Buddy Reads & Rants: The Ten Thousand Doors of January (Jonny Pongratz and Iseult Murphy)
Hello Blogging World!
Iseult: I’m Iseult, parallel universe traveler extraordinaire!
Jonny : And I’m Jonny, lover of everything fantasy and scifi. Iseult writes some awesome horror fiction and just released a sequel to her 7 Days in Hell. Check it out here!
This buddy read and rant is for The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow.
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.
Buddy Read Book Rant:
Jonny: Hey Iseult. Um, so I have to ask, what was that book? It was such a mess for me! Did you enjoy it at all?
Iseult: I’m not sure, Jonny. All I know is that the more I read, the less I liked it. It started off ok, with 7 year old January finding a door to another world, but that was the highlight for me.
Jonny: Yeah, I felt the same way. It did start off intriguing with a young January finding the door. I kind of wished she would’ve explored that place. Maybe the entire book would’ve been different. There wasn’t alot that I liked, but the concept seemed really cool. I mean, doors to parallel worlds? That got me excited but unfortunately the book wasn’t really focused on that and that killed the experience for me.
Iseult: Yeah, same for me. I love portal fantasies and I thought this was going to be a good one, but I was so disappointed that the Ten Thousand Doors was a BOOK that she read and it wasn’t even an interesting book.
It seems to me that this was the story of Ade and Yule Ian and I don’t understand why the author didn’t tell their story rather than write it as a book within a book.
Jonny: Exactly! It’s just a book about her parents’ journeys, which were actually much more interesting than January’s. Speaking of which, I didn’t care for January very much. I found her extremely whiney and self-pitying throughout the book. She always seemed very meek, even after the author tries to portray that she’s found some kind of a groove. And let us not forget that she had AMPLE opportunities to escape and simply made decision after terrible decision that she only had herself to blame for. I just didn’t develop any respect for her.
Iseult: I couldn’t get a feel for January. She didn’t seem adventurous or shy, despite her telling us she was both. I didn’t get the impression she cared for anyone, despite her telling us she did. She seemed very self obsessed and arrogant. I also didn’t get her obsession with her parents. For someone who called herself an in-between girl, she didn’t develop any of the self reliance and independence that I’d expect from such a person. She also seemed very unintelligent.
I didn’t think any of the characters were well drawn though. They all seemed very one dimensional to me. Jane is supposed to be this warrior woman, but when they’re threatened she is pathetic.
Jonny: Yeah, she really did fall flat, and I especially disliked her father. There was a point in the book where he tried to explain his actions of just abandoning her, but it made no sense and reinforced my belief that he was a terrible father to her. And she just accepts it!
But back to January’s POV, I have to say what really killed it for me was all of the purple prose. My god, I have never seen so much in a book. I’m glad I rented this at the library or I would’ve thrown the book against the wall by now or worse. Every scene dragged out because January had to constantly talk about her feelings, but then when it came to acting on her thoughts, she was a wilting flower who caved under the pressure time and time again. I could never quite get into the book because of all the useless flowery prose clogging the pages.
Iseult: I think language was the focus of this book. It took precedence over plot and character. Every little detail had to be described. Every word on the English language had to be used and repeated. I found it very irritating. Very little happens in this book when you strip away all the purple prose.
Did the antagonists annoy you as much as they did me? Wiley E Coyote had more character development than them. At one point a villain finds January and co in a remote cabin. How did they get there? There was no carriage or car. Why did he come alone? What about his henchmen? They were all so stupid.
Jonny: Oh, I believe it! Although I am curious why this author put so much importance on that when clearly you should be concerned with the core of a story, the characters and plot. To me it was at least 50% purple prose, which is completely unacceptable. I skimmed through the last half of the book pretty regularly. Once I saw purple prose I skipped til something actually happened. When I did that the story moved extremely quickly.
Haha, yes they did. Mr. Locke and Havemeyer’s actions were suspect here and there, especially the event you brought up with Havemeyer and the cabin. He just shows up out of nowhere with no way or knowing where they were. It just made no sense.
Iseult: I think you’re being generous putting the purple prose percentage at 50. I’d say it was more like 70%.
Yes! They didn’t make sense.
Jonny: You may be correct on that one. Well I’m really sorry this book didn’t work out for us, but at least we could agree on why we didn’t enjoy it.
Great minds think alike!
Looking forward to our next bookish adventure, friend. 🙂
Iseult: Me too! Thank you, Jonny. I hate not to finish a book, but I came very close to giving up on this one and I only kept on going because I was going through the torment with you.
Jonny: Oh, me too! But I just kept thinking “if Iseult can do it, you can.” We are troopers for seeing this one through!
Iseult: We are!
That’s A Wrap!
Thanks for joining us on our buddy read and rant of The Ten Thousand Doors of January! We had a lot of fun, and hope you did too! We will definitely be doing some more buddy reads in the future, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, why not check out Iseult and Jonny’s other fun buddy reads?
Buddy Read & Rant: Until Summer Comes Around
Buddy Read & Rant: The Upheaval
Buddy Read & Rant: Thornhill
Buddy Read & Rant: Shutter
Buddy Read & Rant: Small Spaces
Buddy Read & Rant: Dead Voices
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Whoa, I can’t believe how much you two agree on every point. Well, it just was not the right book for either of you! I am not so much disappointed by purple prose as I am by a tease of, then non delivery of, portal fantasy worlds.
Haha, I know right? We do have similar irks with our other buddy reads, but I feel like we were truly on the same wavelength with our feelings on this one.
Yeah, the purple prose just clogged things up, but the absence of the awe and majesty of portal fantasy world adventures just made me sad. I really wanted to take that journey.