Fantasy, Low Fantasy
Alix E. Harrow
September 10th 2019
June 5, 2021 June 13, 2021
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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.
About the book
1900s, early years, there is a special house in Vermont with so many treasures that they don’t seem of this world. January’s father works for Mr. Locke, a somewhat eccentric collector and she lives in his house. At the age of seven, January finds a door that leads to a parallel world. Our world is full of these doors and January quickly realises that these doors can explain her birth. In fact she is orphaned of a mother or so she thinks. When she finds a little book she realises that she has to find out the truth especially after her father has gone missing.
The chapters are often long, but each chapter has several scenes that are well separated from each other so you can stop even in the middle of a chapter. Chapters narrated by January alternate (more or less) with chapters in which the girl reads the book she finds entitled as out book: “the ten thousand doors”.
There are endless descriptions, often repetitive and the chapters from the book she reads, are endless essays on doors or endless descriptions. This bored me a lot.
What I think
I’m not sure how to grade this book. Because the beginning is very slow, almost nothing happens and it is boring, especially the chapters dedicated to January’s book. This book, also titled the ten thousand doors, is a series of chapters that explain the doors and already by the second chapter (of the book she reads, not the real book) I was bored to death.
I also don’t know what grade to give because even if the story makes sense, because it gives an explanation to those phenomena that don’t really exist but are often present in books, I don’t like the topic. That is, without making spoilers and therefore only those who have read the book can understand this next sentence, I don’t like who Havemeyer is because I don’t like the stories on that theme.
On the other hand I still liked how it resolved. I liked the fact that the doors could be used for that purpose and I also understand why the antagonist does what he does. For this reason I still gave a positive vote because from the middle of the book onward (perhaps since the chapters of the book in the book are finished) I started to like it and I wanted the protagonist to succeed in her intent.
The characters are quite two-dimensional and often boring, January is first a child, then a girl who feels marginalised because her skin is not as white as milk. And you understand why during the book.
I may sympathise with Mr. Locke but in the end he is not a memorable villain and his whole society is not very convincing either.
I think the only good character is the dog.
Despite everything, I think I would recommend the book. I don’t think all this hype behind it is right, but that’s just my opinion.