Thanks to NetGalley and Orbit/Redhook for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: September 10th, 2019
Synopsis: In the summer of 1901, at the age of seven, January Scaller found a Door. You know the kind of door—-the lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, to Atlantis, to all the places never found on a map.
Years late, January has forgotten her brief glimpse of elsewhere. Her life is quiet and lonely but safe on her guardian’s estate, until one day she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds in its pages, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger. A book that might lead her back to the half-remembered door of her childhood.
But, as January gets answers to questions she never imagined, shadows creep closer. There are truths about the world that should never be revealed.
“Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries. This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever read…It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page.”
January Scaller ~ The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow
What drew me first to The Thousand Doors of January, was that breathtaking cover, and that coupled with its intriguing synopsis made me request it. You know how sometimes a book will suck you in so completely that when you surface it takes you a little bit to re-acclimate yourself to the real world? Well, fair warning. That’s exactly what’s going to happen if you chose to dive into this exquisitely written debut novel, by Alix Harrow.
All of the characters—heroes, villains, and faithful canine companion alike—are so well-written that they fairly leap from the pages. January though, is the star, and my God what a memorable character! The way she grows and develops from a sullen unhappy, but imaginative child, to a young woman who has embraced her past, present, and future, in a little less than 400 pages, is nothing short of brilliant. Her voice even as that seven-year-old at the beginning is so distinctive and alive, by the end of the book I felt as though I had met her in real life. The world building is beyond amazing, with the story jumping from America of the late 1800s and early 1900s, to not one but three “elsewheres.” It’s seamlessly done and I felt as though I was visiting these different settings along with the characters. And finally, there’s the actual plot. Alix Harrow has taken the concept of hidden doorways to other worlds and spun an entirely new and ingenious mythology around them. From the ending this could very well be a standalone, but I’m hoping not. I want more!
The Ten Thousand Doors of January was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, and I’m thrilled to say it’s now my favorite, which is saying something as I’ve been luck enough to read some pretty spectacular books this year. It’s a magical ode to storytelling and…well, let me just finish with this: Read this if you’re a fantasy fan. Read this if you’ve never picked up a fantasy novel, yet have been tempted to veer out of your usual comfort zone. Read this if you’re a bibliophile and believe in the magic and power of stories. Read this if you love books with strong, diverse and kick-ass female characters who will have you cheering for them. Most importantly, read this if like me, you’ve ever wondered, even if just for an instant, about the possibility of magical doorways that can transport you to other worlds and wished with all your heart you could find one and walk through.