Synopsis (From Goodreads)
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical 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.
Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic
3 out of 5 stars
All signs point this to being at least a 4 star book for me. It’s a historical fantasy with magical portals to another world and led by a strong female character. For some reason though, I just couldn’t get into it as much as I really wanted to. I can’t really pinpoint exactly where it failed at speaking to me. I will say that I first started reading this expecting many magical portals to many magical worlds, but that is definitely not the case, which led me to setting it aside for a bit. Then, I read some reviews of people who finished the book and they spelled out the fact that the book isn’t delivering the ten thousand worlds promised in the title, but is still an enjoyable read. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is actually a book that the main character is reading in the novel, and when she does read it, the next chapter is the part of the book that she is reading. Thus, it’s a story within a story, which can also be an interesting read. The novel also has a slow start, and I set it aside rather near the beginning. I think you need to be past the halfway point for much to pick up.
Still, while reading this I found myself looking at the remaining pages and wondering just when will I finish it? I just didn’t get absorbed into the story. I think it’s partially due to the characters, as I never became attached to them. They aren’t awful characters or anything; I just couldn’t connect. The overall plot is pretty predictable, and there is a twist within the second story that I’m sure you’ll see coming from a mile away. With no love for the characters and no surprises in store, there just isn’t anything for me to rate this any higher than a three. There is also a slight touch of romance that has zero development whatsoever. I think it was mostly to be implied given the history of the two characters, but as someone who enjoys romance I care much more about its outcome if it developed on page.
The writing is still very lyrical and beautiful. I think it is a great debut and look forward to what types of books Mrs. Harrow will write next. I really like the idea of the novel here and just think it slightly missed the mark for me personally. I would like to add that 3 stars means I “liked it”, I am just disappointed that I did not like it more.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
See this review on Goodreads.