Review – The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Posted May 12, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. HarrowThe Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow

I confidently expected to love this book. January is a temerarious girl who grows up in the home of a very rich collector, shielded by his money and position from the judgement that might arise from her coloured skin in the US at the time. Her father is away constantly, searching for things for their benefactor, so January grows up in that house, lonely and browbeaten into becoming a good girl.

The “temerarious” thing and some of the narration constantly reminded me of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making, especially with the names of the protagonists (September, January). Perhaps it’s partly that constant obvious comparison that brought it down for me; I really, really love the Fairyland books, and all their bright and wondrous cast of characters, the joys and pains of growing up and falling in love. There was a fair bit of the same here in many ways, and it just didn’t make a niche for itself in my heart in the same way.

That being said, there were things I loved; Jane is really cool, and it’s beautifully written; whenever I picked this up I crammed it into my brain in big chunks. It just didn’t quite come to life for me: when I put the book down, I didn’t feel the immediate desperate urge to pick it back up. I actually took a month to read it, even though it was so easy and quick and more-ish once I was reading it. To some extent that’s January’s rather spoilt ways: raised in privilege, she thinks she’s so much better than she is — and then I didn’t believe her transformation at the end to being able to do whatever she set her mind to! In a way, I preferred the story within the story: Adelaide and Yule Ian.

It’s enjoyable, but it’s not a favourite for me. I can’t put my finger on why not, but… here we are.

Rating: 3/5

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2 responses to “Review – The Ten Thousand Doors of January

  1. I adore Harrow’s writing style. I think the biggest problem with this book is pacing, but I am optimistic future books will be a bit tighter. The real plot doesn’t start until ~75 pages into this book. That was a bit problematic for me. But once we made it to the asylum, things started to pick up. Then it dragged again once they escaped. So, pacing for me. But I loved the cast, the writing style, and overall concepts of the plot. There is a lot of good here.
    Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku recently posted…Between the Lines: What’s the difference between middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction?My Profile

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