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

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow // VBC Review

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Alix E Harrow
Published: September 10, 2019 (Redhook)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

January Scaller grew up as the ward of Mr. Locke, a collector of rare and unique artifacts. Instead of feeling the wealth and privilege of the world in which she resides, she always felt like one of her guardian’s curiosities. Part of his collection. January knows nothing of her mother and only sees her father on the rare occasion that he’s back from whatever adventure Mr. Locke sent him on in his need to acquire more.

January’s world is changed on the day she discovers a Door—not to be confused with a door mind you. Upon opening the Door, the world literally opens for her, but she quickly learns there are those who would close all the Doors forever. When she later discovers a book that unravels the mysteries of the Doors, January will set out on a quest to find what she’s lost and maybe something she’s yet to find.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a sprawling book. Simultaneously traversing land and countries, worlds and mythologies. It has an almost circular pattern of storytelling to it, as January discovers a book that seemingly describes the various possibilities of Doors, yet it also manages to tie into January’s own sense of self-discovery, then uses that same discovery to continue the momentum of the story moving forward.

I loved the idea of Doors as not just a threshold that one walks through, but something that can also be an event or a person. An object or place or whatever that can change and alter you, for better or worse, in an undeniable way. Alix Harrow does a great job of making this concept very easily accessible to the reader.

There’s a back and forth narrative going on throughout most of Ten Thousand Doors. First, is January’s own story, and second, once the book is discovered we get alternating chapters verbatim as though we were reading along with January. It’s an interesting writing technique and overall I liked it, but there were times that I’d get going in one narrative and the switch would pull me out too easily. Even further, I’d sometimes confuse what was happening with January with what she was reading in the book. Looking back, and based on events that occur, I think this was strategic planning on Alix Harrow’s part, but at the time, again, it was something that pulled me out of my reading trance.

But seriously, what a book to get yourself lost in. I’m writing this review almost right after finishing the book, and all I can think about is going back in, discovering new worlds. I mean isn’t that why we read in the first place, to be transported? If you’re looking for a story that knows the power of words and the transcendence of love, you’ve certainly found it with The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

Content: Kissing

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