Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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September 26, 2019

Oh my goodness gracious, this book.

This was the portal fantasy I didn’t know I needed.

The narrator of the of Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January is the titular January Scaller. SHe grew up as the ward of the mysterious Mr. Locke, in his mansion and amongst his collected curiosities. January herself is a bit of a curiosity, with her odd-colored skin and eyes. Her father, Julian, works for Mr. Locke and is only intermittently part of January’s life. When January is a young girl, she discovers a Door which leads to another world and from that moment on, the course of her life is changed forever.

I don’t want to give too much away, because a large part of the delight of this book was peeling away the layers and falling deeper into the world that Harrow has so skillfully constructed. She examines so many complex ideas through the vehicle of January (looking forward and backwards as her namesake, Janus): privilege, race, colonialism, class, community–power.

And most of all, family.

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