A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow – Review

Published: October 5, 2021

Publisher: Tordotcom

Series: Fractured Fables #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 128 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
USA Today
 bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story.


It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.

Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.


YOU GUYS! I have never loved a novella as much as I loved this one! It’s a little dark, a little hopeful, and has ten tons of snark. I picked it up and stayed glued to my couch for about an hour and a half while my eyeballs devoured it (such imagery!). 

Zinnia Gray has just turned twenty-one and expects any day to be her last because she’s nearing the term limit on her life. No one else who has this disease has lived past the ripe old age of twenty-one, so she’s basically set a record. In honor of her birthday, her best friend Charm throws her a Sleeping Beauty themed party replete with booze, cheap princess crowns, and an honest to god spinning wheel. Zinnia of course touches the needle and wakes up in another world with another version of Sleeping Beauty who was about to touch her own cursed spinning wheel needle. 

Zinnia and Prim, the other cursed princess, set off on a hastily put together journey to threaten/kill/maim the evil fairy who cursed Prim so she removes Prim’s curse (and hopefully Zinnia’s as well). It’s a short journey, but it works since this is a bit of a rush job anyway. Prim starts to wander off each time she sleeps in search of her fate, Zinnia can’t really ride a horse, and she’s also dying a bit more rapidly since she’s out of meds. They’re a hot mess.

Despite its short length I loved this book immensely. The characters are the most badass group of heroines fighting their fates down to their last breath and/or waking moments. There’s a sequel scheduled for release next year and I am sooooo excited to see where this story goes!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – Review

Cover- The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Published: September 10, 2019

Publisher: Redhook

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

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.


Hands down, The Ten Thousand Doors of January has been one of the most anticipated debut fantasy novels of 2019 and for good reason. It’s a beautiful portal fantasy set in the early 20th century that has certainly lived up to the hype – lovely both inside and out.

January Scaller doesn’t quite fit in anywhere in society – people are unsure of her race, her place in society, and even her guardian can’t seem to figure out what to do with a child. Her father is abroad more often than not searching out unique treasures for his employer (and January’s guardian) Mr. Locke while January is left in the manor that’s full of treasure and devoid of human companionship. January and her father grow more distant throughout the years as he misses birthday and holidays and eventually the postcards stop and he’s assumed dead. January, aware of the portals that exist and having come into possession of a certain book telling the story of a boy from another world named Yule Ian Scholar and a Missouri girl named Ade, she doesn’t believe he’s dead. A series of events leads her to flee Mr. Locke with her dog with the idea of finding out whether or not her father was dead and possibly foiling a plot to destroy the doors between worlds.

This was such an interesting book, though it only had a bare touch of adventure. January herself is fairly reserved, after having molded herself to appear a proper lady to appease Mr. Locke. She just sort of exists and shows up to society events, though when her father sends a striking warrior woman named Jane to be her companion she begins to show a little more of the sprightliness she showed as a child. It was delightful to see her grow and embrace her hidden bravery as she faced struggles both mundane and otherwise. I do wish that we got to explore more of the doors more thoroughly as most were the merest intriguing description of icy worlds, jungle worlds etc.

Overall, The Ten Thousand Doors of January was a magical (though not overly so) story that I certainly enjoyed, though not as vehemently as the majority of the reviews I’ve read thus far. It was interesting, though not particularly thrilling up until the latter third of the book and then things got quite intense rather suddenly. I feel that this book is only a step above magical realism in terms of the fantastical elements included. So much of it is mundane (not in a bad way) and the magic is not as in your face as in many other fantasy books. Yes, there are doors to other worlds, but those who enter and exit aren’t all that fantastical – at least during the time the story is set. There are mentions of magical artifacts that were brought through to be used by those in January’s world and how people of the doorways can have interesting powers but it’s still pretty low key. This isn’t a smash em bash em fantasy where flames and lightning are being hurled, but one where people can be swayed by someone’s willpower and words can be shaped into new meanings. This was a lovely book with a bit of romance, a bit of adventure, and also ended up being somewhat of a coming of age tale as well.

Stacking the Shelves: 9/14/19

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you’ve added to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!


Received for Review:

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Orbit books really came through for me all at once and most of these books (unless otherwise specified) are courtesy of their awesome publicity team! Thank so much!

Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw

This has been one of my absolute favorite paranormal fantasy series and the grand finale has arrived! I’ve already read it, loved it, and now just have to review it!

Prudence by Gail Carriger

I really enjoy Gail Carriger’s books to put some lightness back into my reading list and this was no different. This is the first book in the Custard Protocol series following the daughter of Alexia Maccon and you can check out my review HERE.

Dark Forge by Miles Cameron

This is just a haul of epic, much awaited sequels! Dark Forge is the second book in the Masters and Mages trilogy and you just can’t go wrong with Miles Cameron.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

This was a surprise arrival earlier this week. I’ve actually had my eye on this book since it’s already out in ebook format but decided to wait since my TBR is already huge. I guess it was just meant to be.

Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

This is actually my current read and if you liked Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series, you should check this out too! Many thanks to Tor for the finished copy!

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A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

ABERCROMBIEEEEEE! I’ve already read this beauty and can’t wait to share a review soon! I love that this is a hardcover and it will look so epic on my shelves.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

I’ve seen stellar reviews for this book and can’t wait to check out some awesome portal fantasy! Also, that cover is just SO lovely, how could anyone resist?

The True Bastards by Jonathan French

I’m pretty stoked to have gotten an eARC of this one. I’m pretty excited to see how Fetching stacks up as both the new leader of the Bastards and the main character. Thanks to Crown for the eARC!

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

I almost keeled over when I actually got approved for an eARC of this! I almost NEVER get the YA books that I’m INCREDIBLY EXCITED about. I absolutely love the cover art for this and can’t wait to dig in after I get through the huge stack of September releases I’m drowning in! Thanks to Katherine Tegen books for the eARC!

My Purchases:

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A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

I admit, I love a book with a touch of fashionable flair as part of the plot, but I’m honestly not sure this will be a winner. I received this in my August Bookish Box subscription and it’s not something I would have picked up on my own, though I may be surprised and really enjoy it!

I also picked up these really lovely little Wordsworth Edition classics. I got The Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, Black Beauty, and A Christmas Carol.

And lastly, my audiobook purchases over the last month. I picked up Murder Theory, which is the third book in The Naturalist series, Quill by A.C. Cobble which is a mystery type book that very much reminds me of the show Carnival Row (at first), and The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang, which is my current read.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January sounds like the most spectacular portal fantasy EVER (slight exaggeration?). January found a door to Elsewhere during her childhood and is once again reminded of it when she finds a mysterious book. This doesn’t come out until September, but it’s definitely a book that I’ll be making time to read as soon as I get it. It sounds fantastic and boy, isn’t that cover just lovely!?