The Ten Thousand Doors of January

By Alix E. Harrow,

Book cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Book description

"A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers, and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting."—Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice and Lost Boys

LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER! Finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked The Ten Thousand Doors of January as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Magical doors that appear out of nowhere, a fantastical book that may not be fiction, some truly sketchy villains, a quest, and an intrepid heroine.

The author had me at fantastical book, but what I love about this novel is the world and character building, that feeling of opening the cover and being somewhere that has nothing to do with ordinary life.

And yet, there is mystery. And romance. A lost father. A daring daughter. You’ll want to race through it, but slow down at the same time, just to savor the ride.

Most people I know have already read the classics of portal fantasy—The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Tunnel in the Sky, John Carter of Mars.

But few have read the new breed of portal fantasy novelists—and let me tell, they are phenomenal.

Starting with this story by Alix E. Harrow which so skillfully takes characters from the same time period as the classics—the early- to mid-1900s—and masterfully weaves them into adventures that take readers in a new direction.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January has everything you love about The Chronicles of Narnia. A…

This captivating tale reeled me in with its quiet descriptions and its nineteenth-century American setting. Everything felt charming and peaceful, but there was an undercurrent of a truly disturbing mystery throughout that kept me flipping pages. The plot had several turns which took me by surprise, and some which did not, but whether or not you’re surprised by the twists, you will be one hundred percent delighted with the world and the romantic elements throughout.

Alix Harrow’s writing in The Ten Thousand Doors of January is as beautiful as the cover. This book was a finalist for several awards, including the Hugo and Nebula, and for good reason. The main character’s name is January–hence the title. January struggles against an antagonist who wants to prevent her from opening the magical doors she finds, undermines her confidence, and eventually has her committed to an institution. This will resonate with many young readers struggling to find their identity and take control of their own powers–and lives. The different worlds beyond January’s doors will delight the imagination and…

From Katie's list on with parallel worlds.

What struck me first was the author’s language. It’s fresh and sometimes freefalling as it depicts a young girl’s stark reality and complex inner world. This book has the markings of a number of my favorite books: themes of love, identity, family, alternate worlds, redemption, the healing power of stories, and imagination. It may move too slowly for some, but I appreciate the carefully wrought coming of age journey where protagonist, January Scaller, grows through limitations and emotional challenges thrust upon her. 

Thousands of magical worlds all wrapped into one. The hero of this story is from a world where words have real power and she is able to make things true by writing them. What writer wouldn’t love that concept? It’s hard to read this and not be dreaming of the things I would write into reality if I could.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is my newest favorite portal book, a historical fantasy that explores what it means to open doors, and what effect the strange and new have on the seemingly settled world of our everyday. I love this book for January’s bold, lyrical voice and for its vision of a world that dies without the vibrance of new ideas and open doors. 

From Adina's list on literary fantasies for young adults.

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