The Priory of the Orange Tree
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Format Paperback from publisher
Pub Date 26th February 2019
Price $32.99 AUD
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Priory of the Orange Tree was a really epic and action packed fantasy that praised the power of strong women.
What I liked most about this book was its strong focus on women and their ability to shape the world and stand up for themselves. I did not know going into this book that the plot mostly follows two female main characters with both male and female side characters. It was refreshing to read a large fantasy book with female main characters who are adults, with adult flaws and adult minds. They seemed more like real people than made up characters.
The world building in this book is insane. There are so many amazing characters and places it makes me want to travel there and meet them. There was action, so much betrayal, intrigue and magic. The way this book was put together was obviously so thought out because it is so complex yet works so well. The magic system is unique and completely engaging.
Basically we enter a world where there are two types of dragons, one bent on destruction and the other on harmony. The leader of the destructive side, The Nameless One, wants to return to the Queendom of Inys and destroy its people and queen. We follow the fight to oppose The Nameless One and save the people of both East and West.
Initially I had serious trouble getting into the story. Because the book is so massive it took me almost 250 pages to really understand what was happening and to keep track of everything. With some fantasy books I fly through them, but for Priory I found I knew I was turning each page, which was kind of a drag and not ideal. While I really enjoyed the storyline, the weaving of the plot and some really awesome twists, at times I felt like I wished I had already reached the end. It really was too large to be one book and I think it would have been easier to read in two parts. Trying to accept that much fantasy into 800 pages was a challenge for me and it almost felt a bit tedious.
Despite that, this book had some wonderful twists in it that had me gasping out loud. I love that Samantha Shannon could write such an intriguing and complex fantasy and yet completely surprise me multiple times.
Honestly I can’t pick a favourite character. They were all so well written and had me completely hooked. Some I loved, some I hated and some played a really good supporting role. Shoutout to Ead, Margret and Sabran. These lovely ladies while flawed, supported each other and worked together to create a better world.
The mechanics of the Inys court and other palaces was extremely well described. They were all full of betrayal, mystery, magic and backstabbing. It was so great to read about.
Priory was full to the brim with complex relationships and had a wonderful gay and lesbian rep. It was so enjoyable to read and I felt so convinced these relationships were real because the characters were well written.
The magic system and dragons were immensely complex, amazing and well worth the read.
Overall The Priory of the Orange Tree is a complex and engaging fantasy that would dazzle fans of Game of Thrones. If you love action, adventure, tricky characters, magic and dragons this book is certainly for you.
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing my copy for review! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all thoughts and opinions are my own and do not represent the author or publisher.