by Alix E. Harrow
Published on: September 10, 2019
There is something about this title that drew me in the first time I saw it. It’s enchanting, mysterious, and inviting. I started wondering where the door came from or where it takes the characters once they go through it. What I didn’t have to wonder for too long is what color it is because this story begins with The Blue Door.
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.
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.
Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.
In the first chapter we meet January at age seven. There is something rather enchanting and fun about the writing in the first chapter and you can even sense her seven-ness through it. It is at this age when she discovers her first Door. But before we find out about the door January explains to the reader how there are doors and then there are Doors and that this was clearly a Door. It is in the early 1900s and while her father is hunting for precious relics she lives with his boss, Mr. Locke. Mr. Locke would like her to be a proper little girl, but she struggles so much with that. She briefly discovers the magic of a new world through a door before she is called back to the one she knows. However, this nonsense about magical Doors does not fit with Mr. Locke and for the next 10 years he does what he needs to, to ensure she feels as if she is confined in a cage.
Although January tries very hard to be the perfect person Mr. Locke wishes her to be, she is growing more and more tired of trying fit into a mold that isn’t for her. She wants freedom and a life, which she has known very little of. This freedom starts slowly when her father introduces her to Jane to act as a companion. She also has a dog and someone her age that cares for her, but even those can both feel at times as if they can easily be taken from her.
Within The Ten Thousand Doors of January is another book that alternates between January’s story for about six chapters before it reaches its own conclusion. The story within is ‘…a Comparative Study of Passages, Portals, an Entryways…’, but mostly has the feeling of someone writing a story about someone they know – like a journal, but the journaling of someone else’s life.
Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I initially suspected there might be some fantastical or whimsical element to it – after all, we are talking about 10,000 Doors. However, the story is much less about either of these than about a girl’s fight for freedom and peace and a fight for family and those you care about.
All in all, I liked this story very much. And although I didn’t love it, I can definitely recommend it for anyone to try because it is a beautifully written story.
Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to Netgalley and Redhook Books for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.