#CBR12 Bingo: I Wish (Travelling anywhere right now seems like an utter impossibility, but I would love to be able to hang out on Marsyas Island with its cast of unique residents)
Linus Baker does not live an exciting or interesting life. When he’s not visiting orphanages and checking up on children and teens with unusual abilities or magical powers, he sits in his utterly anonymous cubicle and writes detailed and thorough reports. He goes home to his non-descript little house, occasionally exchanges words with his crabby neighbour, takes care of his vicious cat and the only thing he has that brings his life any brightness are his old records, which he listens to after work at night. He doesn’t even dream of anything different, he just goes about his routine life, getting a bit older every day.
Then he’s given a highly unusual assignment. He’s summoned by the Extremely Upper Management at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, who feel he’d be the perfect person to carry out a very confidential mission for them. He needs to travel (for the first time ever!) to Marsyas Island, to visit the orphanage there and determine whether or not the six children who live there are dangerous, and write his usual comprehensive reports, both on the life in the orphanage and about the enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, the man who runs it. He’s not allowed to tell anyone about this assignment (not that he’d have anyone to share the news with) and he has to promise to be as forthright and thorough as he always has been in the past.
Linus packs up the Department’s giant book of rules and regulations, a small suitcase of clothes and his anti-social cat and takes the train, from the dreary city where he lives (and it always seems to be raining) to the stunning coastal town of Marsyas, where everything looks like a stunning postcard and it seems like everything is in bright jewel-tone colours. He’s met by a rather hostile young lady who escorts him over to the island and drives him to the orphanage. She knows who he works for and doesn’t seem to believe that he has the children or the orphanage’s best interests at heart.
Once he’s at the orphanage, Linus meets the unusual charges who reside there: a gnome who keeps threatening to murder him and bury him in her lush garden; a forest-sprite; a wyvern who collects coins and buttons; a peculiar gelatinous green blob who wants to be a bellhop more than anything in the world; a nervous, young man who turns into a Pomeranian when startled; and last, but not least, the literal Antichrist. He also meets the charismatic and charming Arthur Parnassus, who unlike the woman who drove Linus to the island, doesn’t seem all too worried about Linus’ reports or the fact that he’s there to report back to the Department in Charge of Magical Youth.
Full review on my blog.