HomeReviewsFictionReview: The Ten Thousand Doors Of January

Review: The Ten Thousand Doors Of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Title: The Ten Thousand Doors Of January
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction Fantasy
Page Count: 384
Published by: Redhook
Date Published: September 10, 2019
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


January Scaller leads a peculiar life. She lives as a ward of her father’s wealthy employer, Mr. Locke, while he travels the globe collecting rare and elusive artifacts to add to Mr. Locke’s collection.

When January turns seventeen in 1911 she finds an enchanting book, The Ten Thousand Doors, that speaks of magical doors that connect our world to many worlds unknown. What is even more peculiar is that January herself found one of these elusive doors as a child, that was subsequently destroyed by Mr. Locke.

When her father disappears on a mission and is presumed dead, January turns to this unusual book to find him, but this world of doors and magic is dangerous as there are those set on the destruction of these portals … and those who possess the knowledge of them.


Let’s Talk Diary-style storytelling and Audiobooks:

I listened to this as an audiobook by one of the greatest audio narrators I know – January LaVoy – the amazing narrator behind The Diviners series. For me personally, The Ten Thousand Doors of January is the perfect novel for an audiobook and likely enhanced my love of this story more than if I’d read it myself.

This multi-layered novel is split between January’s diary-style commentary and interspersed chapters from The Ten Thousand Doors (another diary style book written by an unknown author). I love audiobooks that are told from a singular voice perspective like this, because it really makes the protagonist come alive and I feel a very strong connection to the storyteller.

Let’s Talk The Slow Start Criticism and Characters: 

This novel definitely starts out slowly, but here’s the thing, I actually think this slower pace really works in this storytelling style, again, especially as an audiobook. January is essentially writing a mini biography but it is filled with luscious descriptions, magical elements, heart stealing characters, and excellent observations on race, power, politics, and love.

All characters are told in relation to January and her perspective, but yet we get a very strong sense of these characters. They are surprisingly vivid, multi-layered, and the many forms of love (father-daughter, animal-master, friend, friend-lover) really touched my heart. It is an ultimately beautiful and hopeful story and I can see why it is beloved by many. An excellent combination of fantasy, romance, imagination and historical fiction.

Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed this story immensely – especially as an audiobook that really brought January’s voice to life. While I can see people’s opinion on this being a slow start, I think it worked well to paint a vivid scene and enhance January’s story. I loved the lush descriptions, the multilayered components of the story that was a swirling mixture of fantasy, magic, love, and historical fiction – specifically highlighting racism, and sexism. From worlds where race/gender/sexuality aren’t seen as impediments to our known world at the turn of the 20th century with all it’s known prejudices & violence to medieval & barbaric worlds … I think Alix E. Harrow powerfully displays humanity’s great evils and compassions. Trials and triumphs. Both in real and imaginative settings. But ultimately it was the beautiful storytelling, the love letter to stories themselves, and the discussion of all forms of love that won me over. I loved this odd book.

TBR Ranking: High

For Fans Of:

The Starless Sea book coverThe Starless Sea

Written by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Anchor Books

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org



The BindingThe Binding

Written by Bridget Collins

Published by William Morrow & Company

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org



Every Heart a DoorwayEvery Heart a Doorway

Written by Seanan McGuire

Published by Tordotcom

You can find it here: Bookshop.org




Any purchases made via retailer links provided in this article may result in this site receiving a share of that sale.

Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.

Newest Articles