Title: The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Edition/Pages: Ebook 384 pages
I received an arc copy of this from Redhook/Orbit via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
January lives in a large mansion full of mysterious treasures from around the world. But despite the luxuries her guardian, Mr. Locke, has provided, January never stops feeling out of place. Her father is constantly traveling, looking for new treasures, and she is left alone.
One day, she finds a book hidden inside a secret chest. The book tells the story of mysterious doors to other worlds and a love story for the ages.
“It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.”
➸ POV – This is told in letter format to an unknown recipient from January’s POV.
Content Warnings: Racism, Death of a parent, Abuse, Abandonment
“It’s a profoundly strange feeling, to stumble across someone whose desires are shaped so closely to your own, like reaching toward your reflection in a mirror and finding warm flesh under your fingertips. If you should ever be lucky enough to find that magical, fearful symmetry, I hope you’re brave enough to grab it with both hands and not let go.”
What I Liked
➸ Alix E. Harrow’s writing is out of this world beautiful. I was pulled into this magical world and never wanted to leave. By the end I couldn’t believe this was a debut novel – I can’t remember the last time I was swept up by such beautiful prose. And I don’t want to get this misconstrued as “flowery” writing. Harrow doesn’t waste time overly describing unnecessary scenes (although there is a lot of talk about the scent of things). But the descriptions she does use are captivating that it feels like you are getting pulled through a magical door yourself.
➸ This concept and world were so unique and alluring. Every time we “visited” a new world I wanted to know everything. Every world was different and fully fleshed out. They had their own histories and people and cultures.
➸ The commentary on modern society and culture was woven so perfectly throughout this. While it was set in the early 1900’s the parallels to today’s world were definitely there. But never did it feel heavy handed. Harrow let both sides speak for themselves.
What I Didn’t Like
➸ There was nothing about this book I didn’t love (hence the 5 star rating).
“May she wander but always return home, may all her words be written true, may every door lie open before her.”
I did want to mention that this book is not an action-based story. This is, at it’s core, a love story to readers. It is character and world driven. It’s a commentary on society and modern culture. If you’re looking for a quick moving, action filled plot, this is not the story for you. But if you want deep, developed characters, rich, complex worlds, and some of the most beautiful prose, this will most certainly not disappoint.