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The Ten Thousand Doors of January

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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.

374 pages, Hardcover

First published September 10, 2019

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About the author

Alix E. Harrow

41 books16.5k followers
a former academic, adjunct, cashier, blueberry-harvester, and kentuckian, alix e. harrow is now a full-time writer living in virginia with her husband and their semi-feral kids.

she is the hugo award-winning and nyt-bestselling author of THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY (2019), THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES (2020), a duology of fairytale novellas (A SPINDLE SPLINTERED and A MIRROR MENDED), and various short fiction. her next book, STARLING HOUSE will be out on october 3rd, 2023!

her writing is represented by kate mckean at howard morhaim literary agency.

newsletter: https://writtenworld.substack.com/
email: alixeharrow at gmail.com
insta: alix.e.harrow

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 19,788 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
August 14, 2022
I almost didn’t write this review. I felt that to speak of this book would be to contain what it did to me, to diminish it somehow. And I didn’t want to do that. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is almost less a novel than an experience: never have I felt more like I was part of things, moved by the same current, like my soul had disconnected from my body and drifted among fictional souls in a mist somewhere between fantasy and reality. It seemed hardly credible when I finished reading that I couldn’t follow the words back to a world where this wasn’t mere fiction. The sensible part of me informed me, patiently, that none of it had any more bearing on real life than a dream, yet in the surreal fuzziness of the night, I felt—on a bone-deep, irrational level—the possibility that I might turn a key, open a door and unlock the mysteries of the world. Even the morning’s clarity couldn’t snatch that away.

When one enters a door, one must be brave enough to see the other side.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January starts, as great tales often do, with a book. The rush of turning a page and a story beginning. But that isn’t the true beginning of the story. The story rather starts with a Door.

January Scaller grew up uneasily lodged with the immensely wealthy Cornelius Locke, her childhood a half-painted picture without her father in it while he disappeared for days, months, to buy off with Locke’s gold coins marvels and oddities from all around the world. For years, January was as molten glass in Locke’s hands, to be spun into the (dutiful, docile, "un-temerarious") shape he liked. The more January's father became absent, the more what used to be fluent between them became difficult to translate. Now consumed by a sense of dreary imprisonment within Locke’s sprawling mansion and suffering an undimmed longing for an absentee father, January became lonelier. Until one day, when she stumbles upon a book, and she is suddenly lost and found and wandering, all at once.

My long years of research have taught me that all stories, even the meanest folktales, matter. They are artifacts and palimpsests, riddles and histories. They are the red threads that we may follow out of the labyrinth. It is my hope that this story is your thread, and at the end of it you find a door.

I loved this book. Harrow has written a jewel of a novel that grips readers from the opening sentence. The prose is addictive, saturated with so much ache and yearning. But even more than the beautiful language, the plot, the characters, and the skill with which the author brings the intersecting storylines to an ending that is at once healing and fraught with pain, what I relished most about this book, and what I will remember most about it, is the way the author succeeds in giving the desperate earnestness of her storytelling the quality of a memory. 

There's something that feels so lived-in about this novel, as if this story—about lonely people who lose each other and find each other across multiple worlds, guided by nothing but a forlorn wish for belonging—has happened or could have happened. I knew none of it was real, of course, but I also knew it wasn’t not real, and the two knowings chased circles in my head. Therein, I think, lies the book’s biggest reward: in its ability to convince and compel, to conjure up the indescribable, the unfathomable, through language and make you believe. To show you a door and hand you a key and invite you to embrace the thrilling and sickening lurch of the drop.

If you've ever wondered how it would feel to stand on the threshold of a living dream, I promise this book is your key.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,605 reviews10.7k followers
May 17, 2023
((me: prepares for awkward silence due to unpopular opinion))

((confirmed: sound of crickets))

I'm sorry, everyone, but I have to be honest. I did not enjoy this book at all.

I really wanted to, I was so hyped for it. I saw early reviews coming in and they were fantastic. I couldn't wait to get started.

My initial impression was that although the writing style was a little quirky, my interest was still high. Then it seemed to go nowhere.

I wasn't feeling anything. I honestly do not think I have ever been less engaged with a story.

The writing was flowery and beautiful, but I felt like the plot got lost in all of that.

I dreaded picking it back up and really struggled almost the entire way through. For a book that is under 400-pages, it felt like an 800-page tome.

There was a sweet spot for me between 50% and 80%, where I briefly felt connected, but sadly, that's just not enough.

If you read through the reviews, I am clearly in the minority opinion. I have read the reviews, I know.

When I first finished, I contemplated giving this a 2.5-star rating and rounding up to 3, but then I slept on it and came to the conclusion that I would just be doing that to appease people.

I genuinely did not enjoy this and must rate it accordingly. With this being said, I can understand why so many people have loved this and I am happy that they found something in here that resonated with them. Unfortunately, I didn't.

I love portal fantasy. Great examples would be, The Dark Tower or the Wayward Children series, but this one fell so flat for me.

The characters seemed one dimensional and I had zero connection to any of them. I don't need to like characters, but I do need to actually care about what ultimately happens to them.

The only character I cared about was the dog, Bad. I was so worried about that dog, and traumatized by things that happened to him, that I was never able to relax into the story.

That is 100% a personal preference and it has spoiled books for me in the past, -- see my review for The Deep by Nick Cutter -- but there's not much here to save this story from that pitfall.

With all of this being said, I would never want a personal review from myself to keep people from picking up a book that really interests them.

If you think this sounds intriguing, please pick it up and try it for yourself.

There is a book for every reader and a reader for every book. This just wasn't my cuppa tea.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Redhook Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I truly appreciate the opportunity and know that many, many Readers are going to absolutely adore January's story.

Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,302 reviews43.9k followers
February 6, 2023
5 thousand stars first for wonderful, amazing illustration on the cover and five thousand stars go for rest of the heart throbbing, one of the most creative, colorful, joyful journeys to many different imaginary portals you can never imagine to visit!


This is amazing combination of McGuire’s Wayward Children Series and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series!

BLURB: Seven years old January’s revelation of finding a door opens to Faerie, Atlantis, Valhalla, and the places never found on a map. Of course I’m intrigued and wanted to learn more!

HEROINE: January is definitely; brave, witty, sarcastic, loyal, gifted, young heroine. It’s enjoyable how she compares herself with regular book heroines with her great sense of humor!

FAVORITE CHARACTERS: Of course the badass, loyal, brave dog!

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS: Mr. Locke, blood freezing, teeth grinding, nerve bending villain who deserves to be putted on a dart chart so you can be more concentrated to hit the target!

Jane is memorable Amazon woman! Straightforward, tough, protector.
Samuel: sweet, loyal, romantic, impossible not to love and care for!

And January’s parents and their love story are definitely heartbreaking! I sighed so many times when I’m reading their parts!

WRITING STYLE: Pacing was not fast but not too slow! It keeps your attention alert and hooked you from the first page, you don’t want to stop, want to learn more and more till your head starts to turn because you passed your sleep time five hours ago and you start to see the sunrise and you realize it’s too late to go to the bed so you’d better finish the book!

ENDING: When I close a book and see my smile like Cheshire cat cover my face all night, it means I’m so satisfied with the ending. So yes! It’s the best emotional, joyful, smart ending to this unconventional, creative, well-crafted, remarkable story!

FANTASY LOVERS, GOOD STORY CHASERS, PORTAL TRAVELERS, this book is highly recommended for you!

Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
August 20, 2020
I liked the writing style and adventurous concept - it's fun to think about all the different worlds that you can escape to, especially ones that are more accepting of POC compared to our world. I appreciate the decision to make the protagonists POC and have a feeling of "not belonging" to add another layer of wanting to escape to other worlds. I couldn't find myself attached to the characters though, and the “book within a book” execution dragged the story a little too long, making my interest dwindle. I also found the antagonist to end up being cartoonishly power-hungry (especially with the monologues), making their motivations flimsy for the sake of having conflict.
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews882 followers
March 1, 2021
“It is at the moments when the doors open, when the things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.”

Ten thousand doors no’s. Twenty thousand doorways no-way’s.

Sometimes I shamelessly fall for those hyped bestsellers, but most often I cannot stand them. Funnily enough, I loved what most people hate about this book: the flowery, flowing prose. I admired the writing style so much that I wanted to rate the book with full five stars, a priori, before I even finished the second chapter.

How sensible of me — not.

The Idea

This novel has two main cornerstones: portal fantasy and a book in a book. The first one is a sham, and if you expect the main protagonist to gallivant around different worlds and have adventures there, forget this book this instant. This is not happening. Oh, we know the worlds are there, the oozing transcendence of their realities somewhat influences the story, but it is not a “butterfly effect” influence. It is the very same influence that Cameroonian social housing policy has on me. That is: negligent and anecdotal. Fantasy is a bi-product of the tale, not its pivot; an unwilling companion travelling in the same (quite crowded compartment).

The second means that with each chapter the focal point of the story alternates, and while it does not take long to see how both tales are connected, this impedes the dynamics of the book and its pacing. Most importantly, because both histories are essentially retold by a narrator, somewhere in the future, it is more difficult to engage because huge parts are just overtalked. This is inevitable because January tells things as opposed to taking part in them, everything is retrospective and I have had a feeling of looking into a quirky aquarium not being a part of a grand adventure.

The Setting

And then there is the context in which both stories are immersed. Have I written “the context”? Silly me, I meant politics. This book is inherently political, to this extent that at a roughly 30% in, I needed to check whether I am not reading the minutes from a Democrat rally. The thing is: if I wanted all this social justice posturing, virtue signalling and other political gibberish on colonialism, oppression, and marginalisation, I would read political novels. You will notice, sometimes I do that. But the reason I read fantasy is because it allows me to escape the mundane realities of our world. This book shuts this escape door straight in my face. Ouch!

But then it gets worse, because when the whole identity politics agenda exposition is done, the narrative moves swiftly to preaching. Now, if I wanted to hear sermons (and pay for them dearly), I’d frequent some mega church or other. And this is something I definitely do not do and do not appreciate.

In short, there is no world-building in the novel; it is more a world-interpretation. And I had a distinct feeling that the book has been written by somebody who does not like our world too much. Which is a shame. To the contrary, the vision of an ideal world (Arcadia: any real or imaginary place offering peace and simplicity) comes down to civilisational squat in a habitat that has been conveniently abandoned (so that we can avoid those nasty colonial dilemmas).

The Protagonist

“January Scaller, 57 inches, bronze; purpose unknown.”

The main protagonist describes herself as an in-between girl. This is also a lie. She is firmly and totally an out-there girl with no room whatsoever for negotiation, compromise or even adjustment. Consequently, what you should understand as the “in-between” is the fact that January Scaller is irrevocably, dramatically, and entirely… unique. There is no other like her. She does not fit in preconceptions, conveniences, societal structures, systems, or norms. Now, I don’t know what you call it, but a special MC in a fantasy book is normally classified as a snowflake with everything that comes with this concept.

What we have is a classic YA drama: a heroine who is trapped in a fancy house and lives a different life than what she would prefer (she is practically fostered by her father’s wealthy employer while her father travelling for business purposes). Essentially, January is a young woman on a quest to reach her potential and discover Freedom. Love. Something.

Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that he wants to belong. But don’t have an image of a puppy taken from a shelter in mind. Those puppies are grateful for what they get and ready to love anyone, while January Scaller has very precise ideas who might be worthy of being her friend, her confidante and her companion. Who is good enough to be accepted and tolerated. Let me tell you, there are not many of those.

And what disqualified her from the list of favourite acceptable heroines, is the fact that she is, quite frankly, not that smart. In fact, she is unaccountably stupid for an obviously educated girl (and the narrative is both poetically abstract and acerbically snarky, intermittently that is, which requires intelligence). She messes all she can and then some more. How can an intelligent person do all the stupid things that January does is beyond me and I really could not shrug it with: “ah, well! adolescence!” excuse. Yet, she has regular fits typical for a spoiled brat which is the mundane equivalent of a “willful and temerarious” (January calls herself temerarious several times so I gather she must be quite proud of it).

The Rest

What is interesting, is that there are more wilful and temerarious girls in this book. One is adopted and loves it (because who would not love to be a polyandrous community where women go and hunt and men wait for them with fat babies on their hips and mugs full of beer in their hands (snort). The other hates it because who would not hate to be adopted into an oppressively clean house with pristine lawns, private tutors and governesses (here I’d like to apologise to all the German governesses out there) and loads of travel. Let that sink in.

You will also find love stories, but both romances are kind of insta ones and both feature strong women versus rather miserable men so if you like the tender boy type you will be thrilled. I prefer my men just as I like my books: in leather jackets, quite rough around the edges and with an aura of experience (Mr de Vries also makes the best coffee in the world and recites poetry, so it is really hard to impress me). The moping, delicate types that need to be rescued are definitely putting me off.

January’s father is a particularly miserable specimen and for the love of books, I could not understand or empathise her pining after such hapless and a spineless creature. For some time I kept thinking rather unfavourably about January’s parents due to their egoism of cosmic proportions and feeling for their poor daughter, but then I realised that the daughter is equally self-centered and absorbed in her own needs that she does not really deserve my empathy.

I’d be less frustrated if there was somebody else to latch on to. Unfortunately, all the characters are very unidimensional to be honest, including the main antagonist. Everyone has only one role, and character development, meager at best, does not extend beyond this aspect. To introduce tensions is entirely beyond the author. She kind of attempts to lead a reader on a merry dance, but every other sentence she keeps contradicting herself making this attempt both futile and unnecessary. Why would we believe something the author clearly doubts?

This renders the novel so painfully schematic with the rich white men being the villains and the ultimate villain tells it all scene . The superb concept of the power of the word has not been properly explored (worse, the distinct smell of Mary Sue should waft in your direction) and rests mainly on the idea that January can do things no-one else is able to when necessary, without explanations how or why or what are the rules that bound her power. The door as an agent of change and the belief that stagnation is the absolutely worst what can fall upon humanity leads to a not very surprising conclusion.

It might be that if you like the message, you will like the book, and you will excuse the additional deficiencies of world-, character-, and plot-building. I did not so let me close these doors behind me and pretend they have never been opened.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
November 14, 2019
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST FANTASY *AND* BEST DEBUT NOVEL 2019! what will happen?

i mean, it’s a perfect book.

that should be the alpha and the omega of this book review, because you’ve probably already read the synopsis, and if it takes more than that to convince you of this book’s desirability, i’m sure i don’t have the words to do it.

if you like seanan mcguire’s wayward children series, you will probably enjoy this. obviously, they both involve doorways to other worlds, young(ish) protagonists, and adventure, but their more significant shared characteristics are tonal—haunting and yearning and saddish; themes of displacement and otherness and an aching inability to fit into the world, how it feels to be “an in-between sort of thing.”

it also made me think of The Book of Speculation and Saga, with how it handles its themes of fate, family and separation, and in its use of books and letters to carry the narrative. all of these books have given me a very specific and rare kind of sadness-shiver, and i’m always gladdened to encounter another source.

it is a formidable debut—the concept, the characters, the language; she’s got it all on lock; there’s a richness to her prose that sparkles up off the page and there’s a VERY GOOD DOG named bad. even the romantic subplot, which ordinarily activates my eyeroll-muscles, was perfect and understated and my eyeballs remained unrolled.

there are enough unfinished edges and unexplored territory that this could easily expand into a second book or series, but i kind of don’t want it to. i definitely want her to write more words for me to read, but the bittersweet ambiguity of the ending is perfect and i want to just close the book and leave them to work the rest out unobserved.

i mean, it’s a perfect book.


it's some top-notch book schwag when even the mailing envelope is fancy

this is the debut novel by the woman who wrote Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage, which i LOVED, and is one of those free tor shorts you can read here while you wait for this book to come out.

oh, and now MORE! a bookmark handmade by alix e. harrow herself! am i charmed? i AM!

my TBR stack might just kill me, but i will die happy. and squashed. happy and squashed.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
July 11, 2020
All the stars! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature (along with my co-reviewer Marion's excellent review):

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is perched at the top of the mountain of portal fantasies that I’ve read in my life. It’s set apart by Alix E. Harrow’s intelligent and truly gorgeous writing, unique characters ― including true friends and a fiercely loyal dog ― and a complex and twisty plot, combined with thoughtful consideration of racial and class prejudice, powerful men who make rules to benefit themselves, and other social issues.

January Scaller is a young girl in early 20th century America, living in the mansion of Mr. Locke, a wealthy collector of rare and unique items. January’s mother is missing and presumed dead, while January’s father Julian spends months on end traveling the globe in search of Mr. Locke’s rare items. And perhaps, searching for something more. Because January and her father are both aware that there are Doors ― portals to different worlds ― and Julian, a black man, has a particular reason for searching out these Doors.

Meanwhile, January is being raised by the mysterious Mr. Locke, a man she both loves and fears, though she tries to convince herself that the fear is unreasonable. With her cedarwood-colored skin, January has never entirely fit into the world of wealth and privilege that she inhabits with Mr. Locke. But she has a strong-willed companion, Jane Irimu, sent to her by her father, and a protective dog, Bad (short for Sinbad, and it’s clear that both versions of his name are appropriate … though he’s bad only to the hidebound or evil characters), given to her by her equally loyal friend Samuel.

Just before her seventeenth birthday, January finds a strange book titled The Ten Thousand Doors that purports to be a monograph on passages and portals between worlds. Primarily, though, it’s about the life and adventures of a young woman named Adelaid Lee Larson (Ade), who finds some Doors of her own.
Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.

This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held. Cinnamon and coal smoke, catacombs and loam. Damp seaside evenings and sweat-slick noontimes beneath palm fronds. It smelled as if it had been in the mail for longer than any one parcel could be, circling the world for years and accumulating layers of smells like a tramp wearing too many clothes.

It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page.
And then one day January makes the mistake of mentioning Doors to Mr. Locke …

I loved Harrow’s meditations on the nature of doors that she weaves into the text: they’re portals, of course, passageways to adventure or love, but also a symbol of healthy change and openness. And occasionally doors are books or even words (“Sometimes I feel that there are doors lurking in the creases of every sentence, with periods for knobs and verbs for hinges.”).

Characters’ names have power in this book: Mr. Locke is, unsurprisingly, antithetical to open magical doors and passageways; the irimu is a creature of African legend, sometimes called a were-leopard. The unprepossessing name Scaller might be (I conjecture here) derived from “scall,” a scabby disorder of the scalp, or the sculling of a rowboat … or, perhaps, something more that’s initially hidden from both the reader’s and January’s understanding.

Through January and other characters, Harrow warns of the dangers of being too good, too quiet, and too accepting of the status quo.
The will to be polite, to maintain civility and normalcy, is fearfully strong. I wonder sometimes how much evil is permitted to run unchecked simply because it would be rude to interrupt it.
The entire book is an encouragement to take action. If I have any complaint at all, it’s that sometimes the narrator is overtly preachy where I would have preferred a more subtle approach (footnote 6, I’m looking at you). But the overall message, to have the courage to do what needs to be done, and to “run through every open Door and tell stories when you return,” is an overwhelmingly positive one.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a magical entry to a wondrous universe. Don’t miss the chance to walk through this doorway!

Bonus: On the Fantasy Literature website, at the link, there's a truly fascinating and insightful interview with this author, Alix Harrow.

Initial post: Cheers! I finally got the NetGalley ARC for this book! I was beating the bushes on this one because I really wanted it (I emailed the author and the publisher last week as well as putting in a NetGalley request, which they had ignored for a couple of months. One of those methods finally worked). :)
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,707 reviews25k followers
July 26, 2019
If there is a part of you that has always felt there is magic in the world ever since childhood, despite voices to the contrary, and have a penchant for the whimsical, then Alix Harrow has written the perfect novel for you. It is a story of doors, portals if you will, existing in places of particular resonance, stepping through the void, into fables, folklore, adventure, love and sanctuary, and the infinite power of words and stories. In 1901, at the age of 7, the red skinned, wilful and cantankerous January Scaller lives with her guardian, the enormously wealthy, white and powerful William Locke on a sprawling estate, in a house crammed full of stolen treasures in his collections, mostly acquired by her black father on his global adventures, occasionally returning, whilst she stays behind in Vermont. January is in Kentucky when she encounters her first door, but Locke does not believe her and she is punished. In her efforts to please him she grows up trying to be a good girl, curbing her natural instincts and desires, to conform to his stringent expectations.

January is a strange oddity, only tolerated by the outside world riven with racism because she accompanies the man of substance that is Locke, the Chairman of the Archaeological Society, on his business trips. He informs her ' Power, my dear, has a language, a currency....and a color', as she grows up lonely, with only one, below the radar, non-fictional friend, Samuel Zappia, who gives her a beloved dog, (Sin)Bad. Until Jane arrives, a brave and courageous Amazon woman, sent to protect January by her father. A griefstricken and drunk January responds with unpalatable truths to Locke and his much vaunted Archaeological Society, an act which is to shatter the world as she knows it. In the gripping narrative, the lives of Adelaide Larson and Yule Ian (Julian) are outlined culminating in a meeting that triggers adventures, journeys through doors and dedicated scholarly research that results in a remarkable book, The Ten Thousand Doors, which falls in the hands of January, with its shocking revelations. As January is ferociously hunted and facing grave dangers, will she be able to find the inner resources to fight the deadly threats?

Harrow writes a bewitching story, about powerful underhand forces that are determined to eliminate all threats to the existing political establishment, about family, loss, grief, and a coming of age tale. The characterisation is stellar, a January facing life altering challenges, and her poignant battles to fight the ingrained responses instilled in her from childhood, and I adored Jane, Samuel and the loyal Bad. This is an enchanting read, lyrical, full of charm, that manages to connect with our inner desires and belief that there is magic and hope out there, although perhaps it is unlikely to appeal to those who have a more sceptical nature. An unmissable read for those who adore this type of fantasy, brilliant, colourful, vibrant, with echoes of the darkest of fairytales, and infused with the grim realities of our contemporary world when it comes to issues of race. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
Profile Image for Petrik.
687 reviews45.9k followers
July 6, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

4.5/5 stars

Gorgeous and magical; it’s not a stretch to call The Ten Thousand Doors of January a magnificent physical manifestation of a grimoire.

Orbit did it again. The Ten Thousand Doors of January has shot to the top of my TBR since the moment I saw the cover and heard about the premise; I was charmed and can safely say that I don’t think I’ve read many books as beautifully written as this novel. I’ve been saying this over and over again for a while now; when it comes to modern SFF debuts, just read everything that Orbit publishes. SFF books published by Orbit these days has a strong chance to satisfy your reading preferences and this novel amplified that notion. I would also like to give a shout out to Emily Byron, who made sure this book reached me for my review, and Maddie Hall, the one in charge of the design behind the ARC packaging of this book; easily the most beautiful ARC package I’ve ever received.

Picture: My ARC of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January revolves around January Scaller. January was seven years old when she first found a Door. Years later, January starts forgetting about her brief encounter with that Door, until one day she stumbles upon a book. Reading the book changes everything as she begins to discover the truths and revelations surrounding her worlds, and the Door she found when she was a kid. This is not an action-packed book; if you read this book expecting warfare and intricate battle scenes, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead of filling the pages with action and brutality, Harrow opted for dazzling readers with everlasting stories of wonder brimming with a nostalgic and elegant atmosphere. This is a novel about a book, about stories, and about escapism.

“How fitting, that the most terrifying time in my life should require me to do what I do best: escape into a book.”

I truly believe that escapism, for me, is not only a want but a necessity. Whether this is in the form of video games, movies, or reading; they’re all a form of art that makes our harsh realities saner and more livable. The Ten Thousand Doors of January felt like a letter written by a voracious reader to another reader. From the very first page, I was immediately struck with the notion that this book will resonate a lot with me and each page gradually continued to strongly enhance that early impression. I just can’t help but say that this is a book that must be read by most readers as long that you’re okay with not having battle scenes in your stories.

“He consumed books as if they were as necessary to his health as bread and water, but they were rarely the books he had been assigned.”

Harrow implemented the importance of stories into the plot wonderfully. Family, love, and adventures were also some of the main themes contained in the novel. A book has the power to change a reader’s perception; to be more open-minded and knowledgeable; to experience adventure and transport us to a different world; reading or writing is magic and many of us are capable of it.

“Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries. This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held… It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page.”

As someone who’s born in January, I found the main character and the meaning behind her name to be a huge plus of the book. This doesn’t mean that you HAVE to be born in January to appreciate it. Names have a power, a meaning, and life of its own; these were discussed within the book and I enjoyed reading them all. Most importantly, January is a heroine that resonated with me. There weren’t a lot of characters, but I found the characterizations splendidly written. Each character has a distinctive personality and attitude that felt genuine and flawed.

“It’s a profoundly strange feeling, to stumble across someone whose desires are shaped so closely to your own, like reaching toward your reflection in a mirror and finding warm flesh under your fingertips. If you should ever be lucky enough to find that magical, fearful symmetry, I hope you’re brave enough to grab it with both hands and not let go.”

If you’ve seen reviews of this book before, you’ll probably notice that the majority of them—whether they loved the book or not overall—agreed that the prose is beautiful; I definitely agree with this statement with all my heart. Seriously, Harrow has a highly-polished prose that totally didn’t feel like a debut effort. The prose was lush, lyrical, enchanting, gorgeous, and immersive. This novel marks the dawn of a new fantasy author with immaculate prose that’s very rare to find in the genre. The contemplative and philosophical nature of the writing made me wish I can tell you all the resplendent phrases I’ve stumbled upon. Words easily translated into imagery; every locale and scene were visualized in my head. I’m in disbelief that this is a debut, the author has such an immense subjugation over the structure of words. I can’t wait for you to find out how spectacularly written this book was.

“Words and their meanings have weight the world of matter, shaping and reshaping realities through a most ancient alchemy. Even my own writings—so damnably powerless—may have just enough power to reach the right person and tell the right truth, and change the nature of things.”

Alluring passages comprising meticulously chosen words were conjured and evident in every page; Harrow exhibited storytelling skill that gives justice to the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is one of the most beautifully-written debuts I’ve ever read; a big contender for the new tale as old as time, and a must-read fantasy book for every reader who loves books and enjoys reading a superb elaboration of stories and escapism. Every story opens a door, and every door opens a story. Once you opened the door behind the cover of this book, you’ll be happily compelled to search every nook and cranny of the story before you’re able to close the door again. An eternal charm lies in January’s adventure, and believe me when I say that you need to get the key to open the magic door called The Ten Thousand Doors of January as soon as possible.

“Let that be a lesson to you: if you are too good and too quiet for too long, it will cost you. It will always cost, in the end.”

Official release date: September 12th, 2019 (UK) and September 10th, 2019 (US)

You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51.7k followers
December 8, 2022
World-class writing in service to an excellent story leaves me with no complaints. Harrow has written a portal fantasy where the focus is on the portals more than where they lead to. She twists a family tale through various of these doors, a couple of romance threads, a modicum of danger and threat, and a smattering of Americana. It's all good.

My love of great prose means that my main delight was in the power of the language used, the deft capture of feelings or people or places in just a handful of words. It's very quotable stuff - I was just about to say I haven't any quotes to share though, because I read a paper copy and didn't take notes. However, bear with me and I'll just check to see if any of my favourites have been listed by other people.

Nope - lots of good ones listed but not the ones that stuck with me most. I googled them in the end from memory:

-- “Well,” she sighed finally, “we’ll be here when you come back.” Ade barely heard her at the time, already flitting out the kitchen door like a loosed bird, but later she would return to those words and rub them for comfort until they were worn smooth as creek stones.

-- The will to be polite, to maintain civility and normalcy, is fearfully strong. I wonder sometimes how much evil is permitted to run unchecked simply because it would be rude to interrupt it.

All in all a great read, though rarely exciting. At the end strong emotions are stirred and it's all rather fine.

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Profile Image for darmera.
30 reviews224 followers
October 31, 2019
Well written, but a tiiiiiinnny bit draggy for my taste. Bonus points for the way challenging themes were handled though - definitely a ya book with a message and a punch. However, not a good choice if you are in a reading slump, but if you were pondering over it - do pick it up, it is an eye opening book, and if you can dedicate the adequate attention and time to it's details - it is worth the read.
Profile Image for Jaimie.
384 reviews316 followers
October 18, 2019
I really wanted to love this and am sad to give it only two and a half stars. But The Ten Thousand Doors of January is marketed as portal fantasy and I was enthralled with the idea of a young girl in a huge, creepy manor house who discovers doors to strange worlds and then USES THEM.

Sadly, that's not this story. More than fantasy, this story is a bildungsroman, an exploration of family secrets, and a dive into racial politics of the early 20th century. And it uses a "story-within-a-story" device to make all of this happen. What I don't think the author intended was for me to enjoy and care more about the internal story.

Our main character, January, finds a handwritten book chronicling the adventures of farm girl Adelaide who discovers a door to another world. From this world walks a boy, Yule Ian. He and Adelaide have a single, remarkable conversation that spins them both off on a life-long adventure. This adventure includes everything I wanted from The Ten Thousand Doors of January. There is exploration of other worlds, there is sweeping romance, there is a magical land where the written word has the ability to literally shape the world around it. I was enthralled. But this is not the primary story the novel is telling.

Instead, we spend the majority of our time following January as she learns about the portals and the worlds within them as a biproduct of uncovering family secrets, but then spends very little actual time inside them. We are mostly told, not shown, the fantasy elements of the story.

On top of this, the overall pacing is...not great. It took so long to develop and to hook me that, exactly halfway in, I sat January down, read six other books, and then thought "oh yeah, guess I should finish that" two weeks later.

Perhaps I over-hyped January and, if so, that's my own fault. But regardless, I was let down immensely and left disappointed.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
October 10, 2019
‘words and their meanings have weight in the world of matter, shaping and reshaping realities through a most ancient alchemy.’

and the words in this story shape a most delightful world - filled with imagination, wonder, adventure, and love.

any story that focuses on the importance of words and stories is one that i will always find comforting. i appreciate how january is a character who also finds comfort in books and the power of words and also sees stories as a means of escape. it makes to her relatable to every reader, myself included.

the writing is also a great asset to this story. its very exquisite. it feels traditional, but approachable. vivid, yet grounded. its really quite a pleasure to read such beautiful words.

my only critique would be the story is very slow and lost my interest at times. theres only so much a relatable character and lovely writing can do. maybe i was in the mood for something more engaging and not something so narrative heavy. but it feels quite unfair to give this anything less than 4 stars.

i think that readers who are willing to be patient enough to see this story through will find it just as comforting and magical as i did, if not more!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Tina.
540 reviews918 followers
August 2, 2021
What an enchanting and endearing story!

First off I must say I have had this ARC on my TBR list for a long time. It is not my usual genre but I wanted to try something different. To my surprise I also found this audio on Libby from my local library. So, why not try something else that is new to me? Listening and reading along on my kindle. I admit I did not do that for very long but it was fun in bits. I mostly alternated between the written book and the audiobook. The writing is just beautiful and magical. The audio was mesmerizing and the narrator was perfect for the story!

Reading and listening to this story made me feel like a child again! I was hooked from the beginning. This novel takes you on a magical journey through different worlds. The main character, January, lives in a big house on Mr. Locke's estate in the early 20th century. Her father works for him but is often away traveling the world in search of rare items that Mr. Locke may require. One day January, finds a book entitled, "The Ten Thousand Doors" and begins to read it. At one point the story changes and the story told is the one she is reading. I admit I was a little confused at that point but quickly realized what was happening. For the most part I really enjoyed the storytelling although the book switches from 1st person to 3rd person depending on what characters story is being told.

Even though Fantasy is not a genre I usually read or enjoy, I would say this book was the exception for me. It is worthy of all its praise. Very beautifully written and such an original concept! I loved the ending. It was simply perfect.

I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and Redhook Books for granting me access to this Advance Reader Copy. I'm sorry it took me this long to read!
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
July 11, 2019
In the summer of 1901, at the age of seven, January Scaller found a Door. You know the kind of door–they lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, to Atlantis, to all the places never found on a map.

These portal fantasy premises get me EVERY TIME. This sounds a bit like McGuire's Wayward Children series, which I love. Also exciting that this comes highly recommend by Josiah Bancroft 😍 Can't wait!

ARC provided in exchange for honest review 🔑
Profile Image for Giulia.
704 reviews105 followers
January 18, 2020
"You see, doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change."

TW: racism, abuse, animal cruelty, self-harm, torture

Unpopular Opinion Time 🐸☕️

Fam. I finished it, but at what cost.
Fam. Hear me out: this was not good. There truly is no other way to say it.

I am so disappointed.
The synopsis and the portal fantasy aspect screamed my name.
But it turned out it was a scream of pain.

So many aspects of this book were bad, I’m honestly bamboozled.
If it weren’t for the audiobook, I would have DNF’ed this book, for sure.

Literally the first half of the book is straight up useless.
The first half of the book is info dump to its finest – world building, characterization and explanation of the past. Nothing happened in the first half of the book. I kid you not.
And man, it was boring AF.
The plot was so completely boring, it truly was a shock.
And the plot-twists that happened were no plot-twists to begin with. Things were so painfully obvious and clear there was no shock factor, absolutely nothing. I couldn’t wait for this book to end, tbh.

It also didn’t help that I found the writing style to be too wordy, lengthy and convoluted. There were so many side tangents that if you were to put them all together, you’d be able to create a four-book series.
The writing was so saturated with impossible metaphors and strange similes I personally did not find it enchanting – I found it borderline pretentious.
Now, maybe that's a bit too harsh. There definitely is potential as there were some lovely sentences and moments, but overall this writing style took itself too seriously.
And for what reason, I did not know since every aspect of this book was a disappointment.

A particularity that surely did not help in the slightest my overall enjoyment of The Thousand Doors of January was the fact that this was a book within a book.
And I found the story present within the story to be absolutely and completely boring.
It dragged so freaking much I felt the pain.

The relationships were painful to read, too.
Let’s not even address the insta-love that was present not only in the main story, but also in the OTHER story present in the book. BOTH fucking stories had romances coming out of literally nowhere with no chemistry between the characters.
What a goddamn joke.

Another thing that left me uncomfortable was the way in which the main character was described.
It is always a bit tricky when a white author writes about a character that is not white. And I have to say that sometimes I was not completely at ease with the way she decided to describe January :/
The colonialism was strong in this one. And I was not particularly a fan.

Another plot device I utterly and totally disliked was the asylum plot-line.
Apart from the fact that I do not enjoy it in general, I also thought it was useless and that it just was there to underline the abuse January had to live through and create drama.
No repercussions whatsoever, no growth, no nothing. It was simply useless.

And now that I’ve mentioned growth.
Characters’ growth, anybody?
Characterization in general, anybody?
Why was January the only one who had a personality?
Do the other characters deserve a personality or is it something we do not believe in?
Apparently, that was the case for this book.
It felt as if every single character – but January – did not have a personality; they were there simply to push the story forward. They were plot devices to allow January to go forward in her story and adventure.
That’s not how characters should be, tbh.
Also the big mustache-twirling speech at the end performed by the Villain so to explain everything was something I was not expecting in a 2019 release.
Wow, can we not? That was ridiculous.

I was also expecting this to be a bit more about the various worlds as, you know, it was pitched as a portal fantasy novel. But the other worlds were barely mentioned and described, which I thought was a pity.
This was more of a love letter to words and writing. Which can be good and interesting, but not what I signed up for.

The ending was just cheesy and corny.
And if you know me at all, you know that this is not the type of ending I enjoy.
It was too overly-romantic and it was also wrapped up in a pretty ribbon.
And I’m not about that life.

But now. Sit down.
It’s time for this Rather Random Review™️ to get ridiculously specific – because that’s what I do.
So, hi. I am your friendly neighbour Italian speaker. I’m here to point out a kinda important yet overly specific (thus most probably useless) thing so be patient with me, okay?
So, Samuel speaks Italian, right? That means that throughout the book there were some Italian words thrown in there to emphasise precisely that.
At one point, Samuel talks about witches, and he uses the Italian word strega.
But, as you might have noticed, witches is, indeed, a plural noun.
So, what does the author do?
Instead of being a normal human being and using the proper plural form of strega (which is streghe, btw), she decided that it was cool and completely normal to treat the Italian noun as if it was an English word. Basically, streghe magically and infuriatingly becomes stregaS.
With all the due respect, what the fuck? In what world does that make sense? Behind which one of these ten thousand doors is stregaS okay?
Also because Samuel speaks Italian? So why would he use an Italian word in the wrong way? It did not make sense, but it did make me mad.
If you wanna use a foreign language, could you at the very least have the goddamn decency to use the vocabulary in the right way?
Apparently I'm asking too much.
It was a too wild of a concept.

So no.
I definitely would not recommend The Ten Thousand Doors of January.
It was a big and absolute miss in every single possible way for me.

Characters: two-dimensional, cardboard cutouts characters lacking of a personality – apart from the protagonist. The relationships were flat and the romances were insta-lovey.
Plot: slow and predictable. Also, did not like the book-within-a-book plot as I found the “inside story” to be incredibly boring.
World building: inexistent. The other worlds were briefly mentioned and not really the beating heart of a story that was pitched as a portal fantasy. Disappointing.
Writing style: for as much as I found some sentences lovely and well written (there’s potential, that’s for sure), I thought it was too wordy and with too many tangents. And the use of Italian was not even right. A thing I appreciated was how sometimes the fourth wall was shattered – sometimes the main character talked to the reader directly, and I am generally a fan of that. But apart from that, I cannot say I was impressed.

What a disappointment, truly.
I was highly anticipating this book, and I am super sad to say that it did not deliver.
The audiobook was good, though. So that's a plus, I guess.

Many people love this book, and I am happy about it.
I am the unpopular opinion here, so there is a fat chance you will end up loving The Ten Thousand Doors of January as well.
Unfortunately, this was aggressively and entirely not my thing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

"Sometimes I feel there are doors lurking in the creases of every sentence, with periods for knobs and verbs for hinges."
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,321 reviews2,143 followers
March 29, 2021
I had avoided reading this book for months because of the hype and the fear of being disappointed, but then the library had it in stock, and it has such a pretty cover, and I could not help myself, so I brought it home.

And I loved it! I always enjoy a good portal story and this one had so many portals going to so many different places that I gave up trying to work out where they went and why. I just let myself be swept away by the story and the extremely well written prose.

I thought the characters were well done, especially the trio of January, Samuel and Bad. My main fear in this story came from constantly worrying about Bad. Of course there was more suspense than that and the last section of the book really ramps up the action.

By the end there are moments to cry over and moments that had me sitting on the edge of my seat. There is also an entirely satisfactory ending. Very well done indeed and I will be looking out for this author's future work.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.7k followers
December 10, 2019
Bewitching, creative, & magical!

THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by ALIX E. HARROW is an imaginative, enchanting, intriguing, and unique story that wasn’t the easiest book for me to read. I was a little bit bored in the beginning and almost called it quits quite a few times. I am so glad that I persevered because at approx. 58% in is when things started to get a lot more exciting and come together for me.

The writing is quite beautiful but extremely wordy and dense that definitely bogged down the story for me. I found that I needed total peace and quiet while I was following January on her journey to find those secret doors to other worlds. The writing style definitely distracted me from the actual storyline which was a shame because I absolutely loved this storyline.

The details and workings of the doors was a little confusing for me as well. I felt it was left to our own imagination and devices......or I totally missed it! I had to channel the show "Supernatural" to help me visualize it on my own. Who knows if I got it or not.....but I'm satisfied. LOL

I was going with three (3) stars for the most part but the ending definitely bumped it up to four (4) stars for me. It was an absolutely beautiful end to the story (that is definitely worthy of that beautiful cover) that gave me that warm fuzzy satisfied feeling that I seek and love.

Thank you so much to Hachette Book Group for providing me with a physical copy!

This review can also be seen at Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:
Profile Image for Nataliya.
781 reviews12.4k followers
September 3, 2020
“You see, doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change. When things slip through them, no matter how small or brief, change trails them like porpoises following a ship’s wake.”
This is a story about the desire for unknown, the longing for change. It is a story of the dangers of complacency, blind obedience, unquestioning submission to those who proclaim they are the strong ones. This is a story of the need to take action, to rise above what has been determined for you and do what you have to do regardless of the obstacles in your path. It is a story of growing up while holding on to curiosity and adventure which do not need to give way to propriety and stuffiness. It’s a story of family and abandonment. It is a story of how it feels to be the “other”, “an in-between sort of thing.”

This is also a story about the power of words.
“If one follows the stories, one will nearly always find a doorway buried at their roots.”

“Worlds were never meant to be prisons, locked and suffocating and safe. Worlds were supposed to be great rambling houses with all the windows thrown open and the wind and summer rain rushing through them, with magic passages in their closets and secret treasure chests in their attics. […]
I was so very tired of locked doors.”
There are doors in the world — or Doors, really — that appear in the places where boundaries between worlds are thin and that can take you through to places that are different and strange. They allow for things unusual and new to flow between worlds, changing status quo, bringing fresh beginning with them.

But those Doors are closing now. Or rather, someone has been closing them.

In 1901, January Scaller is seven. An “oddly colored” reddish-skinned girl, she is a ward of Cornelius Locke, a rich man, a no-nonsense member of an archaeological society and her father’s employer. January has no mother, and her father is always away on Ms. Locke’s archaeological expeditions, returning from time to time with a wealth of strange things that go straight in Mr. Locke’s vast collections. January is lonely, and resentful of her mostly absent father, and works really hard to earn approval and love from the replacement father figure, her guardian Mr. Locke who buys her things and takes her on long travels — and in return expects her to grow into a respectable young lady with certainly no penchants for imaginary things and wanderlust.

But then, at age seven, January walks through a blue Door standing in an empty field and sees a different world - one full of smell of ocean and blue water, one that calls to her. And eventually she notes that writing some things down when she really believes them makes them happen. But that is certainly nonsense, and no proper young ladies should be given to such flights of fancy.
“There was no room, it turned out, for little girls who wandered off the edge of the map and told the truth about the mad, impossible things they found there.”
Then, at the age of seventeen, January runs afoul of those in power who view her either as a nuisance or an irritation to be swatted away. Those who look at her and see a weak colored girl of no consequence — unless she has something that they want. And January, sheltered and naive, raised to be quiet and pliable and proper, has a rude and abrupt awakening.
“The truth is that the powerful come for the weak, whenever and wherever they like. Always have, always will.”

This book made me quite angry at times — angry at blatant power imbalances, at the injustice, at imperialism and prejudice - and at January herself — at her questionable choices and desperate desire to cling to normalcy, as abnormal as that normalcy can be. And anger is often what fuels change. And change, while not always good or bad, is what fuels and sustains life, even if it is inconvenient to the ones happy with status quo.
“The will to be polite, to maintain civility and normalcy, is fearfully strong. I wonder sometimes how much evil is permitted to run unchecked simply because it would be rude to interrupt it.”

It is a well-written book, full of wondrous and magical things and told in a crisp well-crafted prose, with excellent plot and well-crafted characters, and enough worldbuilding to sustain sequels (although in this world of never-ending series I’m very happy with stand-alone novels). Its magical yet grounded, charming yet tough. It allows for a bit of moral ambiguity in the characters, with no one coming out of this smelling like roses. For a debut especially, it’s very strong; it reads as though written by a seasoned author, which bodes quite well for Harrow’s future works. Those Hugo and Nebula nominations are well-earned.
“I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return.”
4.5 stars keys to all the locked Doors.

My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2020: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for zuza_zaksiazkowane.
378 reviews33.9k followers
June 8, 2020
Pozwólcie mi to wytłumaczyć. ☀️
Książkę męczyłam dość długo i cieszę się, że w końcu udało mi się ją skończyć.
Zacznę od tego, co mi się w tej książce podobało. Na pewno język - tutaj też ukłon w stronę tłumacza, bo został wykonany kawał dobrej roboty, jeśli chodzi o zachowanie tej baśniowości, co na bank nie było łatwym zadaniem. Rzeczywiście książka jest pisana pięknym stylem, bardzo magicznym i klimatycznym. Poza tym generalnie koncept fabularny mi się podobał - chociaż umówmy się, odkrywczy to on za grosz nie był. Przecież pomysł na drzwi w naszym świecie prowadzące do innych światów to nie jest nic oryginalnego, coś, o czym nigdy wcześniej nie słyszeliśmy. No ale koncept i tak mi się podobał, tak samo jak umiejscowienie w czasie i miejscu całej historii. Zły charakter też był nieźle wykreowany.
Dobra to teraz co mi się nie podobało.
Może tu jest mój błąd, bo dałam się wciągnąć w ten wagon zachwytów i oczekiwałam czegoś, co będzie wybitne. A tutaj zawód. Historia jest prościutka i co najgorsze - bardzo przewidywalna. Wiemy jak to się skończy już po stu stronach. Głowna bohaterka irytująca do szpiku kości (ale o tym napiszę niżej, w spojlerach). W dodatku, rzecz się dzieje na początku XX wieku, a oprócz pierwszych 50 stron mam wrażenie, że autorka o tym zapomniała. Zupełnie tego nie czuć w mojej opinii 🤷‍♀️
Po pierwsze - Historia Juliana i Ade to jakiś żart. Dziołcha raz widzi chłopca na łące, muska jego usta swoimi ustami i bęk. 12 lat kolejnych spędza na jego poszukiwaniach. Ja rozumiem zauroczenie i tak dalej, no ale 12 lat? Po jednym spotkaniu? A potem spotykają się w końcu, bo przecież oczywiście, i ona pada mu w ramiona (co więcej, on też te 12 lat na nią czekał! ) i pyta go "jak ci na imię?". Przepraszam, ale ja tego nie kupuję ani trochę. I tego samego wieczoru idą do łóżka i ona mówi o największej miłości. Błagam, pani pisarko, twórzmy wątki romantyczne, które mają jakiekolwiek podparcie.
Po drugie - cały wątek z monetą - nożem? WTF
Ja rozumiem, że ta moneta była z innego świata, może była nieco większa niż nasze i może była z jakiegoś innego dziwacznego materiału. Ale! Żeby w ciągu jednej nocy tak ją uciskać, żeby stworzyć z niej nóż, a potem za jej pomocą pokonać w pociągu 40 letniego faceta z bronią? .....
Po trzecie - Akcja ucieczki z psychiatryka. Okej, zrobiła sobie ten magiczny nóż z monety. Przełknęłam to. Napisała sobie na ramieniu jakieś zdania i nie dostała żadnej infekcji mimo, że tą monetą wcześniej drapała ścianę - okej. Stworzyła sobie magiczne drzwi i wylądowała dokładnie w domku Samuela gdzie była przypadkiem Jane z jej magicznie odratowanym psem - w porządku, niech będzie. ALE ŻEBY POTEM, WIEDZĄC, ŻE HAVEMEYER JĄ ŚLEDZI I CHCE DOPAŚĆ, NIE RUSZYĆ SIĘ Z TEGO DOMKU NAWET NA KROK?? Przecież to byłoby pierwsze miejsce, w którym jej będzie szukać. No i oczywiście ją znajduje i jak zostaje pokonany - Bad, jej pies, który ledwo został uratowany z jeziora, ma łapę nie do chodzenia i jest wychudzony biedny i tak dalej - skacze na niego tak, że koleś nie może się od niego uwolnić. Troszkę na skróty pani poszła, pani pisarko.
Mogłabym tak pisać jeszcze sporo, ale nie wiem czy ma to sens. Ja się tylko frustruję, a i tak nikt tego całego czytać nie będzie 😂 Ale musiałam!
Rozumiem zachwyty innych. Doceniam tę książkę pod kilkoma względami. Natomiast jeśli kiedykolwiek moja niepopularna opinia zgadzała się z waszą - lepiej uważajcie i obniżcie swoje oczekiwania względem tej książki. Nie odradzam wam jej, bo może być dobrą rozrywką, ale nie szukajcie w niej nic odkrywczego i niesamowitego!
Chyba nie musze mówić, że nie hejtuję tutaj nikogo, kto tę książkę uwielbia - przecież jesteśmy tutaj dorośli i wiemy, że każdy ma prawo do własnego zdania! PEACE ❤️
Profile Image for Spencer Orey.
557 reviews140 followers
October 18, 2019
Really good! Beautiful and precious prose. Somehow I didn’t expect it to be so YA, but I ended up liking that too.

There’s a lot of clever treatment of imperialism and rich collectors. Really the whole book feels deeply grounded in critical history, which for me also made the magic of doors and their fantastic worlds feel fantastically grounded too. I loved that. There are some fierce antiracist and anti-imperialist politics woven in here, and they work wonderfully.

If you’ve been interested in this one, go get it! The hype is real.
October 30, 2021
Striking cover. Fanciful concepts. Worth savouring.
May she wander but always return home, may all her words be written true, may every door lie open before her. (c)
The will to be polite, to maintain civility and normalcy, is fearfully strong. I wonder sometimes how much evil is permitted to run unchecked simply because it would be rude to interrupt it. (c)
Fiction—I hope to every god you have the guts to do what needs doing. I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return. (c)
It is my hope that this story is your thread, and at the end of it you find a door. (c)
Maybe, if you’re one of those fanciful persons who find their feet running toward unexpected places, you’ve even walked through one and found yourself in a very unexpected place indeed. (c)
“If we address stories as archaeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, us and them, mundane and magical. It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.” (c)
Reason and rationality reigned supreme, and there was no room for magic or mystery.
There was no room, it turned out, for little girls who wandered off the edge of the map and told the truth about the mad, impossible things they found there. (c)
I was what Mr. Locke called “an in-between sort of thing.” (c)
Sometimes I feel there are doors lurking in the creases of every sentence, with periods for knobs and verbs for hinges... (c)
All Doors are like that, half-shadowed and sideways until someone looks at them in just the right way. (с)
Thresholds are dangerous places, neither here nor there, and walking across one is like stepping off the edge of a cliff in the naive faith that you’ll sprout wings halfway down. (c)
It was a world made of salt water and stone. I stood on a high bluff surrounded on all sides by an endless silver sea. Far below me, cupped by the curving shore of the island like a pebble in a palm, was a city. (c)
It smelled of salt and age and adventure. It smelled like another world, and I want to return right this minute and walk those strange streets. (c)
... But—if you’re an in-between sort of creature with no family and no money, with nothing but your own two legs and a silver coin—sometimes running away is the only thing you can do. (c)
... I was seven and stubborn, and didn’t yet understand the cost of true stories. (c)
... an expression that said she hadn’t seen much of the twentieth century yet but heartily disapproved of it thus (c)
Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books—those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles—understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn’t about reading the words; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.
This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held. Cinnamon and coal smoke, catacombs and loam. Damp seaside evenings and sweat-slick noontimes beneath palm fronds. It smelled as if it had been in the mail for longer than any one parcel could be, circling the world for years and accumulating layers of smells like a tramp wearing too many clothes.
It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page. (c)
Being “a perfectly unique specimen” is lonely, it turns out. (c)
Honestly, a kid stubs their toe and Brooklyn Country Day wants to have a meeting between you, the kid, and the offending piece of furniture. (c)
My dress that year was a shapeless froth of pink ribbons and frills that made me look like a rather sulky cupcake. (c)
... the conversation died a merciful death. (c)
The interviews conducted for this study were stilted, suspicious affairs, akin to interrogating starlings or white-tailed deer. (c)
Let this ignoble origin story stand as an invaluable lesson to you that a person’s beginnings do not often herald their endings... (c)
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. (c)
It opened for me like a tiny leather-bound Door with hinges made of glue and wax thread.
I ran through it. (c)
He tried to explain further, with lots of stuttering sentences about the nature of the written word and the shape of the universe, the relative thickness of ink and blood, the significance of languages and their careful study... (c)
The weekly trial of Sunday church was somewhat easier to bear, Ade found, when one harbored a delicious and impossible secret burning like a lantern in the center of oneself. (c)
You see, doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change. (c)
She believed in something mad and elsewise... (c)
Profile Image for B.
120 reviews12.2k followers
July 23, 2021
I’m actually stunned at how much I ended up loving this book, it’s a mishmash of so many things I love. I’ll try and explain it but ultimately the running theme in the book is loyalty and stubborness. It’s somewhere between The Wayward Children Series, Furthermore, Inkheart, and a survival story. It’s the early 1900’s luxe life mixed with a wild and perilous journey. It’s the found family trope and a “will go to the ends of the earth to find you” love story. It’s about January and it’s about Adelaide. A story of a girl finding her old/true self after years of being stifled. It’s grief and euphoria. And did I mention there’s a dog? He was probably my favorite part
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,381 followers
July 29, 2019
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

Actual rating: way more than 5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Listen, not every story is made for telling. Sometimes just by telling a story you’re stealing it, stealing a little of the mystery away from it.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is quite possibly the most achingly beautiful novel I’ve ever read, and I find it mind-boggling that anything this lovely could possibly be a debut novel. There are a scant handful of novels I’ve experienced in my life (The Name of the Wind, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, and The Night Circus come to mind) that were breathtaking debuts of this caliber, and they remain my very favorite books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I’m so incredibly happy to add Alix E. Harrow’s novel to that list.
“If we address stories as archeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, mundane and magical. It is at the moment when the doors open, when things flow between worlds, that stories happen.”

As soon as the synopsis and cover art (isn’t that cover almost painfully pretty?) for this book became public, Ten Thousand Doors immediately catapulted to my most anticipated book of 2019. I preordered it for my birthday in February, even though it’s not scheduled to be released until September. Imagine my delight when, less than a week ago, I returned home from church to find an envelope featuring this book’s stunning artwork waiting for me on my doorstep. I’ve never received a more beautiful ARC, and this is the first time I have ever seen a galley delivered in special packaging such as I saw on my stoop. My husband laughed when I darted out of the car before it was even fully in park, leaving my phone and house key and everything else in the vehicle because I was so insanely excited. I tried desperately to pace myself, trying not to read more than 50 pages or so per day so that the book would last as long as possible. Alas, I was hopelessly incapable of sticking to that pace and found the story drawing to a close far too quickly.
“You see, doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change.”

When you have such a high level of excitement going into a book, it’s very hard to temper your expectations and not be disappointed. And yet, I never once felt disappointed in Ten Thousand Doors. From page one, I fell in love with January Scaller. When we first meet January, she is seven years old and, though her father is living, finds herself being raised by Mr. Locke, his benefactor, as her father travels the world, searching for exotic treasures to bring back to his employer. January is wild and sullen and headstrong and oddly colored, an unfortunate circumstance considering the time and place in which she lives. Worst of all, she’s imaginative. Throughout her childhood years, she is herded and tamed into submission by Mr. Locke and militant nursemaids, and sees less and less of her father. But though she has been bent by her benefactor, she has managed to remain unbroken, and finds many opportunities to test and marvel at the strength of her own character.
“I escaped outdoors (see how that word slips into even the most mundane of sentences? Sometimes I feel there are doors lurking in the creases of every sentence, with periods for knobs and verbs for hinges).”

What I loved the most about January was how alive she seemed. From the very beginning, she had an incredibly strong, distinctive voice, and an open honesty to her character that made her wonderfully believable. She’s far from perfect, and that’s what makes her so engaging. The amount of character development packed into less than 400 pages is astounding. I loved watching this fiery little girl grow into a woman and recapture that spark that had been smothered within her. January has also been blessed with a trio of amazing friends who will do anything in their power to aid her on her quest. I don’t want to describe them and inadvertently take anything away from the reading experiences of others, so I’ll just say that they’re all three brave and loyal and steadfast, but in radically different ways. I’m so impressed that Harrow was able to imbue even her side characters with such heaping amounts of personality and believability.
“At this point, you’re thinking that this story isn’t really about Doors, but about those more private, altogether more miraculous doors that can open between two hearts. Perhaps it is in the end—I happen to believe that every story is a love story if you catch it at the right moment, slantwise in the light of dusk—but it wasn’t then.”

Something else that I loved about this book was its duality. Though January is our protagonist, we also trek right along with her as she reads through a magical book that she found in an antique trunk. The chapters of said magical book are very different in tone and voice than January’s chapters, and I thoroughly enjoyed this added variance. January’s insatiable need to see how that story ended increased my own desire to continue reading. I felt that the author and purpose of the little book were both a bit obvious, but that they were meant to be so, which ensured that the predictability of that particular information couldn’t be in any way disappointing.
“If you are wondering why other worlds seem so brimful of magic compared to your own dreary Earth, consider how magical this world seems from another perspective.”

Between the magical book and the otherworldly Doors mentioned in the title, I was strongly reminded of two books that I adore: Inkheart and Every Heart a Doorway. However, as much as I dearly love the two aforementioned titles, The Ten Thousand Doors of January surpassed them both in my eyes by intermingling the things I love so much about both. As with Inkheart, Ten Thousand Doors makes much of not only books but the words with which they’re crafted. And, as with Every Heart a Doorway, there are magical portals to a multitude of realms, hidden behind and beneath the mundane, and the search for these Doors is an all-consuming quest for certain characters involved. I won’t talk more about January’s Doors, as they are the backbone of her story and readers should learn about these portals as they read, but I love the entire idea of them and desperately wish I could find one of my own, and found them even more enticing than those in McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway.
“Worlds are too complex, too beautifully fractured to be named.”

Though I loved January and her friends, and I rooted for them as they faced down their foes, that was not my favorite element of this novel. And though the plot was everything I could hope for and more, keeping me enthralled and remaining at the forefront of my mind far after I had closed its pages, that was not my favorite aspect, either. The thing I loved most about this book was the absolutely exquisite prose. Harrow is more than an author; she is a Wordsmith, a sorceress wielding a pen in place of a wand. Her writing is effortlessly stunning and unconsciously literary. I’ve read a lot of literary fiction, and fantasy, and literary fiction trying to also be fantasy. I have found very few novels that managed to bridge the gap from literary fiction to fantasy in a compelling and convincing way, though I have found many fantasy authors who, in my opinion, can hold their own with any literary author. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is one of a mere handful of books that I’ve come across that could sit comfortably in either the literary or fantasy genre, and I think it beautifully combines both.
“Doors, he told her, are change, and change is a dangerous necessity. Doors are revolutions and upheavals, uncertainties and mysteries, axis points around which entire worlds can be turned. They are the beginnings and ending of every true story, the passages between that lead to adventures and madness and—here he smiled—even love. Without doors the world’s would grow stagnant, calcified, storyless.”

Not only does Harrow have a gorgeous way with words, but she appreciates the building blocks of language in a way that I’ve rarely if ever seen in fiction. Something she did that I felt was incredibly unique was drawing attention to letters themselves. When a word is important, you capitalize it. And when you capitalize a word, that first letter suddenly becomes a representation of that word. At least, that is what Harrow points out through the eyes and mind of January. For example, when you capitalize the first letter of Villain, doesn’t that V speak of daggers and fangs? That’s what January thinks. When you read this book, which I desperately hope you will, watch for explanations of words like Door and Threshold, Companion and Home. They were such beautiful ideas that my heart kept them, and I know they will come back to me every time I come across these words.
Worlds were never meant to be prisons, locked and suffocating and safe. Worlds were supposed to be great rambling houses with all the windows thrown open and the wind and summer rain rushing through them, with magic passages in their closets and secret treasure chests in their attics.”

This is among the longest reviews I’ve ever written, and I still feel that I haven’t said enough. Or perhaps I’ve said too much. In either case, I hope I was able to convey how much I adore this book, and how deeply it touched me. For the first time in my adult life, I’m honestly contemplating rereading a book immediately, or at least within the same year. Maybe I’ll hold out until release day, and experience it again when I receive my preordered copy. I haven’t read a book twice in one year since I was in middle school. I can already tell that January is going to be one of my dearest friends, and that I’ll be revisiting her often. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a marvel, and I can’t wait for the world to read it.

The quotations in the review above were taken from an advance reading copy and are subject to change upon the book's publication.
Profile Image for Peter.
472 reviews2,556 followers
January 21, 2021
A book within a book always adds intrigue and sates a personal delight that a treasured possession of bound pages can be the catalyst for a fantasy adventure. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a highly imaginative mystery that is cleverly structured around the concept of magical doors into other worlds, and a protagonist that pursues a journey of discovery.
“There are ten thousand stories about ten thousand Doors, and we know them as well as we know our names. They lead to Faerie, Valhalla, Atlantis, and Lemuria, Heaven and Hell, to all the directions a compass would never take you, to elsewhere.”
Passageways to other worlds is a popular trope in fantasy stories and I appreciated that Alix Harrow paid homage to many fantasy tales by explicitly referencing those like Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Jungle Book and Oz. The Doors are not only portals for travellers but often leak items such as magic mirrors, lamps and coins – all very familiar. These references are dropped with perfect placement and do not detract from the focus or momentum of the story but enthuse nerds like me spotting the links.

Negotiating the difficulties of life is often a challenge, but for a seventeen-year-old girl, January Scaller, that means her unrelenting search for the truth of who she is, finding her family and understanding the power and opportunity of using magical Doors to other worlds. January is red-skinned and lives under the guardianship of the wealthy Mr William Cornelius Locke. Her father is employed by Locke, in the New England Archaeological Society, and he travels the world seeking valuable treasures and unusual artefacts to add to Mr Locke’s collection. With a father January rarely sees, her closest friendships are with her dog Sinbad (Bad for short), Jane her nannie/companion and her longtime childhood friend, Samuel.

Locke is a character formed with a cloak of suspicion, possibly hiding an evil intent, or the generous guardian that January somehow feels a connection with, and yet again perhaps it’s a tantalising tension between the two. Alix Harrow treads that fine balance with Locke to keep us guessing, unsure and apprehensive, mistrustful yet hoping January has a safe harbour. When January finds a book titled The Ten Thousand Doors written by Yule Ian Scholar, and includes a story of Adelaide Lee, it feels like a personal message and a guide to other worlds. When January’s father is reported dead, January starts her journey with her book in one hand and her friends, Jane, Samuel, and Bad by her side, to unravel the mysteries beyond the many Doors.

There is a strong theme of escaping, either a limiting compliant life, danger, powerful forces seeking to do harm, or worlds that are not home. References are often made to a labyrinth and metaphorically escaping the Minotaur.
“They are the red threads that we may follow out of the labyrinth. It is my hope that this story is your thread, and at the end of it you find a door.”
A book can open our minds and elicit actions, which is truly the case in this story and gradually the link between the two narrative threads becomes apparent. Of major concern is a sinister and deadly force on their heels that is intent on closing Doors permanently. This is a move to maintain power, in and between worlds, as all opportunities cause change, and some will kill for change to be thwarted, and the status quo to remain.

This is a great story on many levels and provides wonderful depth in raising real contemporary issues around sexism, racism, slavery, political power, and domination. The area I had some difficultly with, is January herself and the frustratingly stupid decisions she made and the reasoning she played out in her head. The background to other characters could have been developed further and I'm particularly thinking about Jane as she was an engrossing character with a lot more contribution to be made. Various relationships drifted off into thin air at the end and I felt cheated from the fullness of the story.

I would recommend reading this book, especially for fantasy lovers and those that enjoy deeper meaning and links with other works of literature.

I would like to thank Sarah Sansom for sharing this reading experience with me and for opening me up to connections I hadn’t seen. It was a joy to chat through the many subtle nuances in the story of which there are many. We discussed the notion of the labyrinth, the many references to classic fairy tales and the precious care with which Alix Harrow played with words and the shapes of letters. For two bibliophiles, Harrow bound our Buddy read even tighter as we shared a common bond. See Sarah's review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for carol..
1,566 reviews8,212 followers
February 28, 2022
I stalled.


Because it contains one trope I hate,¹ a character type I dislike,² and a plot I dislike³ with what is appearing to be a fairly predictable arc lingering in all the wrong spots. In short, promising beginning, but an execution that was empathetically Not For Me. Despite Harrow's often lovely writing and wonderful imagery, I don't know when I'll return.

¹ Mental institutions

² Milquetoast

³ Twue Wov
Profile Image for Brittni Kristine.
185 reviews127 followers
July 16, 2021
I’m feeling very much like I did after I finished The Night Circus. The writing is beautiful and flowery and the imagery is fascinating, but it’s very clearly supposed to be a character driven story.

So please explain why the characters are so incredibly one note? January has very little character growth. She is weak and whiny even after discovering she isn’t your average girl.

The romance? Insta-love. There is zero build up to any romance in this book. They meet, they are in love. It’s wildly annoying.

As my partner just said, “January is useless. She’s a glorified bellhop, she just opens doors.” I feel that sums it up well.
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 10 books4,393 followers
March 5, 2019
HOLY SH*T. This book was like a drug to me. Portals and the multiverse and word magic and fascinating women and crisp, textured prose I wanted to fold and unfold like a letter. It's truly one of those books that's bigger on the inside, a house with countless rooms.
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