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We first meet January Scaller when she is seven years old, when accompanying her guardian on his travels, January comes across a Door to another world. It will be another ten years before she learns the true nature of Doors through a strange book she stumbles across. Yet reading its story, January discovers not only the magic and wonder of others worlds, but also her own origins.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is an interesting mix of fantasy, adventure, romance and historical fiction. At its heart it is a coming of age story, a story about a young lady discovering who she is and her place in the world, or perhaps I should say worlds. Race and social status also play important roles in the story, and in many ways the book is an ode to stories themselves and the power of words.
The prose and descriptions in this book are quite exquisite, however it is a slow read, the pace taking a while to pick up and for the story to really get going. Furthermore whilst I liked this book, I can't say that I loved it, and to be honest from the reviews I had read, I had been expecting something more.
Whilst the story is imaginative, with a lot of scope and potential, I'm not sure this was actually fully realized. Furthermore, for some reason I simply couldn't connect to any of the characters as well as I should have done, including January herself. I also wasn't that keen on the 'big bad' in the story, the reveal of which really wasn't that surprising, and which I had pieced together very early on.
Overall this was an interesting read, if a little bizarre at times. Alix Harrow has a lovely way with words, however I felt the central story itself was actually somewhat simplistic, albeit told in a very extended way.
I struggled with the first half of this book. If you can make it to the middle point it does get better. It contains a book within the book which is written as a reference book and can be quite tiresome in the beginning. The switches between the main story and the secondary book are a bit forced at times.
Occasionally breaks the 4th wall and flits between first and third person on occasion which I didn't really enjoy but then I wasn't expecting it in this style of book.
I like the premise of the book and the ending feels satisfying but I wish the beginning had grabbed me more.
It has it's strengths and it has it's weaknesses. It is greatly let down by the latter and ultimately does not convince. A great shame. I don't uderstand why such a talented and imaginative writer allowed such plot weaknesses? It could have been so much more.
A great book to read. Although, I paid extra for the hard back book and was very disappointed that there’s nothing under the paper dust jacked, just a plain black book! I would have got the cheaper paperback with a beautiful cover on.
Story is OK, characters are likable, but you don't really get close to them. The world the writer depicts has so much potential for an excellent story, the one this book gives is an OK one. I was waiting for the great adventure until the end and then when it would have begun, the story ended.
This book is bound to remind everyone of every book they have ever read where people enter another world through a door or portal. The first I read was The Door into Summer (1957) and The Phantom Tolbooth (1961) – and of course the Narnia stories. Doors – Agartha – are everywhere it seems! January, growing up with her guardian Locke (ah, very symbolic) and a dog called Bad, finds that she has a special means of accessing doors but that the “baddies” want the doors into the untidy, messy worlds closed off. January herself mentions Alice in Wonderland. The book is a bizarre tale, which ricochets off at wild tangents, full of fantasie and strange lost cities, vampires, Amazonian women, love lost and found. At heart it is a children’s or young adults adventure book that I could never quite lose myself in or believe in, beautifully written though it may be.
3.0 out of 5 starsThe Ten Thousand Doors of January
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 January 2020
A coming of age story with a hint of magic, historical fiction, mystery and romance.
This is a difficult one to review as 'The Ten Thousand Doors of January' is a beautifully written story with lots of imaginative and thoughtful prose; I loved the mystery of the doors to other worlds and how it threaded nicely with the theme of stories and books being doors themselves into wonderful new locations.
However, while this was overall an enjoyable read, I did sometimes find myself flipping through the pages to see how long was left in a chapter as the pace of the book was a little slow, particularly in the beginning, and it was difficult to connect with the characters.
Well written then, but with a narrative that was perhaps not quite gripping enough for me.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 November 2020
A fusion of fantasy, romance and historical genres (I may be missing one in the list). Feels like a coming of age story at heart.
The book focuses on January Scaller, who we first meet when she is 7 years old, accompanying her guardian on his travels, it is during this that she comes across a Door to another world. It will be a decade before she learns the true nature of Doors through a strange book she stumbles across. By reading the book, January discovers not only the magic and wonder of others worlds, but also something about her.
The pacing took a bot too long to pick up.
I liked the book but it didn't captivate me as I hoped, it's not going in my re-read pile.