The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow

Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: abandonment, time travel.

Goodreads Rating: 2 Stars


I was so excited to hear about this novel and it’s debut Kentucky author, Alix Harrow. I love magical realism, so I was positive this book was going to be one for me. I bought a copy of the audiobook with an Audible credit, and started to give it a listen.

Unfortunately, as the narrator began, I struggled to keep focus on where the thread of the plot was going. Every time I thought I was finally piecing together the story, I would lose focus again, or become confused. Thankfully, I’ve got friends in high places (ie. those with extensive bookshelves (cough*Megan*cough) and I sent out an SOS on getting a physical copy to read. I hoped that by changing mediums, I would be able to understand the beauty that others have seen in The Ten Thousand Doors of January.


Unfortunately, it did not. I started reading from where I left off in the audiobook, and then backtracked to make sure I understood what I was reading. However, as I finally started to get into the story, I’d come to the end of the chapter and get completely lost as the next one began. To me, the writing didn’t flow from one chapter to the next. Although I’d enjoy the musicality in the writing style, it made it difficult to follow the plot along.

What I pieced together:

  • January is a single child of a businessman who often leaves her behind with caretakers, and her dog Sinbad. He named her after Janus, the mythological god of portals.
  • She is a POC who lived in Kentucky and Vermont, but I can’t honestly place where she ended up.
  • She finds a book, The Ten Thousand Doors, and this is supposedly related to the portals?

Yeah. I made it 100 pages into the 374 total, and apparently, despite all the things that should make it the perfect read for me…it is not. However, I know I am of the minority here, so please let me know your thoughts in the comments on what made you connect with this book.

Published: September 10, 2019

Publisher: Redhook

TL/DR:  The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow is a magical realism novel about a young girl and her ability to travel to different worlds through doors.

Read it? Yes- I may not have been able to, but I know many have loved and enjoyed the read.

Recommend it? I would certainly recommend it to support a local author, or for those who enjoy magical realism/ fantasy/ historical fantasy.

Buy it? I would say borrow it or listen to it first, then purchase- unless you want to support the local author. The cover is stunning though!



Categories: Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Kentucky Reads, Magical Realism, Vermont Reads

Tags: , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. This was a dnf for me for the reasons you mentioned. Plus I’m not that into magical realism. I wasn’t very engaged by the time I hit the story within a story and I didn’t want to put in more effort to get into the second story. Also I had Girl With the Louding Voice waiting for me and I was dying to get to it! So many have loved it that I feel very much an outlier.

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