The Priory of the Orange Tree
By: Samantha Shannon
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Genre: Adult High Fantasy
Page Count: 848
Synopsis: 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 to be a dragonrider since she was a child, 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
This review will be spoiler free
This book has been on my radar for quite some time, I heard amazing things about it and I was really intrigued, I mean it isn’t often you come across a stand alone high fantasy novel! Don’t let that page count discourage you either, because once you start reading, chapters will just fly by. This was an incredibly written book, and Shannon masterfully combined multiple POVs, epic journeys, time jumps and rich world building, somehow fitting it all in one book. Nothing felt like it suffered from this being a single book, it didn’t feel rushed or anything.
Another really great part of this book is its characters. They are all so rich and complex, even the side ones who aren’t granted their own POVs. There is also some great representation, with multiple main characters being LGBTQ+ which I find isn’t always common in high fantasy books. The female characters were also incredibly badass and inspiring. Sabran’s character development was especially fun to read as she changed so much throughout the story.
High fantasy can be daunting to people who aren’t accustom to having dozens of names, new words and complex world histories thrown at them in the first hundred pages or so. This book was of course no exception, but I never felt overwhelmed by the information I learned. Some of the history and religious information, we learned alongside the characters, which made twits and surprises all the more exciting. There was definitely enough political intrigue to rival Game of Throne, and I haven’t even mentioned the dragons yet!
This is definitely a must read for all fantasy lovers, and it is perfect for these long hours at home we’re all having to deal with right now! I would caution anyone unfamiliar with high fantasy that it might be a bit overwhelming at first, but trust me the story is well worth it! It will for sure be a book I will re read over and over again.
Have you read this book? let me know your thoughts in the comments, did you love it as much as I did?