98 points, 5 STARS!
In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world and the mystery behind a magical door in this captivating 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.
Available on Amazon and other major outlets September 10th, 2019. Preorder now!
“Destiny is a pretty story we tell ourselves. Lurking beneath it there are only people, and the terrible choices we make.”
I knew from early on that The Ten Thousand Doors of January was going to be one of my favourites. From the very beginning, I knew this was going to have that special something that make good books great. And it did. It had so much of that special something. I will remember this book for a long, long time. It is special. It is amazing. It is mine (in the I will forever hold this close sort of way. I wish this was actually my book that I wrote.)
The Ten Thousand Doors of January borrows from a lot of subgenres and tropes. And they are all my favourite ones. It is a portal magical realism story, set in the early twentieth century. And it does everything perfectly. Plus the prose! Oh the prose is delightful. I don’t typically bring up prose, because I don’t typically feel like it is something I notice, but it matters this time. The prose is one of the most amazing parts of the book. It takes an already amazing book and makes it transcendent. It is reminiscent of the time period, and it is just so, so beautiful:
In March 1908 I was thirteen, which is such an intensely awkward and self-absorbed age that I remember almost nothing about that year except that I grew four inches and Wilda made me start wearing a terrible wire contraption over my breasts. My father was on a steamer heading to the South Pole, and all his letters smelled of ice and bird shit; Mr. Locke was hosting a greasy group of Texas oilmen in the east wing of Locke House and had ordered me to stay out of their way; I was just about as lonely and wretched as any thirteen-year-old has ever been, which is very lonely and wretched indeed.
I love the main character, January Scaller. She is sure enough in herself in the face of a lot of outside pressures. She is spoiled, but she doesn’t realise it until everything goes wrong. The Ten Thousand Books of January is her story. Her story of discovering who she is. Her discovery of what the world is really like. And it is her discovery how things aren’t always as they appear.
The kind of person January is, that inescapable determination to be who she is, leads directly in the type of book The Ten Thousand Doors of January is. It has a light tone in the face of hardship. This broke my heart, because January is so good and kind, and she keeps close to her despite everything. I had a lot of fear while reading that I just couldn’t shake. January is so young and she has so many things to learn. Midway through the book, I had a bolt of realisation run through me and I basically ran around my room flailing for a bit. That is how invested I was in this. There are many twists and turns this book takes the reader through, because you just don’t know how it is going to end until you get there.
Plus, there is a book January reads throughout this book. It has even more amazing characters in a fantastical setting. I love this book, despite how brief it feels. It is part scientific. Which means there are footnotes, which instantly makes this entire experience all the better. Yet it is also a story. An adorable, adorable story.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is just so good. I want to reread it already, and I just finished it a first time. I feel absolutely privileged to have read this in my lifetime. Absolutely wonderful.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Alix E. Harrow, Redhook, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to review this copy!