The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle – A Review

Hi, Lovelies! It’s been a while.

I finished The Storm Keeper’s Island (as I was typing the title, I nearly wrote The Storm Island’s Keeper, which sheds a bit of light on how I’m feeling today) not too long ago and decided to write and post a review for it, because… that’s what I do?

The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle
  • Publication date: July 1st 2018
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet …

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn’s grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island’s next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

I have started this book when it first came out back in 2018 and, for some reason unknown to me, put it down and never picked it back up again. Until now. And it was everything I love about middle grade books.

The Storm Keeper’s Island is set in Ireland and follows Fionn as he goes to visit his grandfather, who lives on the island of Arranmore, for the first time with his older sister, Tara. As she abandons him for the friends she made the previous summer, Fionn spends a lot of his time with his grandad and learns the island is magical and his grandfather is the Storm Keeper – the protector of Arranmore. The blurb above makes more sense than my one, so just read that.

This book was absolutely delightful. The story was really fun and magical. I loved the setting – books set in Ireland and written by Irish authors feel strangely familiar and close to my heart, even though I’m not Irish (I have been living here for 12 years, though).

Fionn was a likable main character. Very unsure about himself and the trip to the island at the beginning, he develops greatly and finds his purpose. I loved the way his realtionship with his sister was tackled. Constant bickering and teasing is definetly something many can relate to, but it was also visible they both cared about each other. I enjoy the trope of an old grandad-like figure as a mentor (e.g. Dumbledore), and the relationship Fionn had with his grandad was incredible.

The Storm Keeper’s Island was such a quick read. Granted, it’s only 300 pages long, but it took me on a wild adventure and out of the current bleak reality. It was never dull or boring. I especially loved the magic in it, where memories can be trapped in candles.

I can’t wait to continue with the series and follow Fionn on his adventures. I honestly think book was amazing and more people, especially kids, should read it. It’s a story worth growing up with.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a fairly short one. Thanks for reading, I’ll talk to you soon!

The Poppy War by R.F Kuang – A Review

Hi! I’m back with yet another book review and this one’s a positive one. Let’s get into it.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • Publication date: May 1st 2018
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager
  • Genre: Fantasy

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

The Poppy War was probably the most hyped book of 2018, at least as far as I can remember. Everyone talked about it, and so as a fantasy lover I hastily added it to my tbr. I only got to it now, though, because with every glowing review I’ve seen about it I became more and more apprehensive. What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations? Spoiler alert – it did!

I think The Poppy War is a fantastic debut novel. It’s not without faults, obviously, but it makes for an exciting read. The plot is fast paced and the world building intricate and interesting. I’m no expert on the subject but it is clearly rooted in Chinese history, which for some might feel unimaginative, but personally I really enjoyed it.

The story follows Rin, an orphan raised by her aunt, who wants to marry her off to secure her own opium smuggling business. To escape the fate of an arranged marriage Rin trains to pass exams to get to an elite military school – Sinegard.

I’ll tell you right off the bat – the characters were the novel’s weakest point. Rin is not likeable, nor is she relatable, but not as a character one loves to hate, either. She’s whiny and annoying for the most part of the story, and too head strong for her own good. It changes slightly at the end of the book, and I much prefer the Rin turned villain from the last couple of chapters, as it adds depth to her character. The side characters started off great in the first part of the book, just to fall off the face of the Earth in the later parts and reappear as a plot device. This could be due to the novel being very much plot driven, or maybe it’s just not Kuang’s strongest point and something she’ll improve on with time.

The world building and the magic system were both rich and compelling. Some would say the story was a tad bit info dumpy, but I enjoyed every single history lesson we got. It made the story more interesting, and the military aspect a lot more digestible. I found the magic to be unique in the way opium was used to control it. I’m looking forward to learning more about it in the next two books, as there’s still some gaps that need to be filled in.

The pacing and tone of the 3 parts felt quite disjointed to me. I know it was done intentionally, and with every event the book was becoming darker, but I wish there was more connection between all three. Looking back, the start of the book felt like a completely different story – much in the vein of The Name of the Wind, and quite typical and tropey with Rin attending the academy, learning and excelling at everything, just to flip on its head and get incredibly grim and dark some pages later. It’s not something that bothered me greatly, though.

Overall, I’m really glad I picked up The Poppy War and after that ending, I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. I think despite it being Kunag’s first novel, she already found her voice and writing style and I’m curious as to what she is going to come out with next.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Have you read The Poppy War? What did you think about it?

Thank you for reading!

February Wrap Up

Hi! I’m a bit late with this post as we’re already 4 days into March! Honestly, where does the time go? I had a really good reading month in February, at least quantity wise, I’ve read 9 books and it’s the most I’ve read in a month in a looong while. Quality wise? Well, I haven’t had a proper 5 star read since the very first book I finished this year (not counting a comic I’ll mention below) so that’s not ideal.

  • Number of books read: 9
  • Number of pages read: 3452
  • Average star rating: 3.4

I’ve decided to add stats of the number of books on my physical TBR at the start of each month, how many books I’ve read from it and how many I’ve added to it.

  • TBR at the start of February: 63
  • Books added: 2
  • Books read: 4
  • Current TBR: 60
Birthday by Meredith Russo

This book has been on my radar for a couple of months, and when I realised my library had an ebook version of it, I decided to pick it up. Birthday is an own voices novel with a trans main character. It spans over 7 (?) birthdays and is told from the perspective of two best friends, Morgan and Eric. This book hurt me emotionally, as it deals with some difficult subjects. It’s gut wrenching and frustrating at times, but also lovely and hopeful. I think it’s an important read and a topic that should be discussed in YA more often.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I have a full review for this book here if you want to check it out. I don’t want to repeat myself, so I’ll make this short and sweet. I liked the way the story was told, though I think it limited the amount of info that could be conveyed (world building, magic etc.). The Name of the Wind was a really cosy read. I wanted a bit more from it, but I still really enjoyed it for what it was.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I buddy-read this with my boyfriend (it was my pick) and LOVED it. It was a great mix of sci-fi and mystery/thriller. Dark Matter deals with parallel universes and along with time travel, that’s my favourite kind of sci-fi, so I was hooked on it from the start. The story did take a while to unfold and I needed to wrap my head around what was going on, but it was the good type of confusing. And once it got going… oh my god, was it suspenseful and mind-blowing and just a good fucking time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power

First of all, can we please acknowledge how beautiful this cover is?! Okay, now that we’re all in agreement… This book was great. It was gory and atmospheric and gross and creepy. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed it – lately I’ve been disappointed with every hyped YA book out there. Also, it turns out horror is my genre. The ending wasn’t to my liking, though, so it wasn’t perfect, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Strange Planet by Nathan W Pyle

Here’s my one and only 5 star read of this month. My boyfriend got me this for Valentines and I read it slowly throughout a week or so. I’ve been obsessed with these comics since I found them on Twitter, and I think they’re just adorable and funny. I’ve nothing else to say, really.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

This one disappointed me immensely. I love Brandon Sanderson, but something about Warbreaker just didn’t work for me. If you want to read my full thoughts, a review can be found here. Ultimately, this read like a wannabe Sanderson book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
The Silent House by Nell Pattison

I hate rating arcs low, but it has to be done sometimes. The Silent House seemed like a book right up my alley, but ended up being a huge disappointment. It’s releasing tomorrow, so I will be posting a full review either later on today, or tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I have an issue with picking up books from my physical TBR (don’t ask me why, I have no clue), so as an incentive to read them instead of getting new books, I made a TBR jar. In February, my lucky pick was Fahrenheit 451. I’m sure if I didn’t force myself, I wouldn’t have read it for years, because I’m not that big on classics. I ended up really enjoying it, to my surprise! I’m sure I don’t need to summarise the book for any of you, I also don’t have anything profound to say about it. I enjoyed the writing and the message. I think it’s insane how valid and relatable it still is, 50 years later.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Lastly, I kind of set myself up for fail with this one. I don’t read self-help books, they’re not for me, I don’t enjoy them. Why did I pick this one up, so? Honestly, I have no idea. Partially because I’m an anxious person myself, partially because everyone raves about this book and also a bit because I liked Haig’s Humans. As I should’ve expected, I didn’t get anything out of it. I didn’t relate, as my anxiety is triggered by the news or social media. I also thought the solutions listed in the books were very cliched and targeted at a very specific demographic which I’m not part of, and nor are all the people I know who deal with anxiety on a daily basis.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

As you can see, February was a mixed bag. March has been much slower reading wise already, but according to my Goodreads, I’m 4 books ahead of schedule, so I’m trying not to stress myself out too much about it.

I won’t be posting a TBR for the month, as I’m trying to not restrict myself too much and read whatever I’m in the mood for.

How was your February? Let me know down in the comments! I’ll talk to you soon.

How I rate books – A Discussion

Hey, lovelies! I’m back to talk about my rating system and discuss how I come up with the ratings I give. I’ve been struggling recently with rating some books, especially those in the 4/5 star bracket, so I decided to rethink my whole system and I came up with one conclusion only – I started being ruthlessly strict and it’s damn hard to impress me.

Let’s start with 1 star and work our way up, shall we? (oh my god, I just discovered the possibility of marking a half star on the little rating below and I’m freaking out!)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I give those out very rarely. The book needs to be painfully bad, but have something in it to fuel my anger, so I actually finish it, and not chuck it into my slowly growing DNF pile – at least in the recent years. I love ranting, and 1 star rating is reserved for books that made me rant an ungodly amount. Currently I have 5 books on my Goodreads which I rated 1 star, and some of them are more of a 1.5 star.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Eragon and Throne of Glass belong in this category – books I thought were terrible and atrocious but had 1 tiny thing that had a potential to be good. I honestly don’t remember what it was for Eragon, as I have vague and bad memories when it comes to that book, but Throne of Glass had and ending that wouldn’t be half bad if the whole book before that didn’t suck, so I raised the rating a bit. I don’t know if you see the point I’m trying to make, so let’s just move on.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This category is much more populated. A 2 star book is a book that I liked the plot of, or the characters, and on the whole it could be a good story, but every other aspect fell a bit flat. It could also be the fact that it was an absolute snoozefest, even though the world building was quite good and the characters didn’t annoy the shit out of me. 2 star books don’t usually make me rage (with the exception of Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare), but if you asked me if I enjoyed them I would most definitely say no.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

2.5 stars books are very nearly passable, yet they’re not. They have a potential and it’s quite sizable, but they don’t quite reach it. In case of those books, there’s more than one thing I like about them but those aren’t enough for me to say I enjoyed the book. 2.5 stars are the most disappointing books, they’re the ones I COULD like, if done a bit differently.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

We have reached the “middle of the road” rating. Books I rate 3 stars are those I like just fine, but they have nothing that sets them apart. They’re not bad, but also not great and the most eloquent word I can think of to describe them right now is “meh” (I have a great vocabulary, y’all). If the first book in a series is a 3 star book, I will give other books a try, if I ever come across them. I also pull a lot of recommendations from this little section – more often than not, the books in this category have an element that doesn’t work for me but might work for others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3.5 star books are ones I genuinely like and that are slightly above average. They’re not quite great, but the good outweigh the bad, big time. A lot of these are books I fly through, but have no profound thoughts about after finishing them. They’re the hardest to review, because they’re ones I enjoy but not have much to say about – they don’t have elements I can give constructive criticism on, as they’re just enjoyable and fun.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I rate A LOT of books 4 stars. They’re books I really like, the ones I praise quite often. They have minor things that make the reading experience lack a certain something, it might be a pacing issue, or one character that is a pain to read from or about; or it can be the writing. Whatever it is, those books sit super close to my favouite books of all time and I rave about them a lot.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Similarly to the 4 star books, 4.5 star books are ones I really, really, REALLY like. Some I even love and make it to my favourites list. They’re smart and they keep me invested to the very last page. I get attached to the characters so much, I might briefly mistake them for real people (yes, I’m THAT person). Why aren’t they 5 star, so? That’s the catch! Compared to books I would literally carve my heart out for, they don’t quite get there. It’s not due to anything specific anymore – it’s not the writing, it’s not the characters, it’s not the plot – it’s more of a feeling.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 star reads are my absolute favourite. They are perfection. They are the most precious things ever. They’re the books that make me speechless when I turn the last page. Worlds I love with all my heart. Characters that feel like family. There’s nothing more to say here.

That is all I have for you today. How do you rate your books? Do you use the 5 star rating system, or maybe something different? Let me know down in the comments, I’d love to know.

Until the next time!

January Wrap Up

Hi! I’m early this month with my wrap up, because I’m trying to be organised. We have another day left in the month, so I will take some liberties and assume I will finish the book I’m currently reading and it’s rating. It might not be absolutely accurate, but honestly, I have just over 100 pages left and am determined to finish it today, so it WILL happen. Mark my words (or don’t).

  • Number of books read: 7
  • Number of pages read: 2885
  • Average star rating: 3.9
  • DNFs: 1

To be perfectly honest with you, I’d call my reading month average, even if the number of books suggests otherwise. I had a very slow beginning to the month and then I haven’t read for nearly a week while I was on holidays.

You might’ve noticed I haven’t posted a TBR for this month and it’s because I’m trying not to set those for a while and instead pick up books I feel like reading and books I have for review. We’ll see how that goes.

Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

I carried this book over from last month, and only had a couple of pages left to finish. This was a very satisfying ending to a sci-fi time travel series that released in 2019. It is heavy rooted in Dungeons and Dragons (the titles, plot and some solutions to problems), which I have no clue about BUT it didn’t impinge on my understanding or enjoyment of this series. I loved all of the books, the characters in them and the plot. Click on the cover to teleport to the Goodreads page and read the synopsis (as always, I just never mentioned it, I think). Dispel Illusion got 5 stars from me.

Circe by Madeline Miller

I have a full review on this one here, so to sum it up quickly – I honestly don’t understand the hype. The story was dry and dragged, Circe was kind of whiny and bland. How does everyone rave about this I’ll never understand. 2 stars, because the writing was okay.

Bunny by Mona Awad

Definitely one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read, but in a good way. I would recommend going into Bunny blind, as some info might be too much info. It is a satirical horror (I guess?) and it’s about this girl, Samantha, who’s in a MFA program, has only one friend and prefers to live inside of her own head, and a group of women who wear uniform like clothes, but in different styles, are never apart and call each other “Bunny”. If that sounds too vague, I’m sorry, but you really don’t want to know more. I loved the writing of this one, and the whole insane plot and all the plot twists throughout the book. Honestly, what a bizarre experience… 4.5 stars to Bunny.

The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin

Is this one a cop-out to include in my wrap up, as it is only 22 pages long? Maybe. Have I read it, though? Yes! And I really enjoyed it, too. The City Born Great is a prequel short story to the upcoming The City We Became, which is one of my most anticipated books of the year. In this version of our world, the cities have souls. Some have one, some many, New York has 4. They are the city’s protectors. This short story follows one of them closely, as the city is first born. I have never read anything by N.K. Jemisin previously, but I really loved her writing in this one and that premise has be wanting lots more. So, even though it was hella short, it got me really excited for The City We Became and hence it got 4 stars.

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake

The Three Dark Crowns is a really solid YA fantasy series and if you haven’t read it yet, I would really recommend you do so (I’ve yet to read the last book, but shush). It’s about the island of Fennbirn which is a Matriarchy, and every Queen gives birth to triplets with different powers: there are poisoners, naturalists and elementals. After she has the triplets, the Queen leaves the island and the triplets are raised with foster families, separately, and nurture their gifts until they become of age. Then they have to fight to death for the throne. Sounds fantastic, am I right? Well, the Queens of Fennbirn is a bind up of two novellas, one about the triplet Queens when they were young, and one about an Oracle Queen. I really liked both of them, I think they added a lot of depth to the already rich world. I wish the Oracle Queen novella was a full length novel, though, as I wanted a bit more intrigue. I rated it 4 stars.

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

What a ride! I still can’t collect my thoughts on it, I don’t think I retained I was supposed to from this book. Sanderson writes incredibly rich worlds, the magic systems are super intricate, the politics is top notch, and the characters have so much depth to them, it is sometimes hard to follow everything at once. Saying that, I really loved this book, maybe not as much as I loved Words of Radiance, and all the things I mentioned above are very prevalent and I really can’t review Sanderson’s books cohesively, because I lack the brain power to do so. I am left with so many questions, which I know will be answered in the next books. 4.5 stars.

The End of the Day by Claire North

This one is the book I’m still currently reading, but including on here anyway. Honestly, it’s not what I expected, and I don’t know where it’s going even though I’m halfway through it (ish). It feels quite disjointed so far and I’m not sure what it is trying to accomplish, so I will refrain from saying any more until I finish it. Depending on how it ends, I might post a review of it soon!

And that would be it for my wrap up! How did your reading month go? If you have posted your own wrap ups, let me know, and I will check them out! (I’m crap at keeping up with everyone’s posts).

Thanks for reading!

August Wrap Up – I failed my N.E.W.Ts miserably

Hi! Can you believe it’s September already?!

It’s time for my August wrap up. Before I get into all the books I’ve read, and what I thought about them, let’s talk about N.E.W.Ts. It was my first readathon EVER and I failed miserably – not once, but twice! Initially, I picked curse breaker as my desired profession, but about halfway through the month I realised I had way too many books left, and not enough time. So, I changed it to a professor… And missed it by half a book! I’m sure the books I’ve read fit other prompts (I can always be a broom maker…)

  • Number of books read: 6
  • Number of pages read: 1958
  • Average rating: 4 stars
  • DNF: 1

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

I love Rick Riordan’s books, and this one was no different. Fast paced, funny and super entertaining, The Red Pyramid is the first book in Riordan’s the Kane Chronicles, based off Egyptian mythology. I’m yet to be disappointed with his books. Head to my Goodreads for a full review.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

You can find a review for this one in my latest post. It was magical and whimsical and I enjoyed every second of it. The book comes out in less than 2 weeks, so keep an eye out for it – though, it’s hard to miss – LOOK at that cover!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Power Party – The Powerpuff Girls Classics Vol.1

Super easy to read and quite nostalgic, as I was a big fan of the Powerpuff Girls growing up. I picked it up to fulfill one of the challenges, it wasn’t something that I had on my radar before, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Dire King by William Ritter

An amazing conclusion to a really great and underrated series. The Jackaby books are heaps of fun and full of magic. Sherlock Holmesque, but with a dash… okay, way more than a dash, of paranormal, with a strong heroine. I’ll be doing a series review for this in the future as I think more people should read those.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Journey to the centre of the Earth by Jules Verne

I attribute my low rating to wrong timing, as I think I would enjoy the book much more have I read it as a child. It was quite… meh. It had a linear and very simple plot and no development whatsoever, definitely also due to the time period in which it was written. Overall, it really did nothing for me, except make me feel very uncomfortable at one point (spoiler alert… there’s a big sea underground and some creatures live there – YUCK!)

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Monsters by Sharon Dogar

This was my one DNF in August. I got through 90 pages and had to put it down – it just wasn’t for me. It was written in present tense, all of the characters were insufferable and I know enough about Mary Shelley’s life to know where the story was going. I’m quite sad I didn’t enjoy this book, as I was looking forward to reading it.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

An absolute gem! I am definitely not a fan of romance (and there is A LOT of it in this book), but I enjoyed it greatly. It’s a story of a Muslim, hijab wearing girl in America in the aftermath of 9/11. Such a poignant and heart breaking story, talking about racism, belonging, religion. I loved it! I’m debating whether or not write a full review on it – let me know if you’d be interested in reading it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

And here they are! All of the books I’ve read in the month of August! How many books have you read? Which one was your favourite? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time.

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

Hi everyone! It’s review time!

But first, a bit of a disclaimer before I get into the review. I review every single book I read (fully, I don’t bother with reviewing DNFs, for an obvious reason – I can’t have fully fledged opinions if I haven’t read the book) and I try to be critical with each and every single one. In negative reviews, I make sure not to bash the book but give constructive reasons as to why I disliked a book I am reviewing. All of the opinions are 100% my own, regardless of how I obtained a book, whether it is a copy I have bought myself, a book I’ve received in a subscription box, or an ARC provided by a publisher/author.

Okay, now that everything is clear, let’s get into the review!

Thank you to Net Galley for providing an eARC of this book in an exchange for an honest review.

  • Publication date: Sept 12th 2019
  • Publisher: Orion
  • Genre: Historical fantasy

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.

Normally, I would give a little bit of a synopsis before I go into a review and my thoughts on a book, but in this case I believe it is the best to go into the book knowing the very minimum, so I will leave you with the Goodreads synopsis.

I must admit, what attracted me to the book first and foremost was the cover – it is S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G! It’s definitely one of the prettiest books I’ve ever seen. It definitely pushed me to read the synopsis and request it on NetGalley. Let’s just say, I wasn’t disappointed.


Once again, I’ll be very vague here. As you know, the book revolves around January and a book full of stories about magical doors leading to different worlds. Comparisons between Ten Thousand Doors and The Wayward Children series were made by many already, and although I’ve only read the first book in the latter – I definitely agree.

The pacing of this book is fantastic. The plot moves smoothly and steadily, alternating between January’s story and the one she is reading in her book, making it very easy to get immersed in it. It’s exciting, magical and extremely atmospheric. The different perspectives really add to the narrative and let you figure some things out yourself (or at least it helped me figure them out), but it is definitely not predictable.


Harrow created very vivid, yet somehow subtle, worlds within our own world, without paragraphs upon paragraphs of info dump. I think she’s a very skilled writer. Her settings are full of imagery – I could see clearly each and every one of them while reading – the ones set in our world, through those close enough, to the completely imaginary ones.


Multidimensional, with so many layers and personality traits and development throughout the story! Ten Thousand Doors is a real gem in this regard. I especially loved the main character, January, and how interesting, strong willed and determined she was. She encounters many struggles throughout the book as a POC and a woman in the 1900s, yet she doesn’t let them break her.

The relationships between the characters, the friendly, romantic and familial, were beautiful. Some of them heart warming, some gut wrenching, all absolutely perfect, I cannot stop raving about them, and it’s just a lot of blabber, so I’ll stop.


If I were to sum it up in a few sentences, I would say The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a magical and whimsical story of trying to find a place and people to belong with. It has great characters, beautiful writing and an interesting concept.

Now, for the rating:

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow gets:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

and a half. Docking half a star for a slow and somehow confusing start, which was entirely a fault of mine and my engagement with the book, and not the books’ itself.

A little aesthetic board I made, inspired by the book.

For fans of: Seanan McGuire and Laini Taylor

You can preorder the book here:

Amazon / Book Depository

Thanks for sticking around. I hope you found this review helpful or interesting (although I know it is rather vague and rambly). Until next time!

How did I become a reader? – A Brief History

Hello! You have entered the “bookcentral of bookish blabber” (which is just a book blog, but that’s boring and I blab a lot and enjoy alliteration). My name is Zaneta ( dʒænɛta), you might know me from this Bookstagram account (or not), and I am an avid reader. I thought as my first post on here I’d go a bit into why I read and where my love for books came from.

I honestly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a reader. I have always enjoyed stories, especially the written ones, as they escalated my already crazy imagination and were oh, so fun, though, admittedly, sometimes gave me nightmares, too. My parents read to me before bed and I loved every second of it – that is until I smartened up and realised they were skipping pages, shortening all the stories I knew so well, to put me to sleep ASAP and I decided to take matters in my own (tiny) hands. I learned how to read at the age of 3 (don’t ask me how, it’s a mystery), my memories of it are pretty hazy, but it’s something my family doesn’t shut up about (I think I peaked at the age of 3, to be honest), so here you have it.

I know you can hardly tell if I’m reading or just dumbly looking at the pictures, or worse!, just posing for a photo and not paying any attention to the book, but if we are to establish any relationship between us here, it should be based on trust, and so you should trust me when I say I was reading.

I read a lot in primary school! I think I always had an aptitude for learning – I was curious, I wanted to know everything and do everything and books helped with the learning part, but since I also wanted to DO a lot, I read mostly at night. I’d stay up way past my bedtime and read with a flashlight under covers, so my mother wouldn’t know I was still awake. I’d go to my local library twice a week and come back home with stacks of books, itching to read them all. By the time I was eleven (that is a complete guesstimate, but bear with me) I have exhausted all the age “appropriate” reading material available at my library, and my parents had to write a note to the librarian, giving me permission to borrow teen books.

There were many books I have read as a child that stuck with me and fueled my love for reading even more (I’ll make a separate post talking about my childhood favourites), but it wasn’t until I was thirteen and read an excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in one of my textbooks and it flipped a switch in my brain. I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day, I rushed home and begged my dad to buy me my own copy of the book so I could read it all (sidenote, my dad owned a good few books, but generally, my family wasn’t at all well off, hence me frequenting the library and not having my own books). He agreed. It is, to this day, my favourite book of ALL time.

Here it is – my first (and now, one of many) copy of The Catcher in the Rye. Handsome, isn’t it?

Fast forward a couple of years, I moved countries and found myself in a strange place where I knew absolutely no one my age and did not speak English (well, not fluently anyway). I’ll give you a hint where this leads – it was around 2007 and that’s when I discovered YA. Ding, ding, ding! It was Twilight. And before you say, “but wasn’t that out a bit earlier? your timeline is off!”, rewind – I read the Polish edition as it came out, because I wasn’t anywhere near fluent in English. All roads lead to Rome, and in the book world, Rome is Twilight, and everyone’s story (everyone who is over 23 anyway, or around that age) revolves around that series a bit. Twilight was the first series I have bought with my own money (and I still own them). I was obsessed with it until City of Bones came out 2 years later (also in Polish) and it stole my heart.

I have been reading YA ever since and it’s the genre I gravitate towards the most (that being said, I read adult books also, and really enjoy them). Reading helps me relax and unwind. It keeps my mind sharp. Even though I mostly read fiction, I learn new things from books nearly every day. It’s been a part of my identity since I was a child and books are what people associate me with. Most of all, though, it’s my favourite form of entertainment.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got to know me a bit. What’s your story? How did you become a reader?

Until the next time!