The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on February 6, 2019
Genre(s): fiction, fantasy
Format & Length: e-book, 848
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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 with a focus on dragons that hit all the right notes for me.
“All stories grow from a seed of truth.”
Admittedly, the beginning of this book is slow moving as it takes the necessary time to build up the world first. But because of that, it was a richly complex and complete world that I was able to fully immerse myself in. Despite the slower moving start, once all the pieces were set up the plot picked up into an even pace through to the end. And the full cast of characters contained a wide range of personalities and behaviors that felt realistic, making some easy to root for and others easy to hate.
All of this makes for an entertaining story. But The Priory of the Orange Tree took it to the next step by exploring themes relevant to our own society, including balance, otherness, and the twisting of truth to suit one’s own needs. And it does so through a variety of angles, from religion to politics to the magic system. This added the extra depth necessary that takes a fantasy from simply fun to something worth reading time and time again.
“And the enemy of the enemy is a potential friend.”
In the end, I couldn’t be more glad to have read The Priory of the Orange Tree and it’s sure to make my list of favorite books read this year. If any of this sounds like your type of book, I highly recommend checking it out.