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.
This book made me happy and it was the perfect escape from reality.
“I’m afraid I don’t have magic.”
“You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary.”
This books follows Linus Baker, he lives a quiet and unexciting life. He’s a case worker and looks over children in orphanages, basically making sure they’re being well treated and cared for. One day Linus is suddenly assigned a very important task, to check in on six “dangerous” children living in the Marsyas Island Orphanage and their caretaker, Arthur Parnassus.
One of my favorite tropes is the found family one. And my gosh, this book was filled with it. These characters were so complex and electric. Most of them didn’t have much in common, but the loyalty, love, and support were always there. Arthur adored these kids, he would die for them, he made sure they were always happy and healthy.
“This is not an orphanage. This is a house of healing, and one I think is necessary.”
There were six children at the orphanage: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. I adored every single one of them. Lucy, the Antichrist, was such a drama queen, he’d say the most morbid things, but wouldn’t hurt anything. Chauncey basically turned me into the heart eye emoji every time he came onto the page. Talia made me laugh almost every time she opened her mouth. I just really, really loved all of them.
“Change often starts with the smallest of whispers. Like-minded people building it up to a roar.”
If anyone here is a fan of character redemptions, this is for you. Linus Baker from start to finish goes through one hell of a character arc. He goes from pushover, rule-following, cog in a machine type person to someone I really loved and respected. He learns so much, about himself and his job, throughout the story. He finds bravery through Arthur and the kids and it just makes him a better person.
“You’re too precious to put into words.”
Also, slow burn romance you say? Arther and Linus move at a glacial pace, but I don’t even care. Every conversation, every look, every touch meant the world. They were so formal with each other, but it was like you could actually see them fall for each other.
This was just a magical read. It was charming and enchanting. My heart was so full by the end.