Published by Orbit
Ebook and Hardback (12 September 2019) | Paperback (14 May 2020)
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review
ABOUT THE BOOK
EVERY STORY OPENS A DOOR
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 artefacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.
But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across 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 reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Beginning in the late 1800s/early 1900s we first meet January Scaller as a seven year old in the care of Mr Locke, Chairman of the New England Archaeological Society, a very wealthy collector of artefacts and living in an attic room at his mansion. January is of mixed race, she has no mother and her father is employed by Mr Locke to travel the world and to find treasures and unusual objects for his collection. As this young age, all January knows is that her father is absent for most of the time, she misses him dreadfully and whilst Mr Locke is not overly cruel, he is strict and she must behave herself and do as she is told. Occasionally she accompanies Mr Locke on his travels and this is where she first comes across a Door. It is only as she gets older that she begins to resent the restrictions placed upon her – where she can go and who she can be friends with. When a book comes into her hands ‘The Ten Thousand Doors: Being a Comparative Study of Passages, Portals and Entryways in World Mythology‘ , it opens up to her not only a whole other world of possibilities but also of danger as January endeavours to discover who she really is and discover her heritage.
Fantasy isn’t one of my normal reading genres but I was totally seduced by this gorgeous cover and captivating description which appeared to border on the historical (which I love) as well as the fantastical hence my decision to choose to review. Holding my hands up here, I have to admit there were times at the beginning when I was concerned that I didn’t feel as much love for it as everybody else appeared to as it took me a while to settle into it. BUT there came a moment when the story completely took hold of my attention and from then on there was absolutely no way that anyone was going to grab this book away from me.
This is such an accomplished debut novel and I was totally captivated by the discoveries and adventures that January and her companions undertake by going through doors to other worlds and times.
There is actually a very dark side to this story – January comes across some very unpleasant and sinister people, however one of the joys for me was seeing January mature. She really does have to grow up very quickly and it’s a tough ride for someone who has led such a sheltered lifestyle to suddenly fend for herself and think about not only her own safety but that of others and deal with prejudice because of the colour of her skin. However, she is a brave and resourceful young woman and learns some important lessons about herself, and others, along the way.
Without wishing to give away any of the story, all I can say is the author must have an incredible imagination to execute such a captivating and entertaining story. Vivid imagery and description bring the story and characters to life and I loved the structure of a book within a book which enabled the entire story to come together. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a beautifully written, enchanting and magical story of adventure, love, friendship and loyalty. There are characters that you will take to your heart and others that you will despise. A spellbinding read which I am sure that readers of this genre will love – as well as non genre readers like me!
My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to take part in the tour and to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alix E. Harrow is an ex-historian with lots of opinions and excessive library fines, currently living in Kentucky with her husband and their semi-feral children. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is her debut novel. Find her on Twitter at @AlixEHarrow.