The Captain’s Log – the ten thousand doors of january (Alix E. Harrow)

Ahoy there me mateys! I am catching up with the rest of the crew who has been reviewing this book all over the place.  I loved this author’s Hugo winning short story “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018).  Ye can read the story for free.  I really did enjoy this full length novel even though I did have some quibbles about it.  I am not going to go into the plot summary here though the blurb appears later in the post for those who wish to read it.

Things I Loved:

  • the doors:  I loved the idea of tracking down new worlds through myths.  Awesome.  I also loved where they were and how they opened and closed.  The through-line of the doors was the best part of the book.
  • the main character, January:  I enjoyed January as a character and especially how she grows into her own being during the course of the novel.  I particularly liked her adult way of facing hardship and pain towards the later parts of the book.
  • the writing:  I thought a lot of the writing was very beautiful and there were some very lovely turns of phrase.
  • magic:  I loved the magic in the world whether from cool artifacts or abilities of people.  I loved the word magic most of all.
  • the dog:  I was glad that January got to keep him and how sweet their relationship was.
  • the ending.

Things I Didn’t Love:

  • the doors: I didn’t get enough description of what the worlds were like through the doors.  Lots of tantalizing hints but no real specifics besides one world.
  • the main character, January:  While I liked her growth, I thought that too much of the book showcased her passive side and angst.  I would have liked her to have found agency much sooner.
  • the writing:  While I loved the writing overall, I didn’t love a lot of the framing of the story and how it evolved.  It felt choppy to me and the story bounced around in time a bit too much.
  • magic:  I wanted more!  Though I did dislike the main villain’s powers.
  • pace: It took a while for me to get into the story at the beginning.  It didn’t really capture me fancy until about 50%.  The pace never really sped up and this led to some disconnect with both the plot and characters.
  • secondary characters:  While I loved the idea of Jane specifically, I did not feel that any of these characters were well-rounded or really understood.  They seemed to have no lives outside of their interactions with January.

I could write more but it seems that I am in the minority on this one.  Seriously all the reviews I have seen are 4 or 5 stars.  I am glad I read it and I actually wouldn’t mind another book set in a different Door.  I guess I had higher expectations for this overall.  Arrrr!

Goodreads had this to say about the novel:

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery 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.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Alix E. Harrow – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the ten thousand doors of january – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

23 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – the ten thousand doors of january (Alix E. Harrow)

    1. It’s okay if ye haven’t stopped in for a bit. I mean as much as I want all of me reviews to be mandatory reading for the crew, I do need ye scalawags to be having other adventures outside of mine so I can hear about other reading treasures. Glad to see ye though. I love yer comments when I get them.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah but I have bloggers I really do like to stay up to date on and you’re one of them! It’s frustrating feeling like I haven’t had time to catch up with everyone or even maintain my own blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That I be a blogger in that category makes me smile! I am always behind on reviews and catching up to comments. I kinda hate me own rule of having to review everything I finish. Plus I write many reviews for the books I abandon too. I am always glad I did afterwards. Even if they just be mini-reviews. I follow over 200 blogs and keep wanting to cut back but can’t. It could be a full time unpaid job to keep up with it all.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I get what you mean about the main character’s agency. I think it was a tough balance in this one because of the book within a book thing took up so much time in the beginning of the story. Glad you really liked this one though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Cap. This is one that somehow slipped past me, but I note your reservations. If it is truly a debut novel, it sounds an extremely ambitious one. No wonder there are some structural issues… Would you read another book by her, do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was very ambitious and I did enjoy it. A lot of the crew adored the structure. I am the odd one out here. I would certainly read more of the author’s work because there was so much I loved of this book. I think this is more of the case of me just wanting the plot to go in a different direction.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoy that some of the things you like are things you had issues with. I’ve seen everyone raving about this too. I feel like it’s getting a lot of hype in the wake of the McGuire Wayward Children series.


  4. I’ve heard one other reviewer complain that there weren’t enough doors in this book with “ten thousand doors” in the title. I hadn’t realized it was a debut novel, though. I think I’ll go check out the short story, though!


    1. Hardy har har! I am sorry we be messin’ with yer expectations. I was glad I didn’t pay money for this one. Again good things in there just not the end all be all. But then again I am persnickety and so tend to be in the minority for lots of things. I hope that ye love it should ye chose to proceed.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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