This book. Was. Phenomenal. I’m always a bit nervous reading books I’ve heard a lot about but all the hype did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm about this one. I loved the writing, the characters, and just everything about this book. Everything. And I feel intimidated writing a review because anything I write pales in comparison to the book itself… you know what I mean?
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.
Pretty much everything. But I guess I should spell it out.
The characters were the main reason I loved this book so much. The main character January had a wild, curious and adventurous soul but she was forced to be a good girl by Mr. Locke, a rich man who had taken her in his wing. Meanwhile her father was running mysterious errands for Mr. Locke and only returned to see her once every year, if even. January grew up polite, and very lonely. Except she knew something was out there because she’d seen it—a door to a mysterious place.
Besides the main character, I also loved the other characters who accompanied and inspired January on her journey.
This was a story about stories and the power of words, and I loved that. As a reader and a writer so much of the theme of this book resonated with me.
Speaking of words, I loved the lyrical and whimsical prose that made me laugh at times and also pulled at my heartstrings. I often found myself reading a favourite line over and over again, hoping to carve it into my memory forever. I really loved how the author found such creative words to describe people and objects and states of the mind.
The plot held nothing back. I loved how every obstacle was thrown into the characters’ way, and I held on, wondering how January and her friends were going to survive.
The story was beautiful. I don’t know how else to put it. It was one of the books that lingered with me after the last page, in which the characters and the world stuck in my mind, and I didn’t want to start another book right away because I just want to stay in this one a bit longer. Yup it gave me a bookish hangover.
If anything, the plot took a while to get rolling but this might just be a quirk of mine since I love quick, snappy hooks that entice me right away. But really I ended up loving the characters right away, and by the end of the first chapter, I knew I was going to finish this book (And I am a DNF’er so I can’t say that about every book). But by the time I reached the halfway point, I was hooked, and I finished the last third of the book all in one sitting.
It’s kind of funny that I read The ten thousand doors of January in the month of January, but I already know that it’ll be on my list of favourites this year. If you love a good fantasy (think the Night Circus and Studio Ghibli) then I think you’ll love this one.
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
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