The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow
September 10, 2019 by Redhook
I had zero expectations when I requested this book for review. The cover is what first drew me in and the blurb is what had me hitting the request button.
In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
This book felt like it took me days and days to read. Not that the page count is high or anything, but the story itself had such depth and the plot so many weird twists and turns I really had to pay attention. There is even a story within the story and a low-key romance between secondary characters that kind of took me by surprise by how invested I became.
The writing here is lush, and beautiful. This is a story of doors and imagination and possibilities. January Scaller finds a door when she is but a young girl living with her father’s employer, the mysterious Mr. Locke. That door is closed and January is scolded. It is forgotten until several years later when she finds a book that changes everything. Her view of the world, Mr. Locke, her parents, and how the world is put together. Doors suddenly mean something new and fresh.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is not a fast paced, quick read, but it is filled to the brim with imagination, whimsy, and the fantastical. It went to places I didn’t expect and following along with January as she learned about herself and her abilities was at times dark and chilling, but full of delight and satisfaction by the end.
I had so many quotes highlighted I’m sure I could fill this page with them, but I will only leave this one…
This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held. Cinnamon and coal smoke, catacombs and loam. Damp seaside evenings, and sweat-slick noontimes beneath palm fronds. It smelled as if it had been in the mail for longer than any one parcel could be, circling the world for years and accumulating layers of smells like a tramp wearing too many clothes.
It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to fine wine, and splashed across each page.
But I’m stumbling ahead of myself. Stories are supposed to be told in order, with beginnings and middles and ends. I’m no scholar, but I know that much.
I enjoyed this book very much. If what I’ve mentioned so far hasn’t spurred you to one-click, I’d also like to add that there is a wonderfully protective, good dog named Sinbad who will steal your heart.
Final grade- B+
The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
September 3, 2019 by Simon Pulse
The Lady Rogue is very much an adventure story. Kind of like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft, but with a young woman racing across Eastern Europe searching for her father and a mysterious ring accompanied by her cute, but slightly self-absorbed ex-boyfriend.
The heroine of The Lady Rogue is Theodora Fox. Theo finds herself alone and penniless in Turkey after her chaperone abandons her and takes what is left of the traveler’s checks. Then suddenly her ex, Huck Gallagher, shows up a with a story about the search for a ring once owned by Vlad the Impaler and how her father sent him ahead to get her before disappearing.
What follows is quite an adventure with the smart, resourceful Theo armed with her father’s journal and a determination to find him. Huck is her sidekick and there is added tension as their previous relationship ended quite suddenly and with no resolution. But they are interesting together and they had some fun banter between them. They make a pretty good team.
This was an easy read. Interesting main protagonists, fiendish villains, murder, magic, mystery, and adventure. Theo and Huck are great together and I would love to see them solving more mysteries together in the future.
Final Grade- B
What I’m reading this week: