Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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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.

It has taken me way too long (almost two years) to finally pick up this book. I was so daunted by it because it is such a large book, but I challenged myself to read it in a week between my semesters at uni and I managed to read it in 6 days! All I knew about this book was that 1) it has an LGBT relationship, 2) it has dragons and 3) it is one of Alex’s favourite books. And if that wasn’t enough to entice me, I don’t know what else would.

This is an epic fantasy. A complex and intricate world that has so much to reveal. The biggest disappointment for me (and the part I was most worried about when I went into the story) was that I felt a bit lost. I struggled to connect to the characters because there was just so many, and it took me a while to get into it. I found myself latching onto a particular character (in my case, Ead), because I really enjoyed her storyline. Although I felt a bit lost in the other parts of the story, I’m glad I did focus on her because I felt much more connected to her character. I was so happy when the book became more and more focused on her particular story.

Some truths are safest buried. Some castles best kept in the sky.

The romance in this book was one of my favourite aspects of it. There is a slow burning, female/female romance which felt honest, raw and complicated. I appreciated their relationship so much, and the way they tackled life together reminded me of my own relationship with my boyfriend. They were honest with themselves and each other and I adored that about them. I also really enjoyed how this book explores gender issues and talks about women in power. It was so refreshing and some of the quotes were so good, I had to tab them!

I really liked most of the characters, and especially the mythical beings and animals. The way they were incorporated into the story felt so different and refreshing, I adored them. For some reason I expected the dragons to appear part way through the book, but I loved how they were in the story basically from the very start.

There’s promise in tales that are yet to be spoken.

I did have mixed feelings about this book, but I feel like it could have easily been a 5 star read for me if I understood a little more about the characters, the world, the politics and the royal families. There is just so much to take in and that this book has to give, and I feel like I’d love to reread it in the future, whether that be in a physical or audio version. I feel like it’s something I will enjoy more if I reread it, because this book will have something new to give with every read.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

  1. I didn’t find it too confusing! But I think I expected the plot resolution to be more driven by all the politics and the characters’ complexities and that didn’t happen for me! Enjoyed it overall though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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