Length: 369 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Publisher: Redhook Books/Orbit Books
Date of Publication: 10th September, 2019
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I was intrigued by this book ever since it was published. A book within a book, a book about stories and the power of words is a book lover’s dream! So when a friend gifted it to me unexpectedly, I was very excited! The lockdown gave me the perfect opportunity to binge read it.
“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.“
The book is set in the early 1900s, a time, as the author describes it, at the cusp of change. Where the strife and revolutions of the previous century have calmed down and the great industrial revolution has just begun. People are getting used to the peace and will do anything to ensure that nothing disturbs it again. But how far is too far? January finds that there are people who would rip the world apart in order to maintain what they think is progress.
On the outside, January Scaller’s life is what young girls dream about. She lives in a big house with people to look after her every need, she goes on first-class travel to exotic places, she wears pretty dresses and attends fancy parties. But only January knows that she is a bird living in a gilded cage. She longs to fly away on adventures but most of all she wishes to have her father with her for more than a couple of days a year. She thinks that her wishes are partially fulfilled when she finds a book that describes adventures in parallel worlds and people writing words powerful enough to turn them into reality. What she doesn’t know is that her wish for gory adventures is too close for comfort. She is hunted by unknown assailants while she goes on a quest to find her missing father and to preserve the mysteries of the world.
The book could be read as a cautionary tale in the power of words. What is written cannot be unwritten and that we should believe what we put into words. I loved how the author described a child’s longing to belong to a place and to have a family of her own. The love-hate that she feels for Mr. Locke was very real. It underlines the fact that children inadvertently think that the person who feeds and clothes them is good. They don’t recognise abuse or neglect in the hands of their primary care-giver. The struggle of a wild and free soul trying to conform to society’s expectations of a demure young girl was sad to see while the love and camaraderie between January and Bad were beautiful. My favorites were the parts with Samuel in them. He turns into exactly the kind of friend that January needs at every stage in her life.
It was wonderful to see January grow from a protected little girl to a young woman who makes tough decisions and goes after what she wants no matter what the cost. I was glad that the author introduced strong female role models like Jane and Ade who follow their hearts. Although I did see the ending coming, I loved how the author connected all parts of the story to one another, weaving in different perspectives to give us the whole story. My only problem with the book was that it was a bit slow, especially the chapters written by Yule Ian. It had the potential of being an amazing fantasy adventure and given that it was the author’s first book, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
Alix has been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. She has lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon. She has library cards in at least five states.
Now she is a full-time writer living in with her husband and two kids in Berea, Kentucky. Ten Thousand Doors of January is her debut novel
TL;DR: A book that had the potential to be amazing if it was a bit fast paced
Have you read books that are books within books or stories within stories?
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