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

This may not be the first blog tour I have taken part in; it is certainly not the first Blog Tour I have published on the blog but this one has a special place in my heart. The Ten Thousand Doors of January was one of the first tours I signed up for; thank you Tracy Fenton! It was also the first very first book I was lucky enough to receive in exchange for a review.

So this book was always going to be a little bit special, and that was before I had even got past the excitement of the truly gorgeous cover. The premise of this book was so intriguing. As a child I was never happier diving in to a book, especially a book that took me into strange, magical words. I read and reread Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood books until the covers fell off. The books were only saved from complete destruction by my discovery of C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

So the idea of The Ten Thousand Doors, to Ten Thousand World was a tale too good to miss…

This is the story of January Scaller. At the beginning of the 2oth Century she is living as the ward of the engimatic, mysterious and wealthy Cornelius Locke. Her father is employed by Mr Locke to travel the world collecting treasures and curios, strange and exotic. January is left, well cared for but lonely amongst a large and curious colletion of artefacts. With her dark skin and enquring mind January feels equally out of place. She accepts Locke’s kindness but is forever questioning her place in his house and the wider world.

Locke lives a strange life. As a member of a strange and secret society his obsession with the usual seems to extend to every area of his life. He holdS January close; her social circle is limited to the local grocers boy Sam, a rather dry governess, and later a loyal but quite terrifying dog.

Her childhood is one of disjointed discoveries about the world around her and herself, including the revelation that she can conjure other worlds through writing…

Hooked yet? It gets better…

Then,one day, out of the blue, Jane arrives. Powerful, unconventional she is a lifeline for January. She claims to have been sent by Jane’s father and there is an immediate connection. When her father disappears and January refuses to accept Mr Locke’s certainty that he is dead, her sheltered life at Locke Hall is comes to and abrupt end and her own adventures begin.

The discovery of a strange book and the power within its pages throws January on to a quest into the mysteries of the world around her and the hidden details of her past.

Just how many doors are there open in this world? Where do they lead and why are so many people associated with Mr Locke so keen to close them?

Here is a story which celebrates the power of words, the power of books and the power of the unknown, a power which can take us beyond ourselves. It is multilayered, a feast of stories within stories. It is a study of how the fear of the unknown has the power to destroy possiblities and how a mind that refuses to open will stifle and threaten change and beauty.

The doors within the book represent this kind of change and the drive to shut them is seen as way of maintaining stability and keeping power and knowledge in selective hands, often at the expense of what is right and true.

There is a focus on the complexity of relationships both within families, through the need to understand and embrace our heritage and through the realisation that those closest to us don’t always operate in our best interests.

This novel almost defies description and definition. It is so many things; it is an adventure, a fantasy, a beautiful love story but also, importantly, a social commentary. In a time when the world seems to be shutting doors, feeding fear and is intent on putting up walls, this novel is an antidote to small minds and insular thinking.

And there is more…

For more reaction and reviews to The Ten Thousand Doors Of January check out the rest of the tour…

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