The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E.Harrow

This is the book I took with me on holiday back in January, I’d forgotten about it to be honest. I hadn’t read any fiction for four months and thought perhaps something completely outside my usual genre might ease me back into reading.

I chose it because it seemed like a fun, escapist read, and I was intrigued by the use of doors as portals into other worlds. It reminded me of my childhood reading adventures into Narnia, an era when I devoured fantasy and loved to enter those other worlds outside my own.

I wondered how fantasy had moved on in the 21st century, whether it had the ability to suspend belief in the same way that it had in the past.

Goodreads describes the novel like this:

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.

Today I definitely see and read it through older eyes and I am aware of the underlying commentary about our own world, it’s halls of power, it’s attitude towards otherness, difference, it’s dislike of magic or of those who look as though they don’t belong.

Some of the transitions were vaguely executed which removed a little of the escapist journey I was on, but otherwise I enjoyed it and would recommend it for a light, escapist read, if you like to occasionally read fantasy.

15 thoughts on “The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E.Harrow

  1. I had enjoyed reading this book too and loved the relationship between Alix (I think that’s her name?) and her dog☺️ forgetting his name though

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  2. I think the best fantasy always makes comments on our own world, Claire. This isn’t a writer I’ve come across before, but I will definitely make a note of the name and look out for this when I’m feeling in the mood for a little light reading.

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  3. I don’t often like fantasy, though I read a fair bit of it when I was younger (Tolkien, Narnia, the Earthsea trilogy and so on). But that beautiful cover would have made me pick this book up in the bookshop…

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        • I have to smile, because there is fantasy in books and then there is a way of seeing and being in the world, and at the moment I’m reading nonfiction, that some might think of as fantasy, but it also serves that purpose of re-imagining the world, as Albert Einstein said “no problem can be solved at the level that created it” and he also said “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

          A lot of what he invented came from the imagination, from daring to imagine something inconceivable. So every morning at the moment I’m reading a chapter of ‘Courageous Dreaming’ to remind myself of that. 🙂

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  4. I love fantasy, it’s my fav genre, and am looking forward to trying this book. I’m glad you like it. I actually started it in audiobook form, but writing seems very descriptive so I stopped and have decided to pick it up in either e- or physical format soon so that I can pay closer attention to the prose.

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      • I’ve very particular about the audio format since I’m a very visual learner, but the more I listen, the more I get used it. I mostly use the format to “reread” books that way I already know the story.

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