Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Ten Thousand Doors of January
by Alix E. Harrow
♦publisher: Redhook Books
♦release date: September 10th, 2019
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Adult
♦stand alone, historical fantasy
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
In the summer of 1901, at the age of seven, January Scaller found a Door. You know the kind of door–they lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, to Atlantis, to all the places never found on a map.

Years later, January has forgotten her brief glimpse of Elsewhere. Her life is quiet and lonely but safe on her guardian’s estate, until one day she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds in its pages, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger. A book that might lead her back to the half-remembered door of her childhood.

But, as January gets answers to questions she never imagined, shadows creep closer. There are truths about the world that should never be revealed.


With any cover as breathtakingly lovely the one bestowed upon Ten Thousand Doors of January, I tend to romanticize that the story within will be just as breathtakingly lovely. It builds up in my mind until I realize what I'm doing,  talk myself back down, preparing to be let down, telling myself that few books could get so lucky as to have it all, inside and out. But with Ten Thousand Doors of January, there was no let-down in sight! It was, in fact, a gorgeous book, inside and out!

The first thing you realize straight away from nearly page one is that the writing is absolutely gorgeous, the imagery is stunning, and the prose are (quite literally in some parts) a veritable love letter to language and the written word. It's the imaginative portal fantasy it promises to be, but has so many more complex layers to it, its almost easy to forget that it's a fantasy at all while untangling the threads of January and Ade's tales and how they collide. It's a story rich with history, racial tensions, power-hungry secret societies, and a brave girl trying to find her place in the world after discovering she's been trusting the wrong people her entire life. It's literally told as a book within a book, and there are so many fascinating characters woven into the story, my favorites being two courageous women, Jane (January's friend) and Adelaide (a bold adventurous woman in a book that January will find even more connection with that she could ever imagine).  We really only get a full look at a few of the worlds behind the elusive doors, though even the smallest glimpses were fascinating. The few we do get a good look at are awe-inspiring---worlds crafted with endless creativity and detail.

I truly enjoyed January's story. While it wasn't always quick paced, the unraveling of her story and how it's so gracefully woven into Ade's and Julian''s, Jane's and Sam's and Mr. Locke's, all with her loving and faithful Bad (a big lovable dog by the name of Sinbad) by her side, it was still constantly enchanting and I relished every moment.

{About The Author}

Alix E. Harrow is a part-time history adjunct and full-time reader, with stories published in Shimmer and Strange Horizons. In her spare time she writes, gardens, herds pets, and works on her gloriously dilapidated house. She lives in Berea, Kentucky with her husband and son. 

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon