Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Adult, Fantasy 
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: February 26th 2019
eBook, 848 Pages

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, TanĂ© 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.

I took me a while to get through this one. I originally received a copy of The Priory of the Orange Tree at BookExpo in 2018 and I was super excited to start it. In August my family was taking a road trip to move my sister into college and it was a 9+ hour ride there so I figured it was the perfect time to read this beauty. Sadly I struggled with it and I think it was mainly intimidation of seeing that I read what seemed like so much, but had so much more to go. After The Priory if the Orange Tree was released I bought a copy for my kindle and found it a lot easier to read. This time I finished and I adore this book and every character in it. (Except Niclays, I just don't like him. *Shrugs*)

No woman should be made to fear that she was not enough.

The Priory of the Orange Tree is not a Young Adult novel. The characters range from 19 and one character being 64. Though the characters are older I found Priory to read as a young adult novel would. I didn't find it to be too graphic content wise. Naturally there is blood and murder, but nothing too to an extreme. Sexual content wise there is when slightly detailed sex scene, but there plenty of those in upper YA novels. If you are going to recommend this as Young Adult to a reader, I would definitely say it is for more upper YA readers. But again, Priory is categorized as an adult novel. 

Priory is complicated to talk about with out ruining bits of it. I think the world building is fabulously done. Shannon didn't waste a page to describe this lush world. The different cultures, traditions, regions and species. From the Queendom to the Dragon Riders, Shannon made it as if I was standing beside this characters in their journey. In the beginning Priory is overwhelming, there are a lot of names and places being mention but until I got the hang of it, and after I did, the story is easy to follow. Its broke up into four POVs. Ead, Tane, Loth and Niclays. I do wish we got a point of view from Sabran, she is one of my favorite characters in the novel and I loved her story and the complexity of it. All characters face their own battles as the Nameless One looms on the horizon, but can people from radically different parts of the world come together to save the world? 

“In darkness, we are naked. Our truest selves. Night is when fear comes to us at its fullest, when we have no way to fight it,” Ead continued. “It will do everything it can to seep inside you. Sometimes it may succeed—but never think that you are the night.”

Overall Priory is an intimidating book to dive into but with its beautiful writing and complex characters you'll soon be enthralled by the tale. I hope Shannon revisits this world again eventually, where 800 pages was a lot, it also felt too short for these characters. I would love more. Especially of Ead and Sabran. 

1 comment

  1. I also feel like Ead and Sabran's story should be expanded on! They were my favorite characters in this book and I need more of them.


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