Fiction Book Reviews

Historical Fantasy | The Ten Thousand Doors of January | Alix E Harrow

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I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on tour for The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow.  Unique and awesome it’s joining my top reads list this year.

Book cover The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow is published by Orbit and is currently available in digital, hardcover and audio book formats. 

Review

I’ve always been fascinated by doors and the infinite possibilities they represent.  Read any fantasy story and more often that not there will be a portal or doorway.  The uniqueness of The Ten Thousand Doors of January comes from not only the plot but also the characters, their motives and the world-building.  I’m always in awe of such creativity.

A few of my door captures where I may just have spent some time pondering where they lead to 🙂

I think January Scaller is representative of young people and our culture today – trying to find where she fits, where her tribes are.  This alone hooked me in and made me want January to break the conditioning, to find her strength and wildness of spirit that was evident during her childhood.   The loss of freedom comes from more than being surrounded by four walls – we witness some edge-of-your-seat scenes … 

I enjoyed Alix Harrow’s whimsical writing style and I thought the pace was perfect.  I loved the way the book was used to give us important information from the past.   Much is hidden through the story and I have to say that once the connections are revealed, I sat with my mouth open!  I was so engrossed in the story that it carried me along without me even thinking where events might fit in.

I loved:

  • the reminder that letters are symbols (with the author’s unique spin on them.  Fabulous.)
  • Arcadia
  • The eagle feathers
  • January’s solo quest
  • The City of Nin

It’s difficult to share too much without giving any spoilers.  Some characters will make you frustrated, other characters will provoke anger and a couple of characters will raise the hairs on your neck. There were times when I was holding myself together in fear and others where I was opened up to joy and cried.  This is a story of adventure and loss and of how far we might travel to complete the circle.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January will stay with me for a long time.  An outstanding debut.


Author photo Alix E Harrow

I’ve been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. I’ve lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon Westfalia. I have library cards in at least five states.

​Now I’m a full-time writer living in with my husband and two semi-feral kids in Berea, Kentucky. It is, I’m very sure, the best of all possible worlds.

Website  |   Twitter @AlixEHarrow  |


I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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