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

Rating: 3/5

First off I’d like to say that the writing in this book is like nothing I’ve ever read in a novel before. It’s so beautiful, almost poetic. If I could give a rating solely for the writing style, I would give it a 5/5, but sadly I think the author didn’t give enough attention to the plot as she did to the writing itself.

January is a young girl living in the house of Mr. Locke who has become somewhat of a father figure in her life, given that she doesn’t remember her mother and she sees her father occasionally because he’s always busy on “business trips.” Somewhere along the line she finds a book that takes her on a journey to reconnect with her past and where she comes from. You will find yourself reading a book within a book and led through many doors and adventures

There will be times when the book will touch your heart and others where the book will not satisfy your expectations.

I found that each chapter was rushed, almost as if the author got lost in the writing and was like “oh yeah, I should probably get back to the story” and then whizzed through the moments that were supposed to take the reader on a spellbinding adventure. But then there were times when the chapters were so well structured that you’re left disappointed with the rest of the book because the potential is there. In saying that, I must say that I found the first portion of the book to be the best, after that, there was a lot of unexpected violence and lunacy that I didn’t expect from such a magically written book.

“If you are wondering why other worlds seem so brimful of magic compared to your own dreary Earth, consider how magical this world seems from another perspective. To a world of sea people, your ability to breathe air is stunning; to a world of spear throwers, your machines are demons harnessed to work tirelessly in your service; to a world of glaciers and clouds, summer itself is a miracle.”

I really struggled with the rating of this book. As the reader, I almost found myself tangled up in the writing to remember the quality of the plot, the entire story itself. Also, for me, the ending is one of the major factors of how I rate a book. I think if the ending was more satisfying, I would’ve rated it 4/5 stars. But I did enjoy the author’s viewpoint on the world and life. There were times when I could entirely agree with the author. Even though she was mostly writing about a fictional world, the real world is uncannily relatable.

“Once we have agreed that true love exists, we may consider its nature. It is not, as many misguided poets would have you believe, an event in and of itself; it is not something that happens, but something that simply is and always has been. One does not fall in love, one discovers it.”

Overall I think this book has left an impression on me: It’s okay to have an imagination which is looked down on in this time and age, and it’s okay to do what you have to do even if people think you’re out of your mind. Because in the words of January Scaller, it’s possible to “[develop] something of an allergy to people thinking I [am] insane.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” by Alix E. Harrow

  1. I’m right in the middle of reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette. I like the way it is written and it is really funny, but I find it too boring for my taste. I’m not really into comedy novels tho. I may watch the movie instead, haha. However, I finished Origin in 4 days. I couldn’t put it down, but I’ve always loved Dan Brown’s novels. I also like whimsical tales, so I may enjoy this book. The way you describe it sounds like my writing. It’s why I always stick to short stories. XD Keep posting book reviews! Hope you are well. We miss you over here. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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