Hello beautiful people!
So … I accidentally posted this earlier this week … without having Alex’s answers. HENCE why this post might look familiar ha-ha! Any who …
Back in the summer of 2019, I pre-ordered The Uniquely Bookish Box for October 2019 … and it was a GREAT DECISION! There were so many amazing bookish items inside … all of which I currently use or have already used up (I desperately need more candles). The book in this box was The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, a fantasy historical fiction full of magical doorways and grand adventures!
I was kind of nervous to read it, since the hype was so high … but Alex @ The Paperback Piano mentioned she would totally buddy read this with me, so we gave it a shot. AND THANK GOSH!
Thank you once again Alex for being so patient with me with this buddy read! I had such a great time reading this with you, especially since it pushed me to give it a chance.
For more information on the buddy reading system, please visit the following page — How To: Buddy Reads || Buddy Read Discussion.
Buddy Read Partner
Alex @ The Paperback Piano: “Hello lovelies! Thanks so much for paying my blog a visit. My name is Alex. I am a twenty-something psychology graduate with a huge weakness for books. I currently work as a support worker for children and young adults with severe learning difficulties and mental illnesses, and my ultimate goal is to become a play therapist. I have my own mental health battles and reading is my escapism, helping me cope with life’s ups and downs. My rainbow bookshelves are overflowing but I have no intention of cutting down anytime soon! I also enjoy crafting, going to the gym, and of course, playing my piano” (About Page).
Alex is a lovely blogger, someone I’ve been following since back when I first started this little ol’ blog of mine! She’s friendly and full of positive vibes, making everyone feel welcomed! Her posts are also wonderful to read, full of information and engaging!
Q1. Who was your favourite character in the novel?
Alex: “Is it cliché to say January? I just feel like she was such a great heroine. She faced so many obstacles and she always showed such courage and strength, never giving up in her quest. She’s definitely the kind of character I want to be reading about. I also really liked Samuel; he was such a kind and pure soul, and he was always there when he was needed. He’s the good egg, cinnamon roll character I always love in a book.”
Jenna: “It’s a tie between Bad and Jane. As an animal lover, I feel as though loving Bad (January’s amazing canine companion) is an obvious one. But it’s not just because he’s a dog … he symbolizes the love and companionship and loyalty January was missing in her life until Bad came into her life. Then there’s Jane, this amazingly strong and independent woman who doesn’t let anymore push her around. She’s a pretty good role-model, showing to not let people get to you or dictate your life even though they think they can. She’s a black woman in the early 1900’s, so there’s a lot of garbage she has to deal with. But she doesn’t let if phase her … I just love it.”
Q2. If you could find a door to a magical world, where would it go?
Alex: “I could give numerous soppy answers for this question but I don’t want to get too deep haha. However, I would love to find some kind of mystical Tolkien-esque world where creatures like dragons exist and magic is real. This book filled me with that childish sense of wonder and reminded me what it’s like to believe in miracles; it would be amazing to actually find a world like that.”
Jenna: “Probably somewhere similar to Middle Earth, full of magic and mythical beings. I’d want to visit the Shire and the elven cities. OH! Okay … I don’t want to spoil it, but there’s a VERY important door in The Ten Thousand Doors of January (the blue door, I think … you’ll know what I mean) that leads to a place surrounded by water … I want to go there.”
Q3. Though this is predominantly a fantasy novel, Harrow’s story also falls under historical fiction. Did you find Harrow portrayed the time period accurately?
Alex: “I loved Harrow’s portrayal of the time period and thought she did really well at conveying the difficulties faced by women and people of colour. Harrow definitely elicited a range of emotions from me on the subject! I think that the choice of time period will make this book appeal to a wider audience; it has that wonderful old-world feel that many readers will love. I thought it was really clever of Harrow to ground her book in reality, making the possibility of stumbling upon a Door seem even more magical; it didn’t feel far-fetched or impossible to believe because everything else was so realistic.”
Jenna: “As someone that has a BIT of a history background (but not overly extensive), I found her attention to detail regarding the time period was spot on! From the clothing to the way people were treated with regards to social standards, Harrow really brought to life our world in the early 1900’s. She even references certain events very matter-of-fact like from the MC’s point of view, showing that they don’t really know what’s to come in the next couple of years but alludes to what we know comes later on in the 1900’s. It was hard a times, since women and those of colour were treated so poorly. But I’m glad she depicted it accurately yet didn’t make it as though these characters would let the world degrade them.”
Q4. From awards to reviews, The Ten Thousand Doors of January has been rising in popularity and has received a number of fans from a wide number of genre preferences. What do you think makes this book so much more different than other fantasy novels?
Alex: “It’s a book that defies boundaries. It isn’t just one thing. It isn’t written solely for one age group, it doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, and it doesn’t prioritise plot over characters or vice versa – everything is given equal weight. I think it’s rare that a book is able to accomplish something like that. Also, as I already mentioned, this book triggers that nostalgic feeling in its readers, that longing to chase adventure and find magic around every corner. It’s a special one, for sure.”
Jenna: “I think it’s because she caters to a wide audience both in genre and in writing elements. In library school, we learned about the four main types of readers: character, setting, story and language oriented readers. Most books tend to focus on one of these elements, possibly two, more than the other ones. But Harrow managed to equally balance ALL of these elements in order to draw a larger number of readers in … which is quite the talent! There’s also a large part of me that believes, as much as we see the purpose and joy of technology, many of us have this affinity and love for the simplicity of non-technology days … with technology being able to prove and disprove so many things, it sometimes leaves little room for the beauty of believing in things like magic and parallel worlds. With Harrows story reflecting our world so accurately in the 1900’s but with the added touch of fantasy, it makes you feel as though magic really COULD exist … that Doors are a real thing.”
Want to participate in a buddy read?
If you’d like to participate in a buddy read, simply message me by clicking the Contact tab on my website. If you have a particular book in mind, make sure to leave that in the request. If you aren’t sure of a book, that’s okay! Either say you’re up for anything or check out my Want To Read shelf on Goodreads to see if there’s something we both have on our TBR!