The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

by Alix E. Harrow


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"A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting."—Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice and Lost Boys


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316421997
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 335
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Alix E. Harrow is an ex-historian with lots of opinions and excessive library fines, currently living in Kentucky with her husband and their semi-feral children. She won a Hugo for her short fiction, and has been nominated for the Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. Find her at @AlixEHarrow on Twitter.

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
ElleRudy 11 months ago
I’ve seen this book described as a love letter to storytelling—and that’s spot on. It starts out familiarly enough, a plucky young girl raised by a wealthy benefactor at the turn of the century, and while I enjoy some of those stories, they can feel a bit stale after a while. Even though it was immediately apparent Alix Harrow was an exceptional writer, I didn’t expect to be so enraptured by the world she has crafted and shared with us. There’s adventure and intrigue, there’s mystery and mysticism. There’s magic and contests of wills. There’s so much heart poured into this book that I often found myself very moved. It gave me a feeling deep inside that anything is possible. If I read this as a child I might have believed it to be secretly true, even if I knew better, similarly to how I felt about The Chronicles of Narnia. I don’t want to overhype and then have it not meet someone’s extraordinary expectations, but I can’t imagine that anyone who picked up The Ten Thousand Doors of January could be disappointed. This one’s more than just a pretty cover.
Gina Roberts 13 days ago
WitchyWriter 22 days ago
I started reading this book right after NaNoWriMo started, then had to wait to finish it to get my word counts in, which was kind of tortuous. Everyone was raving about it, and I wanted to stay more up-to-date this year with debuts, so it was an obvious choice to buy. The narrative switches between January, starting as a young girl and growing up some throughout the course of the book, and a book she’s reading. It’s very meta, to be reading the book that a character is reading. It serves as a pretty good narrative tactic to keep you reading, because in the beginning January’s life is rather bland for a fantasy protagonist, but the book she’s reading is fantastical and fascinating, so you want to read it with her. And then as her life gets more weird and magical and dangerous, you start to realize the eery, non-coincidental parallel of themes and topics between the book she’s reading and her own life. And by the end of it the emotional payoff of her reading the end of that book is just...uuugh so good. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of fantastical and magical elements in this, and I actually think it was kind of better that way? So I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will say if you’re not yet sold on reading this that the melding of historical fiction with feminist themes and chilling magical villains that are seriously so damn creepy really WORKS. Fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell will probably enjoy this immensely (there are footnotes!!!).
melouria 22 days ago
Just finished and will read again I loved it so much! Great characters and so well imagined and written! Highly recommend!
Anonymous 26 days ago
This was a solid YA fantasy read. I have to confess it was a little more on the YA scale than the fantasy scale, which isn't quite what I was expecting. Still, the concept is treated in an interesting way and the writing is often quite lovely. Some of the things I enjoyed less was the constant...abject peril of the heroine. There are a lot of places where this is used to make a point about either gender or race, and I think the book had a lot of important things to say on these topics. But I found that the tension was constantly being ratcheted up only to be instantly relieved until the next melodramatic, silent film moment of tension. (To be fair, the narrative itself makes this comparison and several of the character's love of penny dreadful novels are lamp-posted several times. I can see this being super cute and building into the meta, inception-like reveal, but it just didn't work for me.) Ultimately I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy or historical fiction that's on the tropier side of YA.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I loved this book. It's a really well written, entertaining read.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Fantasy is not my usual genre, but I found this book to be a very enjoyable read. I guess I would say the first requirement of an author would be to be able to construct a believable alternate world and to catch the reader up in the characters and adventures that take place there and Alix Harrow definitely did that. This is a dual story: the story of a man, Yule Ian Scaller, and his true love and adventuress Adelaide Larson. Their separate stories begin, then join, then rupture when they are separated along with their infant daughter while transiting a Door into another world. Mysterious forces are working to close the Doors and so Yule and Ade spend years trying to find each other. Meanwhile, the infant daughter did survive with her father, but he is alone and without resources and still trying to find his wife. He leaves his daughter, January, with a seemingly kind and wealthy man who offers him employment and the opportunity to travel and search for Ade. January grows up in a privileged world materially, but is lonely and misses her father during his long absences. She becomes more and more unmalleable and eventually escapes what has become imprisonment. She has her parents' wanderlust and some special abilities that enable her to find and transit the Doors to other worlds. This book is the story of her coming of age and seeking to find the truth about her parents and whether they are alive or not. She must battle villains seeking to shut the Doors but she also has some allies: her beloved dog Sindbad, her friend and protector Jane, sent by her father to keep her safe, and her childhood friend and loyal love Samuel. Thanks to Net Galley and to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
smweston 7 months ago
3.5 stars. It took me until 40% into this book to be invested in the story line. If I hadn't been reading it because I had requested an ARC (and joined a buddy read) then I would have DNF'd because that's too long to be bored with a book. After 40% I really thought the plot picked up and I wanted to know what would happen to January, but the prose was still a bit too flowery for my taste and leaned towards long-winded descriptions that weren't doing anything for me. There were also some points in the book where it seemed to be narrated directly to someone and sometimes where the narrator was talking more generally and I wanted it to be consistent. The audiobook is narrated by January LaVoy and this is definitely the way to go if you want to read it. Thanks to Netgalley and Redhook Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Caroles_Random_Life 8 months ago
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!
Anonymous 8 months ago
not usually my genre but beautifully written i will dream of doors tonite
Anonymous 8 months ago
This book was hard to put down. Very beautifully written and interesting plot. Enjoyed the bigger questions raised throughout the story.
Anonymous 8 months ago
This is my new favorite book. I have always loved stories about the underdog triumphing over evil.
Anonymous 9 months ago
A great story about love, adventure, and magic.
Anonymous 9 months ago
beautifully written, captures your imagination and draws you in to this captivating tale of adventure and Love
Anonymous 9 months ago
I read this book in less then two days...just could not put it down! Really beautiful, made me weep! Like the others who wrote reviews, I highly recommend this book and pray there will be another!
ErraticElle 9 months ago
* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. * 4.5 stars. So creative and wonderful. Colorful and beautiful with so much room for more. This is a really good book. I enjoyed it a lot. It somehow felt to me like a combination of the magic in reading that came from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. It is weird, it is fantastical, and it is just what I've been looking for in terms of a concept. I would have loved to give it 5 stars in all honesty, but there were two things that prevented that: 1...Hype. Dang it! I hate it when that happens. I was all worked up for something incredibly magical, blow me off my feet. And it WAS good. It was magical, but it didn't blow me away. I expected too much. I oversold it to myself and wrecked the beauty that is all wrapped up in this book. This means that I may have to put it on my bookshelf and bring it back out in a couple of years for a reread once the hype goes away. In all honesty, there's a good chance I could love it even more on the second go round. 2...Pacing. I STRUGGLED with pieces of this book. It wasn't one where I couldn't put it down. At least not until the last 1/2. The beginning moved slowly for me and I just wanted to get to the action. Again, this was probably a factor of the hype. I knew what this book was supposed to be about and I just wanted it ALL. RIGHT. NOW. Ya...that didn't happen. But I pushed on because I wanted to love it. And the second half moved great. It wrapped me up in the narrative and propelled me forward, itching for each new page. I blame myself for the lack of 5 stars, really. But let's be honest... 4.5 is still pretty dang good. So I say read this one. But do yourself a favor if you can and wait out the hype. It'll be worth the wait.
Sleepy 9 months ago
This book was every bit as good as I expected it to be, but it's really better than that, since it went in a completely different direction than I'd anticipated. The book doesn't depend on constant action, like most fantasy reads do. And at first, that bored me, and I set the book aside in favor of others. But I'm so glad I picked it up again and finished it all in one sitting. The Thousand Doors is immersive. It's a fully developed character journey from wild child, tame young lady, to a powerful self realized individual. I loved how multi faceted the characters were, and their deceptive original impressions. There's so much fantasy in here, so many fantastic worlds that we get a glimpse of. The writing is slow and poetic. Once it absorbs you, it's hard to leave it. I usually prefer faster reads, but this book requires and deserves patience. It's late 19th century setting added a lot of flavor. The mistreatment of colored people was presented in a way that strongly pointed out all white man's wrongs, but was coated in such beautiful writing that you felt the injustice of it all without it coming across as a history or ethical lecture. It was a very original and absorbing read. Again, this book focuses on character over the usual rushing fantasy action, but it does deliver heaping spoonfuls of both. I really enjoyed this journey. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Brian Abrams 10 months ago
Thank you to the publisher, Redhook Books, and Netgalley for allowing me to read an ARC of The Ten Thousand Doors of January. I am a huge fan of portal fantasy, but I knew nothing of this book other than that the title eluded to portal fantasy. I eagerly read this book and was rewarded with something unexpected in what many people think is an overdone subgenre of fantasy. It is beautifully written. Set in the early 20th Century, the historical back drop only lends to the horrors that January has to endure in a society that wants to demean and suffocate her. The book is written by January and she is ward of a wealthy society man. She discovers a book "The Ten Thousand Doors" as she reads it (and the reader reads it - yes a book within the book) she uncovers the secret past of her parents and the tools she needs to escape. There may be points of this book (or the book within the book) that you don't buy-in, but I encourage you dear reader to keep pressing on the rewards are unexpected. Would it also entice you to read this book if you knew January had a companion animal? A dog named Bad.
JessiKay22 10 months ago
If you have ever searched the back of your closet to try to find your way to Narnia, or if you've ever found yourself leaning on the wall at the train station in a last ditch effort to make it to Hogwarts--THIS IS A BOOK YOU NEED TO READ. I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but, simply put, my writing isn't the writing you're going to fall in love with--Harrow's is. It's eloquent and breathtaking and will leave you in awe as to how she so perfectly describes the smallest detail. This is the book for lovers of books, lovers of books-within-books, lovers of language and words, lovers of strong, relatable, imperfect characters, lovers of fiercely loyal dogs, lovers of true love, lovers of adventure, and lovers of the type of wanderlust that keeps you incessantly searching for the next doorway to change. Honestly, this is one of those rare few cases when you absolutely should judge a book by its cover because this book is just as (if not more so) beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Take my word for it and indulge your fairytale-loving, adventure-seeking inner child--read this book!
Anonymous 10 months ago
This was so well written, so compelling, and just such a great ride I can't wait for the next book from this brilliant author.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Loved every word.
LeighKramer 10 months ago
The first half of this portal fantasy debut was strong. The gorgeous prose sucked me right into this bookish story and I was fully enamored with January’s tale, as well as the book she discovered. We learn about her unusual childhood and her discovery of doors to other worlds, which her guardian prevents her from exploring. But one can’t unknow such a discovery, especially since January’s father goes off on long expeditions seeking out treasure for her guardian. It was immediately clear to me not all was at it seemed about Mr. Locke but January was very slow up on the uptake. Not even after Mr. Locke does something atrocious to her does she think, “huh, my guardian isn’t great.” She continues to rationalize his behavior, no matter the mounting evidence against him. I started to believe January was a bit of a dummy, whereas for the first half I was impressed by her intelligence and curiosity. The middle dragged and I was less invested in everything that befell January. I haven’t pinpointed the exact problem, only that the plot was less action-driven and it would have benefitted from moving things along. However, the story did a great job exploring identity and the way stories shape us, not only the stories people tell us but the stories we tell about ourselves. There’s a great deal of symbolism and names play an important role as well. January has to make sense of herself during a time (early 1900s) in which she is othered because she is mixed race, her guardian is white, and her POC father is largely absent in her life. FYI she does experience racism and the story does include the use of racial slurs (but not the N word.) A friend of mine enjoyed this on audio but I would recommend reading a print copy or ebook instead. January talks a lot about particular words and letters, sometimes capitalizing certain words to draw more attention to them, and there was delight in seeing exactly what she meant. This aspect might get lost in the audio version. While the story stumbled in places, Alix E. Harrow is an author well worth paying attention to and I look forward to seeing what she does next. CW: racism, racial slurs, death of a pet dog (off page; later found to be injured but alive), institutionalization, attempted kidnapping, murder, violence, self-harm, grief, missing loved one Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Redhook in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 10 months ago
The writing is splendid. the characters were interesting and well fleshed out, and the plot had god twists and turns. The philosophical and metaphysical questions the book raised made it even better. Most enjoyable.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Other worlds, walking through doors, walls, cupboards, gates, all for us to explore. Shake up the status quo. I loved this book and eagerly awaiting the next one.
Christine Sandquist 10 months ago
his book ripped me apart and wrote me back together again. Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel is truly a work of art. I laughed, I cried, and I sat on the edge of my seat in suspense. January’s voice comes through each and every word – first like a gentle rain when her life is filled with upper class stability, and later like a typhoon when she must break away from the chains and preconceived notions holding her back. She wants so badly to be free, but can’t quite tear away without a push. January Scaller is a young girl growing up in the early 1900s. She’s leashed and tamed by a man who thinks of her as just another curio in his collection – but when her father goes missing, she’s forced to confront both her abilities and her past. This is a coming of age novel, a novel about exploring both this world and others, and a novel about lost souls seeking one another out through the ten thousand Doors between worlds. This is certainly a book about journeys as much as it is about destinations, for on her way, January discovers both a first and a true love (though she is perhaps a bit late in recognizing it), the challenges of fending for herself, and what it’s like not to be alone. The romance is a beautiful one – it is slow, it is delicate, and has that brush of the ephemeral that only a young love can have. January has lived a life where everyone she loves is ripped away from her, and the reader, too, must fear a little that this one will not last. Seeing the love and the sheer hope Harrow infused into each and every word melted my heart. At every turn, this book was plucking at my heartstrings. What is the nature of love, you might ask, and what is required of you when you love someone? That, too, is questioned – and is perhaps something that can only be answered when a test to that love arises. In all the Doors that hide vampires, were-leopards, or frozen wastelands… there is one that will lead to home. Sometimes, even a closed door can be opened once more.