Originally published: 12 September 2019
Author: Alix E Harrow
Published by: Orbit
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Reading dates: 9-13 September 2019
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is not my usual preferred genre but the cover of this book just blew me away – I’m that shallow! Isn’t it one of the most gorgeous covers you’ve ever seen?
Every story opens a door
When we first meet January Scaller in the summer of 1901, she is just 7 years old. Her father works as a field agent for the wealthy Mr Locke, scouring the world for treasures. Mr Locke is January’s ward, caring for her in her fathers absence as her mother is dead. He treats her well, offering her the luxuries her father could not afford. Mr Locke belongs to the New England Archaeological Society and his house is full of the treasures January’s father and the other field agents bring back.
On a business trip to Kentucky with Mr Locke, January comes across a Door, standing alone in a field and when she steps through it, she finds herself in a different world. Mr Locke discovers her there and gets cross. When she goes back the next day to walk through it again and explore further, it is gone and a pile of ash is left in it’s place. Over the coming years, January becomes less unruly, keen to please Mr Locke and be a good girl and she almost forgets about her experience with the Door.
When January is 17 when she find a tatty book in Mr Locke’s Pharaoh Room called The Ten Thousand Doors, a book that describes other worlds, secret doors, love and adventure. It is from this that January learns about the Doors, about a woman called Adelaide and her search for love through the Doors and her explorations to different worlds.
I have to admit, although I found the writing beautiful, it was a little bit of a slow burner for me. The first third of the book is about setting up the world in which the story is based. I was eager for some action and adventure and soon I found I couldn’t put it down! The attention to detail was wonderful: I was completely engrossed in January’s world. The book is January’s story but we also get to read the text of The Ten Thousand Doors and I really liked that we were learning about the magic behind them at the same time as January.
January is a likeable heroine – exotic and unusual looking, she is not sure where she fits in the upmarket society in which she lives and often feels lonely and isolated. But as the story progresses, she finds people who care for her and would do anything for her and I loved these friendships. There is Samuel, the grocer’s son with whom she shares a love of books, her companion Jane who was sent to her by January’s father and her loyal dog, Bad (short for Sinbad). I really liked that it was set in the early 1900s – it really added to the atmosphere of the book.
Full of adventures and excitement, this felt truly original, full of mythical creatures and magic, with one of the strongest heroines I have come across in a while! I really enjoyed this and Harrow has left it open for a possible sequel which I would be keen to read.
Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the blog tour and to Orbit for sending me a beautiful proof copy! Be sure to checkout the other stops below:
About the author:
Alix E Harrow is a part-time historian 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.