The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 Publisher: Hachette Book Group Genre: Fantasy
Synopsis: 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.
"She became something else entirely, something so radiant and wild and fierce that a single world could not contain her, and she was obliged to find others."
I will first-off admit that I was originally drawn to this book by the cover. I mean, how could I NOT be? It’s absolutely beautiful with intricate typography and flowers. This is one of the few times that I actually think the cover truly gives a glimpse into what is within. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is written with flowery and intricate words… almost to it’s detriment. I am a fan of beautiful words and imagery but, almost immediately, I felt that this book had a bit too much of it. The premise of the book is intriguing enough without the need of being ‘over-written’. This book is written almost like a story within a story within a story with our main character sharing her story to the reader while also reading a story that we (the reader) are also reading. The amount of layers within the book can easily hold their own but I kept being taken out of it with the over-expressive writing. But I digress. Once I came to terms with how it was written, I was along for the ride. I wanted to follow January on her journey figuring out the mysteries of the world(s) around her and what it means to everyone. There are a few twists and turns that her story brings but none were ultimately surprising, however I can appreciate how her character might not have put the pieces together sooner. I really enjoyed the magical elements of the story and wish that there was more of it. Once I had read the synopsis, I was ready for a door-hopping adventure exploring different worlds but sadly much of that was done off page and only given a few glimpses from our narrator.
Something that I did appreciate was that the main romantic aspects of the story was not for January but instead was between 2 other characters (shh spoilers!). It is nice to have a coming of age story that does not rely heavily on the romance of it’s main character which allows opportunity for them to grow and find strength on their own - which was semi done here. Over all I found the overarching story extremely intriguing and very creative for a debut. If you are a fan of flowery writing, I doubt that you will find much fault in it. In the end, I would say this was a middle of the road read for me as I felt more story could have been flushed out and some opportunities were missed but I am interested to see what is next for Alix E. Harrow.