This book has often been compared to the Harry Potter series, if only for the presence of magical beings. Protagonist Linus Baker is a case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. It sounds like an interesting job, but in reality it is filled with stacks of paperwork and soul-sucking hours spent in a cramped office space with very specific rules and regulations. The highlight of Linus's job is his trips to orphanages where he gets a chance to interview the children and inspect the facility for fitness. However, he soon learns that many children are afraid of case workers from the Department, with good reason. It is only when Linus is assigned to observe an orphanage located on a secluded island outside a small town that he begins to understand the consequences of his job and his visits to orphanages.
Jim Rath is obsessed with a lost aquatic race called the Nautikons. He enjoys visiting a local hotel pool where he floats submerged in the water, with only the top of the snorkel peaking out, daydreaming about the Nautikons. One day, Jim spots a man he is certain is a Nautikon in disguise, and he follows the man to several hotels in pursuit of evidence to prove his theory of the existence of this aquatic race.
I considered reviewing each book in this trilogy individually, but since I sped through them all so quickly, I felt a comprehensive review of the entire series may be more beneficial for readers. I never like to start a series until I know all of the books are out so that I don't have to spend a year or more in the torturous realm of waiting for the next book to come out, if it ever does. It is, however, hard to discuss a series without letting a few mild spoilers slip, so proceed with caution. I will try to limit the number of spoilers to just the synopsis for each book.
As an initial disclaimer, I read the complete and uncut edition of this novel. Published by Doubleday and coupled with a sporadic number of black-and-white illustrations, this edition clocks in at 1,153 pages. The cut version, according to a quick google search, sits at 823 pages, and a perhaps less hefty version (in terms of size and width of the pages) of the uncut edition is around 1,300 pages. That said, based on the edition I read, I would say that even the condensed version is still too long.