The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Plot - 8/10
Writing - 9/10
Overall - 8.5/10
User Review( votes)
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Release Date: September 10, 2019
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a deftly-written portal fantasy novel that can attract both old and new readers of the genre.
Introducing The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, has received a fantastic cover and a lot of hype. It is part of Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series. Additionally, it can be found in both The Strand’s and Book of the Month’s subscription services. In some cases, a book that you see everywhere may let you down. That is not the case with this particular novel. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a deftly-written portal fantasy novel that can attract both old and new readers of the genre.
At the turn of the 20th century, January Scaller (our eponymous heroine) lives as the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke. One day, she finds a Door, but it disappears after she tells her guardian about it. Ten years later she finds a book about Doors called The Ten Thousand Doors, which affects her deeply. Meanwhile, her father, Julian, wanders the world looking for other things for Mr. Locke to collect. Although January grows up in a place that could fairly be considered luxurious, she starts to wonder if it is better to be safe or to be curious. The decision she makes affects not only her, but all of the people in her life (and many beyond it).
I would say that my favorite thing about The Ten Thousand Doors of January is the narration(s). Both the main story (narrated by a later January) and the book within a book (narrated by someone else) have distinct voices with the weight of the characters’ experiences behind them. For example, a number of plot details center around the fact that January is a mixed-race young woman. The way she looks affects her situation, and she notices that the people stubbornly upholding the status quo are white (and often male and old). Those are details that wouldn’t have been as clear from someone else’s perspective.
Additionally, both narrators have thematically important fascinations with language and stories. January is incredibly taken with The Ten Thousand Doors. In turn, that book’s writer is a scholar who was raised to put incredible value in the power of words.
Conclusion: Will You Like The Ten Thousand Doors of January?
It may feel obvious to say that The Ten Thousand Doors of January is for fans of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. It is one of the most notable portal fantasy series of the past decade. However, the link is more than just the similarity of Doors; January’s written voice (looking at her past adventures) also speaks to those who may suspect that there is a world where they should be, rather than where they are. If you love the Wayward Children series, or other portal fantasies (like the Narnia books), you should pick up The Ten Thousand Doors of January.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January can now be found anywhere where books are sold. You can also ask your local librarian if your library can get a copy!
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