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review 2020-04-11 11:43
The Ten Thousand Doors of January
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow

Things that attracted me to this book:  the title (I first saw it in January, around my birthday); the cover; and the blurb mentioning a book.  I picked it up because the only books appealing to me right now are fluffy, preferably magical realism plots.

 

This book was both and neither.  I have no idea how to describe it.  A grown-up fairy tale sounds too trite and too superficial, though its roots are firmly in myth and legend.  The writing is lyrical, the tense is fourth-wall-breaking second person.  It's a happy story, a heart-wrenching one, and a magical one all at once. It's both predictable and surprising; cynical and fantastically idealistic.  It genuinely shocked the hell out of me because it wasn't at all what I expected.  

 

As the ward of the wealthy Mr Locke, January Scaller feels little different from the artefacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.

 

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across 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 reveals more impossible truths about the world...

 

It's both a perfect and perfectly inadequate description.  The closest I can come is a story with very faint shades of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, only for grown-ups.

 

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review 2020-03-21 17:47
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow

So, it's taken me more than a month to read this book and that shouldn't be taken as any reflection on the quality of the book (which is fantastic, and of which more shortly) but the fact that although I love me a good hardback, they're not really great for reading in bed, which is where I do a lot of my quality book-work nowadays. 

 

There's a longstanding tradition in fantasy of Doors, which even though they might not have the capital D when they're written, play a substantial part in helping characters move from one place to the next, one world to the next. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a wonderful addition to those books, paying homage to those that have gone before while also creating a whole new storyline involving them.

 

The eponymous January is our main character, who we first meet as a young teenager, living in the house of her guardian and benefactor who is also her father's employer - Julian's job is to travel and send back things he discovers to his employer, which he does relentlessly throughout the course of the book. He also sends back things for January herself, including a book that shares the name of the novel, telling his story and the story of January's mother. January finds out about Doors through that book, as well as discovering that she has powers of her own, in this case to bring Doors into being by writing them into existence. 

 

It's through this book as well that she finds out too that she is between-worlds in a way that is different from the one she has always known - she's living in turn of the century America and while her benefactor is white and rich, she distinctly isn't either of those things - and that it was a Door that brought her parents together in the first place. Now, despite the best efforts of January and her friends, who we meet along the way, the Doors are in danger as someone is closing them and that just might mean January will never get to see either of her parents again. 

 

All in all, this is a beautifully-written book and one which I imagine I will find myself re-reading in the future. It's full of hope and just what I needed in these current uncertain times - highly recommended! And apparently the author has another novel coming out later in the year... :)

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review 2020-02-04 10:22
The Ten Thousand Doors Of January
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January has a title that immediately made me want to read it. However, this always unnerves me a little bit, because I'm afraid I will be disappointed by a book that I'm looking forward to reading so much. I got it in an end of year sale, and planned to read it in January, as the title suggested, but in the end ended up finishing it just in February.

Luckily I didn't need to worry, because once I started reading I knew it was going to be a good one. Immediately I was drawn to January and her Doors (and other capitalized words). I don't want to say too much about the story, for fear of taking some of the magic away. But I will admit I recommended this book already to people, while I was only half-way the book, even to those who normally steer clear from Fantasy.

What I didn't know at that point though, was that it would touch me as much as it did. Definitely recommended and three euros very well spend.

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review 2019-10-27 22:59
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

What a fantastic book! I knew that this book was going to be special on the very first page. There is just something about the way that it is written that really pulls the reader into the story. I was completely captivated and didn't want to put the book down for any reason. I am so glad that I took a chance and decided to give this book a try.

January lives in the home of a wealthy businessman, Mr. Locke. Her mother is gone and her father works for Mr. Locke searching the world for treasures which means he is rarely around. She doesn't quite fit in but tries to be what Mr. Locke wants her to be. Her only friends are a local boy named Samual and eventually, a big mean looking dog, she names Sinbad but always addresses as Bad. January finds a book, The Ten Thousand Doors, which she knows is meant for her. The book alternates between January's story and the story told in her book. Both stories were completely compelling. I was completely amazed by the story January's book held as its true origin was revealed.

I loved January! She was tough and resourceful. She tried really hard to do what was expected until she realized that may not be her best option. She never gave up and she cared greatly for those around her. I also really loved how her dog, Bad, was a big part of the story. Bad had great instincts and was fiercely loyal to January. I was really impressed by how completely his personality was developed.

This is a fantasy and one that was very well done. I loved the idea of these magical doors that allow individuals to travel from one world to another. The descriptions were so well done, I almost felt like I could smell the air along with the characters. I thought that the author did a fantastic job of incorporating fantastical elements into a historical story in a manner that seemed completely plausible.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I loved the journey that I took with January in these pages. There were surprises, some heartache, a few moments of pure joy, and some precious hope. I will definitely be looking out for future books by this incredibly talented author!

Initial Thoughts
So, I have slept on it and this is definitely a 5-star read. So, so good!

This was fantastic. I am putting 4 stars for now but might bump it up to 5 after I give myself some time to really think about it. I loved January and I was intrigued about the doors and magic in her world. There were some pretty big surprises that popped up over the course of the story. I was pretty much glued to the pages of this novel every chance that I had. I will definitely be watching for more books from this talented author.

Book Source: Purchased

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review 2019-07-11 00:52
Read this
A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical C... A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies - Alix E. Harrow

I'm listing this as a kindle freebie because you can read it here

Shout to C who told me to read this.

My preferred state is reading. I share a house. My bedroom is library with a place to sleep.

Books are my safe place. Always have been.

Alix E. Harrow's brilliant, wonderful, glorious, heart breaking short story is about the power of books and the ability books have to move us and save us.

And how forcing people to read X is the wrong way to go.

Just read it, okay?

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