Before we get into today's post-- I decided to refresh my blog a bit and switched up my theme. I had the old one for years, and I saw this book background and thought it fitting. I'm not sure if I like it yet or if I find it too busy. Let me know what you all think!
I read The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune last year (review here) and fell head over heels with it, so his latest release, Under the Whispering Door, was one of my most anticipated for this year. Big thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for a copy!
|Pub Date: 9-21-21|
Adult - Fantasy
Wallace Price was a terrible man. He was a terrible husband, he was a terrible boss, he'd be a terrible friend too if he had had any of those. Wallace never much cared for the thoughts or feelings of others if they didn't somehow benefit him. He dedicated his entire life to work and making sure he and his law firm were the most successful, and if he struck fear in the hearts of those around him, all the better for it. But now he's dead, and all he has to show for his life is a very expensive coffin.
When a spunky reaper named Mei shows up at his funeral, Wallace is ready for her to lead him straight to the afterlife, but instead, Mei brings him to a curious tea shop in the middle of the woods. Wallace quickly realizes this tea shop, including its handsome owner, isn't ordinary. The locals know Hugo as just a tea seller, but his real job is as a ferryman, helping those like Wallace cross over. But Wallace isn't ready to leave the life he knew behind, especially when he never got a chance to live it in the first place. With the help of Hugo, Mei, and the other inhabitants of the tea shop, Wallace learns to appreciate all the small things he took for granted. When the powerful and mysterious cosmic being known as the Manager steps in and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace frantically strives to pack an entire lifetime worth of memories into seven short days. But now that he finally knows the true meaning of friendship, family, and love, will he be able to say goodbye?
Once again, Klune has ripped out my heart, stomping and healing it all at the same time. I'm not going to sit here and say it was flawless, but it's pretty dang close. I went into this expecting to fall in love immediately as I did with his previous book, but it wasn't necessarily the case here. It took about twenty to thirty percent before I was fully invested in the story and thought it found its rhythm, but when I finally fell, I fell hard. It's chock full of Klune's signature whimsy and charm, but it's not just lightness and fun. It's a story about death and grief, but it's also about family and love. Klune beautifully balances all these heavy topics with humor and tenderness. There's an underlying feeling of hope woven throughout, and it's such a delight to see how it all played out. Aside from the plot, my favorite part of this was the characters. As much as I adored Wallace and Hugo and all their sweet interactions tugging at my heartstrings, my favorite was Nelson. He had me laughing out loud the entire time and made this even more joyful to read. While I may not have fully clicked with the beginning, by the end, I didn't want to leave this world or these characters behind, and I'm sure I'll reach for this again and again.