controlled. For their own good, of course. This is where Linus comes in – he’s an inspector at The Department of Magical Youth. He’s held his position for seventeen years, neither wanting nor expecting a promotion. He’s simply doing his job.
Until he’s sent on an ultra-classified assignment by Upper Management to inspect an orphanage on an island he’s never heard of. His mission? To determine if the six children pose a threat to the (non-magical) world. Linus is determined to do his inspection, file his report, and return to his mundane life. Instead he finds a welcoming house and gardens, a place where it’s always sunny, and possibly what his heart has been longing for without him knowing it.
This was a truly sweet book. Part fantasy, part romance, and all uplifting. I seem to be reading a lot of heavily themed books lately, and this one is no exception, packed with themes of understanding, of being accepted for who you are, and of tolerance of things/people we don’t understand.
The characters are magnificent, although I would have preferred to have seen Arthur Parnassus, the head of the orphanage, fleshed out a bit more. He was the dark horse and kept a little more under the radar (pardon my clichés) than I liked. Unfortunately, I can’t really go into why without throwing out any spoilers. That said, he was the only character I found even slightly lacking. The children were magnificent, particularly Lucy. I’m dying to know if he was modeled on a specific child. The scene in the record store had me rolling, although my cat was not as amused since I always seem to get to the scenes that leave me laughing when she’s trying to sleep nearby.
The message got a bit preachy at times but overall, I was enchanted. You will be too; if you haven’t had a chance to read this gem, I highly recommend it.
4.25/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐+
Until next time, thank you for visiting.