The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow

This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held. Cinnamon and coal smoke, catacombs and loam. Damp seaside evenings and sweat-slick noontimes beneath palm fronds. It smelled as if it had been in the mail for longer than any one parcel could be, circling the world for years and accumulating layers of smells like a tramp wearing too many clothes.

It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page.

But I’m stumbling ahead of myself. Stories are supposed to be told in order, with beginnings and middles and ends. I’m no scholar, but I know that much.

WOW! This book will leave you with your mouth hanging open, your eyes drinking in the beauty and your heart making you realize that you still have one.

From the beginning – where we meet seven year old January Scaller – until the very end you will be in another world – several other worlds actually.

January is the ward of the wealthy collector Mr. Locke. Her father is collecting art and artifacts all over the world for Mr. Locke, so January is mostly alone. Then she discovers a door – not just a normal door, but a Door. You’ve heard that before? Trust me – not like this.

Her story is about stories. Why they are important and essential to progress. Without stories the world will stagnate and wither.

This book will suck you in and never let go. The language, the stories, the unfolding of the plot, the strangeness and the love will stay with you a long time after you’ve finished the book. And when you put it down, you will have dreaming eyes and a silly smile on you face.

ALIX E. HARROW has written short fiction that has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards and won the HUGO award 2019 for best short story with A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies. THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY is her first novel.

The blurb on the front of the book by author Amal El-Mohtar says it all in just two words – “Unbearably beautiful”.