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The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Magical realism ✅ Portal fantasy ✅ Stories within a story ✅ Badass animal sidekick ✅ This book just ticked so many of my boxes – if I’d known earlier, I certainly wouldn’t have left it so long before opening this door.

“If we address stories as archaeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, us and them, mundane and magical. It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E Harrow

As the ward of a wealthy collector, January is locked away with her guardian’s extensive and exotic treasure trove in his vast mansion. Her gilded cage, that is, until she stumbles upon a strange book that shakes her limited understanding of the world. And not just the one she knows, but many, many more – worlds of danger and discovery and adventure.

There was no room, it turned out, for little girls who wandered off the edge of the map and told the truth about the mad, impossible things they found there.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E Harrow

Alix E Harrow’s writing managed to be both clever and sumptuous without slipping into pretentiousness, all wrapped up in a gorgeous cover – the greyscale image on my Kindle doesn’t do it justice. And when considering what to include in the image for this post, I realised the house we live in has such boring doors. A flat, white surface cannot convey the wonder and excitement of stepping through a door into another world. Instead, a background brimming with doors to other worlds – in other words: a bookshelf – seemed more appropriate.

It seemed to me I’d always wanted those things, since I was a little girl scribbling stories in her pocket diary, but I’d abandoned such fanciful dreams with my childhood. Except it turned out I hadn’t really abandoned them but merely forgotten them, let them settle to the bottom of me like fallen leaves. And then The Ten Thousand Doors had come along and swirled them into the air again, a riot of impossible dreams.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E Harrow
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