Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

the priory of the orange tree
five stars black
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Pages: 827
Release Date: February 26, 2018

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

The Priory of the Orange Tree is an epic fantasy novel that will leave you breathless and stunned, though it’s not without its faults.

I picked up The Priory of the Orange Tree based on the hype it was getting around release day. I patiently waited for the library copy then dove in as soon as I got it in my hands. This 800-page monster is a quick read, if you’ll believe it, since the characters are multifaceted, interesting, and the world building is complex and vast.

What I enjoyed most about The Priory of the Orange Tree were the characters. Ead and Tané were my favorites since they have the most interesting plotlines as they are the ones most closely tied to the world building mechanics of the novel. Ead’s introductory scene is one of her best and made her stick out the most as a character. Tané, on the other hand, doesn’t stick out until a few chapters into the novel. Ead and Tané are similar characters while also being the complete opposite. Both characters are competent and deadly. But where Tané is harsh, Ead is soft.

The Priory of the Orange Tree is an incredibly diverse novel full of characters with different sexual orientations, preferences, different cultures, ethnicities, and religions. Who would have thought a fantasy novel could be so diverse? *Insert eye rolling emoji*.

The biggest issue I had with the novel was the ending. The last 75 pages are rushed as the novel ramps up for its explosive finale. The events unfold too easily and quickly after the 700 plus page build up. This novel could have easily been a duology since there is a lot of material. For example: Shannon could have focused more on Tané and her training with her dragon. I could have easily read 10 chapters developing that connection.

And, one final point, The Priory of the Orange Tree needs more dragons.

Overall, The Priory of the Orange Tree is a fantastic standalone fantasy novel is a genre lacking well developed standalone novels.


Have you read The Priory of the Orange Tree? What did you think?

7 thoughts on “Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

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