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The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Young adult

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Alix E. Harrow, on your first book!

by Alix E. Harrow

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Quick take

Enchanted fairy tale vibes all around, as an odd-girl-out reveals secret after secret through otherwordly adventures.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Ornate

    Ornate

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical

    Magical

Synopsis

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.

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Check out a preview of The Ten Thousand Doors of January.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January

1

The Blue Door

When I was seven, I found a door. I suspect I should capitalize that word, so you understand I’m not talking about your garden- or common-variety door that leads reliably to a white-tiled kitchen or a bedroom closet.

When I was seven, I found a Door. There—look how tall and proud the word stands on the page now, the belly of that D like a black archway leading into white nothing. When you see that word, I imagine a little prickle of familiarity makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You don’t know a thing about me; you can’t see me sitting at this yellow-wood desk, the salt-sweet breeze riffling these pages like a reader looking for her bookmark. You can’t see the scars that twist and knot across my skin. You don’t even know my name (it’s January Scaller; so now I suppose you do know a little something about me and I’ve ruined my point).

But you know what it means when you see the word Door. Maybe you’ve even seen one for yourself, standing half-ajar and rotted in an old church, or oiled and shining in a brick wall. Maybe, if you’re one of those fanciful persons who find their feet running toward unexpected places, you’ve even walked through one and found yourself in a very unexpected place indeed.

Or maybe you’ve never so much as glimpsed a Door in your life. There aren’t as many of them as there used to be.

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Why I love it

I love books that suggest doorways between our world and others—think C.S. Lewis's Narnia books, or Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway. There’s something about the possibility of escape, adventure, and magic that gets me every time. So when I began The Ten Thousand Doors of January, a deeply enchanting fable about secret doorways and the power of stories, I fell in love immediately.

The book tells the story of January Scaller, a "natural born wanderer" whose adventurous impulses are curbed by her guardian, Cornelius Locke, a member of a shadowy Society that trades in rare artifacts. As a young girl, January discovers a Door—note the capital “D”—that leads from a field in middle America to another world entirely, and that changes the course of her sheltered life.

This book is stuffed full of ideas, including the notion that Doors are the reason we have myths, fairy tales, and revolutions (because stories can't help but leak from one world to the other). Alix E. Harrow's lyrical prose addresses everything from folklore to race with a sublimely deft hand, making this book feel like an instant classic. Watching January break free from her gilded cage, travel between worlds, and come of age as a free woman with the ability to save our world was not only a pleasure, but also a reminder of just how powerful a good story can be.

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Member ratings (1,356)

  • Amy L.

    Mattawan, MI

    LOVE. Beautifully written, unique and interesting premise, and I literally got lost in the story and the world and the characters. Been a while since I’ve read something that has touched me this much.

  • Jessie M.

    Natchez, MS

    Beautifully, soulfully, and imaginitively written! Such a magical, unique story with a cast of strong female characters and one fiercely loyal dog. Must read! This is now on my list of favorites ❤️

  • Laura T.

    Pikeville, KY

    I thought this was a beautiful book. I enjoyed the feel of the book and the story within a story. It’s marketed as YA but this is a book for adults to love as well. Plus there’s a brave, loyal dog.

  • Carissa C.

    Claremore, OK

    I really enjoyed this book so much that I didnt want to put it down. I was excited to pick it up at lunch, dinner, on my breaks and just whenever I had time to read it. I have so many favorite quotes.

  • Amanda A.

    Plainville, CT

    This book was just so beautiful! There was frustration, sadness, adventure, longing, finding, love, and so much more wrapped in this most lovely story. This is definitely one of my favorite BOTM picks

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