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

the ten thousand doors of january by alix e harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Alix E. Harrow

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place…more.

My Rating:

Magic and romance laces through The Ten Thousand Doors of January like the very adventurers written on the pages weave through worlds and lands, following their hearts. Author Alix E. Harrow provides a rich and lurid fable that is sweet as honey and filled with hope. It floats like memories of long forgotten summers, painting across the mind and searing into the folds as if these wondrous journeys of January, Adelaide and Julian are ones the reader themselves experienced.

Vividly painting the scenes, the Doors, the magic of what can be found, what should be left undiscovered, and the ability to find magic in all things, Harrow crafts a story like no other. Absolutely, brilliantly wonderful, it is a book that calls to mind the dark fantasy of worlds and guttural emotions felt as my mother read stories to me, while tucked safely under covers. Both adult and childish, both a warning and an incentive, The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a masterpiece and a classic. It should be devoured eagerly, and slowly digested in equal measure.

Being the type of book that comes to an end, only demanding one start all over back at the beginning, it is so engrossing that when one tumbles out of the pages, it’s like coming to from a vivid and wildly evocative dream. The prose is perfectly poetic, endearing in it’s telling, dreadfully honest and brutal when need be, but sweet as summer rain in turn. Harrow has written a cast of characters that tread the lines of grey, neither black nor white, with no clear villain (as she explains within her book, ‘villain with a capital V’.) Following both January as she steals wildly and unprepared into the story of her beginnings, we are left in the grasp of what did happen? What will happen? While we following along too, with the scholarly book on Doors, learning of a past, of love found in the blink of the prairie sun, that ties directly back to our eloquently written January Scaller.

A novel to be adored and cherished, to have worn pages, broken spines, taped edges, plenty of stains and probably the sort of book that will require reoccurring purchases over time, The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a most heartfelt novel by a splendidly unique writer.

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