The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While her father travels around the world seeking curiosities and treasures for his rich employer, January is left in care of their employer, Mr. Locke. Her wealthy benefactor provides January with an education & upbringing as if she were his own daughter, which is certainly a far cry from what January would have received as a colored girl. Yet, despite of all that, or perhaps because of it, January feels like just another curiosity in Mr. Locke’s collection. One that must follow the rules at all times. One that is best seen, and not heard. When she finds a mysterious book among Mr. Locke’s collection, and learns of doors that open into magical worlds, January must decide if she will seek out & open those doors. For the doors don’t just open new worlds, they can also place January and her friends in immense danger.
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 plot 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 Ten Thousand Doors is immersive. It’s a fully developed character journey from wild child, to 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.
Its 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 historical or ethical lecture.
It was a very original and absorbing read. Again, this book focused on character development 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.
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