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


Title: The Ten Thousand Doors of January 
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Genre /Tropes: Portal fantasy with romantic elements
Release Date: 10 September 2019

Author's links:

My rating: 5 Stars


In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

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.


What a thrilling adventure this book has been. It’s a debut full length novel for the author and a truly magical fantasy, engagingly written and it had a huge impact on me. 

It's a portal fantasy about exploring other worlds and finding your place in them. There is a moving side love story which I absolutely enjoyed, there are even two of them if you ask me. 

I don't want to go into details of the plot, so I will focus more on what I loved and how this book made me feel. 

January is such a great character, I loved seeing her grow and change and become her own person. There are lots of adventures, some dark undertones but no true horror elements. 

At the heart of it for me this is a powerful story about love and wandering and storytelling. I feel I like I have highlighted most of the book, so many passages spoke to my heart - about the power of the words, the importance of change, the sense of (not)-belonging, love - between partners, in the family, among friends. 

The first half was somewhat slow-paced, more about setting the stage and the second half was full of adventure and action. There were lots of twists and turns to plot and found myself unable to put the book down. 

The writing is exquisite, it made me cry and broke my heart but also made me happy and hopeful. And that epilogue, it’s a thing of beauty. 

CW (as per the author and my own interpretation of the text): Abuse - physical and psychological; manipulation; violence against animals; forced hospitalization in mental hospital; mind control; racism; sexism; self-harm imagery (without intent to self-harm); violence; colonialism.

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