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.
I had been looking for a reasonably priced copy of this book for some time after seeing great reviews for it. I’m so, so glad I managed to as I absolutely adored this book. I just want to hug it and carry it round with me everywhere like a security blanket, it is that lovely.
Linus was a brilliant character, a man who lived a small life, who had convinced himself that was all he needed but was under it all lonely. He was so likeable and true to himself even as he was reluctantly pulled out of his comfort zone. Seeing him develop and learn to have fun was delightful. His relationship with his cat Caliope was adorable as well.
The children at the orphanage were so well written that they all instantly became people that you wanted to know as you were introduced to them. Finding out their stories was at times heart breaking but watching them bond further as a group and develop was such fun to read.
This book hit so many feels as I read it and ticked so many of my fantasy loves. Theodore the wyvern with his treasure hoard under the sofa, Chauncy the no-one-is-quite-sure with his adorable dream and the other children had such amazing individual skills and magic that even with a relatively gentle storyline it felt full.
I don’t want to say to much as I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone but if you haven’t read this book then you absolutely need to, it is the nicest, most wonderful book I have read for a long time.