The Priory of the Orange Tree
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 Details

TitleThe Priory of the Orange Tree
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 26th, 2019
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
Rating
GenreFantasy, Adult, Fiction, Dragons

The Priory of the Orange Tree Review

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    Epic battle between good and evil for the control of the world!Overall I really enjoyed this new fantasy book.The world was complex and interesting but since it's a standalone and that you're following 4 main POV it got quite overwhelming at times. Lots of names, places, histories to follow but it gets better. The magic system was great, the plot was intriguing and so were most of the characters. Also, dragons, pirates and magic. Need I say more?!I would love to read more adventures in this worl Epic battle between good and evil for the control of the world!Overall I really enjoyed this new fantasy book.The world was complex and interesting but since it's a standalone and that you're following 4 main POV it got quite overwhelming at times. Lots of names, places, histories to follow but it gets better. The magic system was great, the plot was intriguing and so were most of the characters. Also, dragons, pirates and magic. Need I say more?!I would love to read more adventures in this world!The other things that bothered me were fairly minor but I'm curious to see if anyone else felt the same. Every time a character died, even when it was one that I liked, I felt quite detached from it because it was sudden and it didn't feel like it brought a lot to the story. It felt like the authors needed a few of them to perish since this book is about an epic war. The writing during the battles also didn't really work for me but I'm having trouble pinpointing exactly why. All I know is that it was one of the weaknesses of the book. Lastly, the battle at the end that we wait for throughout the whole book was... very quick and lukewarm.Still I recommend it!
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  • Samantha Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Hiiiii, Goodreads. This is my new book. I'm thrilled to finally be able to tell you more about it.The Priory of the Orange Tree is an epic fantasy set in a world that is both like and unlike ours. I've been working on this book since 2015, and I've fallen in love with this setting and these characters. I can't wait for you to meet Ead, Tané, Sabran and the others – I hope you'll enjoy reading their story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'm just popping in to let you know that there is a glos Hiiiii, Goodreads. This is my new book. I'm thrilled to finally be able to tell you more about it.The Priory of the Orange Tree is an epic fantasy set in a world that is both like and unlike ours. I've been working on this book since 2015, and I've fallen in love with this setting and these characters. I can't wait for you to meet Ead, Tané, Sabran and the others – I hope you'll enjoy reading their story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'm just popping in to let you know that there is a glossary and a character list at the back of the book. And yes, that is the correct page count. This book will hurt you if it falls on you. Be warned. Love, Samantha PS: The beautiful cover was designed by David Mann and illustrated by Ivan Belikov. PPS: There won't be maps in the proofs, but they're being drawn up by the wonderful Emily Faccini for the finished editions.
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  • شيماء ✨
    January 1, 1970
    🌟FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED HERE ON MY BLOG🌟As an avid reader/devourer of novels, sometimes it feels like I'm ripping my soul into a new horcrux every time I add another book to my "all-time favorites" shelf. In fact, I'm not at all certain the human brain was meant to read, in such short order, so many novels gleaming out in jeweled brilliance, and still be able to summon words to talk about them! But, I did. (around 2000 words to be exact….oh my god, imagine if I had this sort of motivation in lit 🌟FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED HERE ON MY BLOG🌟As an avid reader/devourer of novels, sometimes it feels like I'm ripping my soul into a new horcrux every time I add another book to my "all-time favorites" shelf. In fact, I'm not at all certain the human brain was meant to read, in such short order, so many novels gleaming out in jeweled brilliance, and still be able to summon words to talk about them! But, I did. (around 2000 words to be exact….oh my god, imagine if I had this sort of motivation in literally any other area of my life lol)
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  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
    January 1, 1970
    As a huge Tolkien fan, and one who considers his writing to be the very best fantasy has to offer, I don’t often compare other books to his works (at least not in a positive way.) Simply because there is very rarely a good comparison to be made. Every great work of fantasy has felt somewhat shallow in contrast to the deep pool of imagination he conjured with his words. Nothing cuts it. Nothing competes. However, with this I do venture to make a comparison. I do venture to concur with the blurb L As a huge Tolkien fan, and one who considers his writing to be the very best fantasy has to offer, I don’t often compare other books to his works (at least not in a positive way.) Simply because there is very rarely a good comparison to be made. Every great work of fantasy has felt somewhat shallow in contrast to the deep pool of imagination he conjured with his words. Nothing cuts it. Nothing competes. However, with this I do venture to make a comparison. I do venture to concur with the blurb Laura Eve has provided this book with; this is a “feminist successor to The Lord of the Rings” because it is a story told with grace and infused with rich history and lore in its gloriously huge scope: it is magnificent in every regard. It’s all about the girl power here! I recommend this to readers who enjoy female driven fantasy that is also carefully paced like the works of Robin Hobb, Tad Williams and Chris Wooding. So, what makes this book so excellent and what makes it stand out against a plethora of other fine fantasy novels on the market today? For me, and I do not doubt for many other readers too, this ticks every box. Not only do we have real characters, and by real I mean characters so well-written that they actually begin to leap out of the page as they battle their internal conflicts and self-doubt, but we also have a world with a huge past. And the characters are driven by it as they try to live up to the example their ancestors set. They are trying to be better people, more worthy people. I loved this constant drive, it made the world feel old and like we have only glimpsed but a fraction of its vast timeline that has spanned ages. There so much more here, so much room for more stories. And if I go away from a book this large wanting more, then that’s a very good sign indeed. The plot rests on the threat of The Nameless One returning. It’s a giant dragon that threatens to destroy the world and all in it if the eastern and western kingdoms cannot put aside their differences and unite in order to destroy the monumental threat. Much of the novel is dedicated to the unification of the two factions, and several characters have many different ideas about how exactly this should be done ranging from assassination to simple negotiation. It’s a colourful story of witchcraft and romance, of dragons and political intrigue, of treachery and love and one that continued to surprise me until the very end. It’s also worth briefly mentioning here that I did not like the author’s series The Bone Season. It was too young adult for my taste, but I clearly loved this. So, I really do urge other readers to try this regardless of what you thought about Samantha Shannon’s other work. This is completely different, and I don’t hesitate to say that this will be one of the biggest fantasy releases this year. Don’t miss it, it’s incredible.FBR | Twitter | Insta | Academia
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    LOOK OMGI love this book so damn much!! I have this special edition, the kindle and the Audio! I loved so much about this book, the world, the people, the dragons! Ead is one of my favorite characters! I’m looking forward to savoring the Reread on Audio!! I’m going to add a few excerpts and that’s me done!! An enormous head towered over the fence of Orisima. It belonged to a creature born of jewel and sea. Cloud steamed from its scales-scales of moonstone, so bright they seemed to glow from wit LOOK OMGI love this book so damn much!! I have this special edition, the kindle and the Audio! I loved so much about this book, the world, the people, the dragons! Ead is one of my favorite characters! I’m looking forward to savoring the Reread on Audio!! I’m going to add a few excerpts and that’s me done!! An enormous head towered over the fence of Orisima. It belonged to a creature born of jewel and sea. Cloud steamed from its scales-scales of moonstone, so bright they seemed to glow from within. A crust of gemlike droplets glistened on each one. Each eye was a burning star, and each horn was quicksilver, agleam under the pallid moon. The creature flowed with the grace of a ribbon past the bridge and took to the skies, light and quiet as a paper kite. A dragon. Even as it rose over Cape Hisan, others were ascending from the water, leaving a chill mist in their wake. Niclays presses a hand to the drumbeat in his chest. "Now, what," he murmured, "are they doing here?"Her bare feet lit upon the marble. As the cutthroat stepped into the Great Bedchamber, dagger aloft, she covered his mouth and drove her blade between his ribs. The cutthroat bucked. Ead held fast, careful not to let a drop of blood spill on to her. *****The dragon rose with the rest of her kin over the rooftops of the city. Water made flesh. As a mist of divine rain streamed from their scales, soaking the humans below, a Seiikinese male reared up, gathered his breathe, and expelled it in a mighty gust of wind. Every bell in the temple rang out in answer. *****As Fyredel unleashed his fire, so Ead broke the chains on her long-dormant power. Flame collided with ancient stone. Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾MY BLOGAMAZON REVIEW
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  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    ‘we will shake the world for our beliefs.’ starting with me because, holy mother of dragons, I AM SHOOK.
  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my goodness, that was the definition of an epic fantasy. It was 800+ pages and I could barely lift the ARC to read properly, but none of that page time was ever wasted, SO much is packed into this story... the scope is seriously huge. I have no clue where to even begin at explaining the plot, but maybe that's not really necessary here. I'll just say if you're looking for a diverse, feminist high fantasy story with some truly impressive worldbuilding, then definitely check this out. It did tak Oh my goodness, that was the definition of an epic fantasy. It was 800+ pages and I could barely lift the ARC to read properly, but none of that page time was ever wasted, SO much is packed into this story... the scope is seriously huge. I have no clue where to even begin at explaining the plot, but maybe that's not really necessary here. I'll just say if you're looking for a diverse, feminist high fantasy story with some truly impressive worldbuilding, then definitely check this out. It did take me a bit to get into everything (there are so, so many characters omg), but once the talking dragons showed up I was totally sold. It might feel slower-moving if you're used to YA fantasy, though, so just a heads up there. But this book would totally hold its own against any giant in its genre!The author's note at the start mentions that her fictional lands were inspired by events & cultures in our world but aren't meant to represent any of them, which is what it felt like. There were just enough hints of the familiar in this fantasy world to make it seem like a place that could totally be real!Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
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  • chloe ✨
    January 1, 1970
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    hit me with those 800 pages of high fantasy cause that's the only acceptable way to murder me fyi
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I'm NOT DNFing... I'm just putting this down for now, because I just can't immerse myself in this story for some reason! But I promise to try again before the year is over! <3 Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch
  • Angelica
    January 1, 1970
    Me, trying to jump on this book's bandwagon before it's way too late:for all the hype it's receiving this book better pay my bills, cure my depression, and usher in an era of world peace.
  • Maxwell
    January 1, 1970
    WOW. Where do I even begin with this book? Firstly, thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an early copy of this book to read. But also how could you do this to me? Now I have to wait another month for everyone to get their hands on this so we can talk about it!Having been a fan of Samantha Shannon's series, The Bone Season, and in general being a fan of fantasy novels, I was eager to read her latest novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree. I have to confess, though, that some larger, high fantasy WOW. Where do I even begin with this book? Firstly, thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an early copy of this book to read. But also how could you do this to me? Now I have to wait another month for everyone to get their hands on this so we can talk about it!Having been a fan of Samantha Shannon's series, The Bone Season, and in general being a fan of fantasy novels, I was eager to read her latest novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree. I have to confess, though, that some larger, high fantasy books have intimidated me and/or bored me to death previously. It takes the right kind of world-building and characters, mixed with a good plot, to keep me going. And wow does this deliver.The story follows four narrators—Ead, Tané, Loth and Niclays—who live in a world divided, East and West, over the opinions of dragons. In the East they are revered as gods, while in the West they are feared due to the haunting history of the Nameless One, an evil dragon who has been locked away for a thousand years in the Abyss and kept there by the bloodline of the Queendom of Inys, ruled by the Berethnet matriarchy. Stay with me. It sounds like a lot, but when you're reading it it flows so naturally and you quickly adjust to all the characters, where they are from, etc. Plus it has maps! MAPS!As with all fantasy novels, a chain of events sparks action in our main characters' lives that drives them across kingdoms and oceans, encountering pirates and mythical beasts, and towards and away from one another in both physical and metaphorical senses. It's got lots of action, great dialogue, court intrigue, dragons and more. Plus there is great romance as well as amazing platonic female friendships that you really don't see much in high fantasy. Like, a majority of this book is just about kick-ass women taking charge and working together to save their world.Needless to say, I loved this story. I loooooved the characters—especially the Loth/Margret/Ead trio—and how they were often at odds with one another but you were also kind of rooting for everyone. It's hard to pick a side but I love that choosing sides was beside the point all along. It's just a wonderful journey to go on with these characters, and I can't believe how much they'd grown on me by the last page. I can see myself returning to this story again in the future, and even though this is a standalone novel (which I appreciate), I hope Shannon returns to this world to expand on the stories we only get glimpses of in Priory.
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    this had me at dragons
  • Mariah
    January 1, 1970
    I just need it said that I've been calling this book "The Priority of the Orange Tree" for months, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.XXXXXX “All the world is a cage in a young girl's eyes.” XXXXXXI wanted to finish this yesterday because it was International Women's Day and this book is everything I have ever wanted to see in the Epic Fantasy genre since I was a little girl - but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men. I digress.From the very beginning this book pull I just need it said that I've been calling this book "The Priority of the Orange Tree" for months, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.XXXXXX “All the world is a cage in a young girl's eyes.” XXXXXXI wanted to finish this yesterday because it was International Women's Day and this book is everything I have ever wanted to see in the Epic Fantasy genre since I was a little girl - but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men. I digress.From the very beginning this book pulled me in and I held on for dear life. The world building felt natural and progressed at a pace that kept me interested in the plot but not overwhelmed. Shannon weaved a beautiful web from Eastern and Western mythology, and infused it with this badass womanly energy that makes me so excited to see the ripple effect.“We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.”The book changes POVs from place to place instead of character, so you get glimpses of what is going on in the East, West and South as the story progresses. What I found so interesting in this book is that usually, when I deal with a POV change I'm annoyed because I wanna see everything play out, or I like one character better, but in Priory everything was just so well timed and executed to perfection.Can I also say, props to the author for making this standalone and a self-contained story in itself and not dragging it out in book after book just to cash grab like a lot of authors choose to do. And there is so much beauty in the fact that this is one gorgeous tale on its own. It is magical, and powerful, and dramatic, and an adventure from beginning to end.I think there is something so unique in fantasy that is unlike any other genre, where anything is possible and we are not bound by the boring and often stifling constrictions and preconceived notions. If there are dragons and wyrms and magic than why not Queendoms, and societies where the women are the ones trained to fight, and it is just as common for a man to marry another man than it is for him to marry a woman.I really don't want to say too much about the story because I find so much joy in walking into a brand new world. But I looked back on my updates while I was reading this and this is what I experienced: goosebumps, edge of your seat excitement, awe when faced with such beautiful storytelling skill, surprise as nothing went down how I thought it would, shock because HOLY. MORTHERFORKING. SHIRTBALLS. BATMAN, and just so much contentment in knowing there's a book like this out there now.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, so. I finished this behemoth.Was it good? .... I don't know. I enjoyed it for the most part. Certain aspects of this book absolutely SOARED. But overall it is waaaaaaaay too long, and the plot is a bit of a mess. The word that comes to mind is inelegant. Given how much space Shannon has to set the stage for an intricate plot, I was left pretty disappointed on that front.What this book does well: the love story. Despite the fact that this book has four perspectives, Ead's story is clearly t Okay, so. I finished this behemoth.Was it good? .... I don't know. I enjoyed it for the most part. Certain aspects of this book absolutely SOARED. But overall it is waaaaaaaay too long, and the plot is a bit of a mess. The word that comes to mind is inelegant. Given how much space Shannon has to set the stage for an intricate plot, I was left pretty disappointed on that front.What this book does well: the love story. Despite the fact that this book has four perspectives, Ead's story is clearly the tentpole for the whole book. And Ead has an INCREDIBLE queer love story! There is such a dearth of f/f love stories in fantasy, particularly f/f love stories that don't fetishize lesbian relationships. We get a beautifully told romance between two complicated, well-developed ladies. I loved it. But alas, the plot. The plot isn't bad per say, but it's also nothing to get excited about. The down beats, which are certainly essential to a story, were a bit too slow. And in a book that's over 800 pages, that can make reading a slog at times. The biggest disappointment, for me, was that almost every climatic moment--almost every big twist, every big emotional scene--was sloppy. I think this book falls for the idea that a completely suprising plot twist is the same as a good one. That's a common misconception. A good plot twist is one that doesn't feel contrived, and still either surprises or delights the reader--to a degree. I would prefer a well set-up plot twist that I guessed earlier in the book than one that feels contrived. The twists in this felt contrived. The amount of explaining that happened post-twist is, to me, indicative of a lack of coherent set-up. The timelines for the emotional climaxes didn't make sense. And what left me feeling the most frustrated was that so many of these things were very easily fixable.One example, at a sentence level, that stuck out to me and seemed representative of all of my issues with the plot (edited slightly to remove spoilers):One character is looking down at their lover, who has a wound on their face that has been stitched up. Another character enters, hugs character one, and then says "It's over. He's dead." Now, this is not in reference to the character lying prone, wounded in the face. It's about another character. Why would you use a pronoun here? It's very easy to just use a name. The pronoun, given the context of the scene, invites confusion. There is an INCREDIBLY easy fix for this!!!!I also have some... thoughts... about the gender politics of this world. On the one hand it's incredibly refreshing to see women just casually treated as capable and strong and competent. Love that! Love that it's just there and doesn't need to be commented on!! A rarity in high fantasy books. On the other hand, that also just... didn't make sense to me? Hear me out. One of the kingdoms in this book was founded by a dude who takes credit for something that a woman did, sanctifies HIMSELF, creates a religion around HIMSELF that is highly structured and more than a bit repressive. It's also worth noting that the language used in this religion is verrryyyyy reminiscent of the chivalric tradition. Basically, the set up for this society reeks of a misogynistic patriarchy. But that's not what we get! Instead, it's a matriarchy with lots of badass ladies. There's some discussion of how the queens are often reduced to their wombs, a teeeeensie bit about how women often act at the gatekeepers and enforcers of patriarchal structures. But there's not much. The logic of the world, in this specific instance, just didn't make sense to me. I think Shannon was trying to push back against the notion that you HAVE to depict the oppression of women in high fantasy, which I think is a very admirable goal. But the world doesn't work. The set up would make sense if Shannon wanted to subvert some of the tropes that are unfortunately all too common in high fantasy, but she doesn't do that. The history of this particular society feels incongruous with its contemporary culture, and we aren't given any additional context to bridge that gap. I still largely had fun while reading this. The magic was interesting, if the language was weird (star rot?? That's really what you're going to call a magical substance????). The love story kept me reading, but ultimately this left me feeling conflicted. I'm settling on three stars (though I debated giving it two), because I did mostly have fun. But the issues this book had were pretty glaring, and I think it's worth noting just how long it took me to finish this book...
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  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    January 1, 1970
    "No woman should be made to fear that she was not enough." This is my favourite book of the year so far, hands down.
  • Ben Alderson
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best books I’ve ever read. Rich in everything you could want and need in a fantasy. Please don’t sleep on this book. Just don’t.Read it.
  • Jennie Damron
    January 1, 1970
    Samantha Shannon has just written my favorite book of all time! Yes, this is the best book I have ever read. If I could give this book 10 stars I would. The world building is just impeccable. The characters, all of them, are well developed and show growth as well as fragility. The Dragons are characters in and of themselves. I wish I could be like Tane and have my own dragon who I can ride across the world on. Ead is my favorite character. She is a warrior and fights for what she believes in and Samantha Shannon has just written my favorite book of all time! Yes, this is the best book I have ever read. If I could give this book 10 stars I would. The world building is just impeccable. The characters, all of them, are well developed and show growth as well as fragility. The Dragons are characters in and of themselves. I wish I could be like Tane and have my own dragon who I can ride across the world on. Ead is my favorite character. She is a warrior and fights for what she believes in and those she loves. Her loyalty and since of right was utterly believable. I loved this book and I will read it again and love it all the more. This book is a masterpiece plain and simple.
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  • Mary S. R.
    January 1, 1970
    4.94 EPIC STARS! the stuff of legend, a tale destined to be enshrined in song. “I will give you the key to destroying all darkness.”“Which is?”“Knowledge” This is “a brilliant, daring, and devastating jewel” and a unique, timeless, addicting, and rich dragon of a book—both in size and magnificence!“A masterpiece of intricate world-building, diverse, feminist, thought-provoking and masterfully told,” with stunning, breathing and unforgettable characters, TPOTOT captures your imagination and traps 4.94 EPIC STARS! the stuff of legend, a tale destined to be enshrined in song. “I will give you the key to destroying all darkness.”“Which is?”“Knowledge” This is “a brilliant, daring, and devastating jewel” and a unique, timeless, addicting, and rich dragon of a book—both in size and magnificence!“A masterpiece of intricate world-building, diverse, feminist, thought-provoking and masterfully told,” with stunning, breathing and unforgettable characters, TPOTOT captures your imagination and traps you in its world... “We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.” Shannon's astonishing achievement is her ability to build new religions and histories and conflicts and to bring them to life. For that she's been called “the female George R.R. Martin” which I disagree with bc her work lacks the noted dark ruthlessness of Martin's works. But “a feminist successor to The Lord of the Rings” is a great way to put it.“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. It will do everything it can to seep inside you. Sometimes it may succeed—but never think that you are the night.”As the author writes, “The fictional lands of The Priory of the Orange Tree are inspired by events and legends from various parts of the world. None is intended as a faithful representation of any one country or culture at any point in history.” which is utterly fascinating! I've listed those in the Inspirations & Themes section!“I’m no explorer.”“You could be, Clay. You could be anything, and you should never think otherwise.”While I was wholly interested and invested in the story and characters from the first page, it failed to completely pull me in for the first 25%, and I'd say it started out slow—if I were someone who cared for that. So that's 0.05 of a star lost and not 0.5.I also figured out the main riddles and mysteries soon (while being shocked by many other twists!) so 0.01 of a star but NO MORE, bc these flaws were nothing compared to the grandeur of it!“Reading. A dangerous pastime.”“You mock me.”“By no means. There is great power in stories.”“All stories grow from a seed of truth. They are knowledge after figuration.” Storyline A holy Queendom in the North, wyrm-worshipers in the West, mages in the South, and dragonriders in the East ... a divided people swallowed by chaos.“Pity this house, for here we are cursed,”The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for more than 1000 years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran IX must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—for it is believed that as long as a Berethnet rules in Virtudom, the monster beneath the sea will sleep...But assassins are getting closer to the queen, and Ead Duryan, the outsider lady-in-waiting at court, is secretly a mage of the South protecting Sabran with forbidden magic.And across the Abyss far in the East, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but one choice could unravel her life, taking her to places no Easterner has set foot in centuries.“Gone are the days of heroes; from North to South and West to East, your world will burn.”There are fools in crowns, Dukes and Queens absorbed in their own politics, clinging to their beliefs, blind to the forces of chaos rising from their sleep. History is to repeat itself and none are ready to stand united.Let them come with their swords and their torches.Let them come. Inspirations & Themes Samantha Shannon has taken inspiration from folklore and teachings of all over the world, and I've listed some of those here (subjects in the book are in italic):• Chinese/Japanese/Korean mythology (for the Eastern dragons)• European mythology (its dragons for the wyrms and wyverns)• Norse mythology (Odin and Valhalla for Galian in Halgalant—the heavenly court—and the Great Table)• The teachings of alchemy• Christianity (for the sign of the sword)• The Bible, Revelation 20. The Thousand Years (for the Abyss and keys)• Marion Angus's poem Alas! Poor Queen (for Sabran's court)• William Shakespeare's Richard II, Act Two (for hereditary rights coupled with political reality, or the fact that the male view of the world leaves out an entire realm of perception)• The Man’yoshu poem collection, the poem Tsuki (an eulogy for a dead man on the shore)• The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser (for the story of Galian, Cleolind, and the Nameless One)Now, some themes and subjects:1) Feminism: full of precious strong women taking the stage, fighting, ruling, and glowing—one of the best feminist books out there, if not the best feminist fantasy book yet!No woman should be made to fear that she was not enough.A woman is more than a womb to be seeded.2) LGBT+: this book was full of queer characters and relationships, and they all felt so natural and tangible ... in other words, a masterpiece of LGBT+!3) Custom and tradition: it was amusing when characters questioned our traditions that didn't exist in their fictional world; like “Who in the world wears white on their wedding day?” 😂That aside, custom and tradition are what shape the world, and in TPOTOT their implications, origins, and influence was beautifully paid attention to!“Just because something has always been done does not mean that it ought to be done.”4) Prejudice and cultural difference: as Shannon writes, “Would the world be any better if we were all the same?” With that, the author goes on to write a story about both the difficulties and beauties of our differences. It's a topic I hold dear, as international relations are becoming more a part of the day-today life—so as to not lose our identity but learn to accept others' different ones :)5) Religion: There're religious conflicts, living gods, the power of belief, the shunning of science, and reshaping of religions.If you're a very religious person who has difficulties with religions coming from anywhere other than a holy being or being used for gain etc, then you might have a little problem.“Piety can turn the power-hungry into monsters. They can twist any teaching to justify their actions.”Though, do keep in mind that this is a fictional world, and besides, no one can deny the power faith holds on the masses and the uses people have put it into in history, for good or bad. Speaking of history...6) History and myth: something I've been obsessed with is the accuracy of history and how fluid the facts are when you switch the source. And the author captured that exactly to my liking—It deserved an applause!“When history fails to shed light on the truth, myth creates its own.” Storytelling “When the heart grows too full, it overflows. And mine, inevitably, overflows on to a page.” “She was part poet and part fool when it came to telling stories.” ← That's the best way to describe Shannon's glorious and detailed writing in The Priory of the Orange Tree.The prose is exquisite and the storytelling genius; it's detailed (like G.R.R. Martin's writing) and the focus is on being in the moment and submerged in the current scene rather than on plot advancement.The water in you is cold, her teacher had once told her. When you hold a weapon, you become a faceless ghost. You give nothing away.The battles and combats (which are my specialty) are sometimes unmatched, and sometimes (rarely) a little lacking. But perhaps it's long enough and no one wants more strategy and detail 😂 ... but I do *shrugs*“Behind every throne is a masked servant who seeks only to make a puppet of the one who sits on it.”Now the POLITICS, which was the golden point of it all! Very smart, wicked, and creative; I was utterly impressed by how she brought it to life! A highlight:“To ensure an heir, the Dukes Spiritual must paint a certain picture of the Inysh court and its eligible queen. They needed you gone, so they ... painted you out.”It doesn't rival Martin's storytelling ... but it's on the right path :) Kit's words with a little alteration would explain my feelings best: “This is a fine book. I believe I would marry this book, were I a book myself.” Characterization Ead (POV): a mage and strong warrior, with an open heart and open mind, she smells secrets and uncovers them. To put it in one word: she's inspiring!“I do not fear that which I do not understand.”Tané (POV): yes she is single-minded and has the wrong priorities—but she's young (youngest MC, 19) ambitious, and courageous. A girl with a dragon's heart. And I loved her, dearly.“The sea is not always pure. It is not any one thing. There is darkness in it, and danger, and cruelty. It can raze great cities with its rage. Its depths are unknowable; they do not see the touch of the sun. To be a Miduchi is not to be pure, Tané. It is to be the living sea.”Niclays (POV): an alchemist with madness in his blood, a man of shadows with a life of pure tragedy—“too heartsore to live, too craven to die” ... Clay is my #1 fave character in the book! He was the most real and conflicted, and I was in awe of his journey (view spoiler)[and its parallels with the stages of alchemy (hide spoiler)]...“You have a ghost, Niclays. Do not become a ghost yourself.”Pain doesn't change us—but it neither reveals our true selves; it only inflames our worst instincts. Clay was a passionate man who was dealt a cruel hand, and turned ruthless to pay life back. He did it all only to return home. Anything to return home.During the book I had tears in my eyes only 6 times—and 4 were for Clay: (view spoiler)[Kit's death, Lievelyn's death, Clay remembering Jan, giving up on the ship, wanting to be better, returning to Mentedon.Like no matter how many times I reread this, it always gets to me 😢: “I don’t want to carry on! Do you not understand? Does nobody in this world understand, damn you? Is no one else haunted?” (hide spoiler)]Loth (POV): a religious kind loyal man who is trusting to a fault. But he is also a quick-learner and strong, brave, and determined.“Art is not one great act of creation, but many small ones. When you read one of my poems, you fail to see the weeks of careful work it took me to build it—the thinking, the scratched-out words, the pages I burned in disgust. All you see, in the end, is what I want you to see. Such is politics.”To name other characters I LOVED: Kit the hilarious, genius, charming poet. Sabran the golden-tongued, an unforgettable queen, a self-righteous fool, and a woman I would not change for the world.“You say you desire truth, but truth is a weave with many threads” Kalyba the wicked witch and my devious love. Captain Harlowe the privateer adept at survival. Estina the wise, clever, and bad-ass sailor. The Emperor, witty, charismatic, and irresistible. Aubrecht the charming puppy I wanna hug. Truyde the “sharp little fox”. Sulyard the precious passionate open-minded idiot.“Not all dreams should be pursued, especially not dreams conceived on the feather-bed of love.” Susa the girl like a cat, always landing on her feet (view spoiler)[but no longer :'( (hide spoiler)]. Onren the amazing and memorable friend. Chassar the honourable and discreetly wicked man. And ooh I shipped Sarsun the sand eagle and Aralaq the ichneumon 😂 Relationships I'll start with romance: it's one of the best—not only does it develop gradually, but also the chemistry is so real that I shipped them from their first scene; I clapped in glee when it finally happened and was all emotional at the ending!“All of us have shadows in us. I accept yours.” He placed a hand over her ring. “And I hope you will also accept mine.”With a tired smile, she threaded her fingers between his. “Gladly.”But not all characters have romance. In fact, friendships are the author's strongest point! From “sea sisters, two pearls formed in the same oyster” to friends with the opposite beliefs, I'd say my all-time fave relationship in TPOTOT is Ead and Loth's friendship—it's platonic, and a moving example of how two very different people can be such steadfast friends :)) Worldbuilding A uniquely rich and original world, with one-of-a-kind magical creatures and myths, detailed and fully-developed—from the fantasy elements to cultures and religions, it has it all! For more on what it was inspired by, check the Inspirations & Themes section above.A layout of the lands of TPOTOT:Virtudom, followers of the Six Virtues of Knighthood and the Saint ↴I'm not sure if the nations of Virtudom are independent and only hold Inys as a holy symbol, or if they're under its rule? I think it's something like the United Kingdoms though.• Queendom of InysRuled by descendants of the Saint, Galian Berethnet.Hypocrites who have blind faith and see everyone else as heretics.Inysh revel in things and adornments—not gonna say what countries that reminds me of, but I see it around me a lot 😂• Kingdom of Hróth• Free State of MentendonMents value evidence. They have fingers in every pie and there is no place in the world they refuse to go.South, followers of the Dawnsinger and the Mother ↴• The Ersyr• Domain of LasiaHome to the Priory of the Orange Tree, a society of female mages trained to slay wyrms.Draconic Kingdom, followers of the Nameless One and wyrms ↴• YscalinEast, followers of Kwiriki and dragons ↴• Empire of the Twelve LakesRuled by the Unceasing Emperor and the Imperial Dragon (leader of all Lacustrine dragons)• SeiikiHome to Clan Miduchi (dynasty of dragonriders) and the High Sea Guard What's Next (Theories) Since Samantha Shannon has confirmed there will be more books set in this fantasy world, and considering the loose ends, here's a list of potential story lines for the next installment: (view spoiler)[1) The Imbalance and the Nameless One: no one officially realised what'd caused the Nameless to take shape, but Kalyba all but tells it to Tané when she attempts to use her jewel, “It is not a weapon. It is the imbalance.” Nayimathun also tells Tané exactly what happened millennia ago, “Once, many moons ago, [the comet] left behind two celestial jewels, each infused with its power. Solid fragments of itself. With them, our ancestors could control the waves. Their presence allowed us to hold on to our strength for longer than we could before.” And thus there was too much sterren, and to balance it the Nameless one, aka the miscreation of siden, came to be. What does that mean now that the jewels are out and about, being used? *drum-roll* ... the Nameless One may return :| He also said something very suspicious himself, “I was born out of the hidden fire, forged in the vital furnace that gave you but one spark. For as long as you live, I will live inside you, in your every thought and memory.” Let's just hope this is the wrong conclusion and it's not happening... 2) The Prophecy: “Your house is built on barren ground. I see chaos, Sabran IX. Beware the sweet water.” No idea what that means. Maybe that Sabran dies?? Keep it in mind bc it's definitely the subject of the next book(s)! 3) Tané and Neporo: other than wanting her as Empress (yes I ship her and the Emperor, fight me!) we know she's gonna hunt down the Golden Empress. But what remains elusive is her legacy and Neporo's full story—a section of the story on the mulberry tree was lost and we don't know what became of her or who drove her descendants to hide the jewel in their side. 4) Kalyba: as the woman who literally knew everything, I suspect she played a role in causing the imbalance, not only bc she acted suspiciously when talking about it, but also bc why would the comet leave behind jewels only that one time? Somebody did something! We also don't know why the dragon needed a human to wield the jewel. And Kalyba knew it, so I want her to come back—which is possible bc of how Neporo's “soul” responded to Tané :) 5) The Sea Maiden: I'm afraid of this girl *shudders* You don't swear revenge on the Emperor and disappear. Specially not if the Imperial Dragon has seen the rotten water inside you. Nope, she's coming... 6) Inys: Sabran wants to make it a republic or democracy? 7) Fýredel: definite villain of the next installment ... he can do a lot of harm all on his own. 8) Arteloth: he's gonna marry the Donmata and Margaret will become the Countess of Goldenbirch, mark my words! (hide spoiler)]Seek not the midnight sun on earth,But look for it within.Farewell. Companions Book playlist:(with songs from author's playlist)[ Spotify LINK to playlist ]• “Star Sky” by Two Steps from Hell (dragons, East, epic)• “Let Me Lie” by Hayley Westenra (emotional, romantic scenes and bonds; author's playlist)• “Hell Shall Perish” by Efisio Cross [Instrumental] (EPIC, soaring)• “Orchid” by Shao Rong [Instrumental] (East, city/friendship moments; author's playlist)• “Prituri Se Planinata” by Stellamara [NiT GriT Remix] (war, chaos, wyrms, witches, EPIC)• “Deep End” by Ruelle (mysterious, suspense/thriller)• “I Bleed for You” by Peter Gundry [Instrumental] (things-going-to-hell, suspenseful)• “The Flow of Water" by Denny Schneidemesser [Instrumental] (East; author's)• “Opening” by Craig Armstrong [Instrumental] (author's)• “Breath” by Ex Makina (mysterious, duels-in-the-night, suspenseful, things-going-to-hell)• “Imminence” by Rachel Currea [Instrumental] (suspenseful, author's)• “A Lullaby of Shimabara” by Mizuyo Komiya [Instrumental] (nostalgic; author's)• “Flood” by Debbie Wiseman, Hayley Westenra [Instrumental] (epic sad, the sea; author's)• “When a Knight Won His Spurs” by Sinnober (Virtudom, friendship, nature, court; author's)• “Nightsky” by Tracey Chattaway [Instrumental] (emotional, leaving/magical parts)• “The Fragmenting” by Jessica Curry [Instrumental] (the desert, sad/nostalgic; author's)• “Ah, alas you salt gods” by Richard Farrant (the ship, the sea, ceremony/wedding; author's)
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  • Lex Kent
    January 1, 1970
    The hype surrounding this book is real. I started reading this book on Saturday morning and only stopped reading it to sleep. And while I devoured this book page after page, now that it if over I almost feel at a loss as to what to do next. I was so connected to the story and the characters that it feels a little crushing that it is over. While I raced to the end of the book, I now wish there was more story left to read. But that is what a really good book does to you so I have no complaints. Ma The hype surrounding this book is real. I started reading this book on Saturday morning and only stopped reading it to sleep. And while I devoured this book page after page, now that it if over I almost feel at a loss as to what to do next. I was so connected to the story and the characters that it feels a little crushing that it is over. While I raced to the end of the book, I now wish there was more story left to read. But that is what a really good book does to you so I have no complaints. Make no mistake this is a wonderful, sweeping, epic fantasy book. If you are a fan of LOTR, Game of Thrones, or Dragonoak, this book is for you. And like those books, this book could have easily been broken up into a trilogy but we are lucky Samantha Shannon let us have it all in one book. I have to give her props for that. How many times have we all had to wait, sometimes years for another installment in a trilogy to come out?! Not only that but it is financially better for an author to draw it out in multiple books. Instead Shannon let us have three years of her work all at once and I could not appreciate it more. I do have to be honest that the book takes a little while to get used to in the beginning. There are a ton of character names, places and things that are newly invented for this book. It was a lot to learn and I found myself thinking, “I don’t know what that mean, just keep reading.” And I did keep reading and all of the sudden everything clicks. I did not even notice when it happened but I suddenly knew all the characters and understood their world. And once that happened I became so wrapped into the story I didn’t even realize I was reading anymore. I was in this magical world going on a grand adventure. There are four characters whose stories and POV you follow: Ead, who is a Mage and Lady in Waiting for The Queen. Tane, a young woman who has trained her whole life in hopes of becoming a dragon rider. And two men named Loth and Niclays. While I love epic fantasy, the reason I picked this book up was the promise of LGBTQ characters. And while I don’t want to give anything away, I will say that yes, thankfully there was a lesfic romance in this book. Actually, the main romance in this book is lesfic. While there is talk of some het characters in love and a gay male couple, the main romance was between two strong, kickass women in love. One thing I really noticed while reading this book is how amazing Shannon’s imagination must be. I would read passages and think how could someone actually come up with this in their mind? The whole book was really impressive. It’s going to be hard for me to read a new book. This is the kind of book that will stay with me for quite a long time. One of my first full 5 stars reads of 2019. If you are an epic fantasy fan, don’t pass this book up!
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  • Charlotte May
    January 1, 1970
    1) This book is available to pick up from the library!!! OMG THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!2) I have like 7 other library books to pick up and I'll need some serious upper body strength to carry them along with this beast.3) Not to mention the like 10+ library books I have at home..... (2 of which are Fire and Blood and War Storm which are also GIANT BOOKS)Send help**************************How did I not notice that this was written by Samantha Shannon? Aka the author of The Bone Season series!! I need 1) This book is available to pick up from the library!!! OMG THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!2) I have like 7 other library books to pick up and I'll need some serious upper body strength to carry them along with this beast.3) Not to mention the like 10+ library books I have at home..... (2 of which are Fire and Blood and War Storm which are also GIANT BOOKS)Send help**************************How did I not notice that this was written by Samantha Shannon? Aka the author of The Bone Season series!! I need this!!!!
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  • ☽ TheBibliotheque
    January 1, 1970
    DRAGON RIDERS. MATRIARCHY. REPRESENTATION.Or in other words, High Fantasy redefined. Yes, High Fantasy made feminist. Made diverse.This beast of a book blew me away in more ways than one. And definitely, in more ways than I would have ever expected. The Priory of the Orange Tree should stand as a new genre, or at least that’s how it feels like.Rich in prose and world building, what moves the story forward are threads and threads of layered characters weaved together. The powerful and female prot DRAGON RIDERS. MATRIARCHY. REPRESENTATION.Or in other words, High Fantasy redefined. Yes, High Fantasy made feminist. Made diverse.This beast of a book blew me away in more ways than one. And definitely, in more ways than I would have ever expected. The Priory of the Orange Tree should stand as a new genre, or at least that’s how it feels like.Rich in prose and world building, what moves the story forward are threads and threads of layered characters weaved together. The powerful and female protagonists are one of the stars of the show. Sabran, a young queen that refuses to wed and bear a heir. Ead, a kickass foreigner secretly sworn to the queen’s protection. And Tane, who has been preparing her whole life for the dragon rider trials and who may have done something with great repercussions.The East and the West, two seemingly independent worlds that are tethered by one creature: dragons. Where one society fears them, the other one worships them. Where one dreads their awakening, the other one knows no greater honour than to be chosen to dedicate their lives to them.As you see, it has the right elements to make a difference and a statement.And at the same time, even if incredibly compelling and attractive, this book is also very intimidating. Even once you've started reading. I'm not only talking about length (+800 pages), but also about complexity. The reader is thrown into a universe where there’s a false sense of familiarity. Yes, the Priory world includes a good share of known high fantasy elements. But it also defines them from a whole new perspective. In addition to that, there’s a merciless firefight of characters. Lots of them, with complicated names and titles that belong to a hierarchy characteristic of this genre that at the same time, belong to foreign realm to the reader. I swear I am not complaining, but this just slowed my reading and understanding pace. (I recall picking up A Game of Thrones a few years back and having this exact feeling so it could be that I’m just used to YA fantasy). Anyway, this made me put down Priory and take a little break to read something else lighter - please don’t judge me? [Edit April 2019] And now that I have been coming back to Priory and making my way through it, I can assure you one thing. I was definitely right, and even if this was a complex read that took me my time to savour, I regret nothing.*Thank you Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me a proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Alice Oseman
    January 1, 1970
    I don't usually get along with high fantasy - heavy world-building tends to bore me and I don't really get any enjoyment from reading about wars/fights/political ploys. But this was just WONDERFUL. PRIORY does have fights and politics (and history and dragons and magic), but its heart lies with the characters, whose flaws, desires, relationships, and struggles are so damn relatable. I just wanted all of them to be safe and warm. Thank you to Samantha and Bloomsbury for sending me a proof many mo I don't usually get along with high fantasy - heavy world-building tends to bore me and I don't really get any enjoyment from reading about wars/fights/political ploys. But this was just WONDERFUL. PRIORY does have fights and politics (and history and dragons and magic), but its heart lies with the characters, whose flaws, desires, relationships, and struggles are so damn relatable. I just wanted all of them to be safe and warm. Thank you to Samantha and Bloomsbury for sending me a proof many months ago!
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  • ⚔ Silvia ⚓
    January 1, 1970
    I DID IT
  • Tiffany Miss.Fiction
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED IT!There's no other way to talk about this book. Best book of the year, best book in years.We get complex characters, we get political intrigues, we get dragons, we get magic, we get a compelling story, we get what i want from an epic fantasy book with predominant female cast. Beautifully written, exciting, deep, shocking, layered, diverse, intense... The biggest issues is the unoriginality of way too many elements and the timeline of the different stories but did i care? Not even a sing I LOVED IT!There's no other way to talk about this book. Best book of the year, best book in years.We get complex characters, we get political intrigues, we get dragons, we get magic, we get a compelling story, we get what i want from an epic fantasy book with predominant female cast. Beautifully written, exciting, deep, shocking, layered, diverse, intense... The biggest issues is the unoriginality of way too many elements and the timeline of the different stories but did i care? Not even a single bit. More books like this please! And don't get scared by the massive size, at 30% you'll devote your life to this and won't live for anything else.
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  • Alexandra Elend Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    10/5 stars “We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.” The Priory of the Orange Tree is a masterpiece of world building and characterization of the likes of Brandon Sanderson and J.R.R. Tolkien, and I don't compare anyone to them lightly. Truly delightful. The amount of time and thought that Shannon used to create this world and its history shows on every page that you read, and it's really satisfying to see and get immersed in it. The consisting s 10/5 stars “We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.” The Priory of the Orange Tree is a masterpiece of world building and characterization of the likes of Brandon Sanderson and J.R.R. Tolkien, and I don't compare anyone to them lightly. Truly delightful. The amount of time and thought that Shannon used to create this world and its history shows on every page that you read, and it's really satisfying to see and get immersed in it. The consisting storytelling and plots that go over a thousand years and connect everything are well done. The feeling of an old, old world is perfectly captured and represented.Shannon's writing style was, also, perfect for the story. Mythical and ancient, dreamy and full of resolve, it captures the story and characters easily. You don't need more than an encounter with them to start to understand who they are and at what lengths they are ready to go to see their goals achieved. “To be kin to a dragon,” Nayimathun said, “you must not only have a soul of water. You must have the blood of the sea, and the sea is not always pure. It is not any one thing. There is darkness in it, and danger, and cruelty. It can raze great cities with its rage. Its depths are unknowable; they do not see the touch of the sun. To be a Miduchi is not to be pure, Tané. It is to be the living sea. That is why I chose you. You have a dragon’s heart.” Dragons! One of the things that prompted me to want to read this book was the promise of an epic tale with dragons. And, oh was it satisfying.The dragons that The Priory uses are more based on the Asian version of dragons, -the good ones, anyway- yet, she manages to make them feel completely unique. The descriptions that accompany them made want to see one so badly they are, clearly, truly majestic creatures. They are a very important part of the story, yes; yet, they don't overshadow our human heroes but rather complement them and the balance is something I truly enjoyed. The bad dragons or wryms are more based in the western version of dragons. The contrast they create in my head is a beautiful clash of power and strength. "She was lost and found and wandering, all at once. At the cusp of dreaming, yet somehow never more awake." The story captured me from the very beginning. The prospect of discovering what were they talking about hooked me and rooted me in my spot. Far from been confusing or overwhelming, I found to be enticing and appealing.It has fast-paced action in every turn. There is always something new happening. We're always discovering new turns and avenues. New details, that if not always shocking are always rewarding.The characters and the variety in personalities, cultures, and backgrounds help to make a healthy mix assuring that you'll find someone you like at the same time that portrays accurately the differences we would encounter all over the world. The fact that as a fantasy it takes issues from reality and places them into her world, treating with them with a lot more maturity than they will ever be treated in our world was, also, satisfying. “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.” Now, even though I LOVE this book, I must admit I have a few issues with it. Mostly with the ending. It just felt a bit... rushed. We had been preparing for it for so long for it to happen so fast. I was ready for a big, long battle, instead, I was given this. And it was fine. It truly was. But I felt a bit cheated there.I get it would have taken time to do it, but, I mean, the book is already over 800 pages long, what would have been another 100 or so? I wouldn't have minded. (view spoiler)[ Also, the fact that no one died? Really? You go to a huge, dangerous war, and nobody dies? I can't believe that. Yes, we have some scared. That's good. But I wouldn't have minded seeing some deaths. Much more realistic if you asked me. (hide spoiler)]Aside from that, and this is just something that I find kinda funny mostly. The name "Virtudom."Seriously was I the only that was like "really, that's the name? It's not a joke?" while reading it?All I mean is she creates this awesome world, gives it kickass names and then goes and calls this religion and place "Virtudom." For a second I thought she must have been running out of ideas and creativity and named it the first thing that came to her mind. Later I realize that it kinda makes sense since the people from said realm are a bit foolish and non-creative. But I still find it funny. Sorry. "No woman should be made to fear that she was not enough." The badass female characters that this book overflows with are, obviously, a great addition to it.I loved all of them. Specially Sabran and Ead.I was a complete mess whenever they appeared together. So perfect. I was, obviously, fangirling whenever two of them met! I mean, it was so cool. "Remember that whoever and wherever you are, the realm of adventure will never be closed to you. You are your own shield." This a fantasy, the books remembers and knows it very well, but, we still have some romance. Some, not too much, which I'm grateful for.Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance as much as the next person, but, it peeves me whenever I'm reading fantasy and their major focus is the romance. That does definitely doesn't happen here. We have touches of it. That's it. And not every character has a romantic arc. As it happens all the time in real life. They are perfeclty happy alone. “All of us have shadows in us,” he said. “I accept yours.” He placed a hand over her ring. “And I hope you will accept mine.” I stand by my decision of giving the book 10/5 stars. Why? Will you wonder now that I've talked about the things, that are there, that I didn't like. Well, it's simple really. I loved the book despite it's flaws. All its parts combined, all its strengths and epicness together outweigh by far all the details I did not appreciate. I've had time to think it over and I remember it fondly. It makes my heart race and gives me that perfect sense of nostalgia which comes just with the best books. “Margret,” he said, “you are my child. I forgave you all your sins on the first day of your life.” Now, I'll like to add a brief-ish description of the most important characters. SPOILER AHEAD so don't read it if you haven't read the book. I repeat. SPOILERS AHEAD, READ UNDER YOUR OWN DISCRETION. Arteloth “Loth” Beck: Starts out as someone too kind for his own good. Grows into a capable and valiant man. His heart stays true to the important things and is one of the best friends I’ve encountered ever. Fights for what he considers right. Sabran Berethnet IX (Inys): She wears a heavy burden since she was a child. Her love for her people is immense and has in mind her duty, even though she tries to find other ways to secure it without having to sacrifice –completely- her happiness. Lonely and scared, I love her vulnerability, showing us that you can be both, strong and vulnerable without diminishing yourself. She comes across as spoiled and arrogant at the beginning, but as things start to deteriorate and she starts learning the truth she adequates. A true Queen. Ready to change and hear opinions in order to save her people. She really rises to the challenge. I simply love her. Eadaz du Zala uq-Nara/Ead Duryan: A warrior of strong beliefs but an open mind. She defies death more than anyone I’ve ever met, but I’m so glad for it. She’s caring but will sacrifice in order to do the right thing, even her biggest dream in the world, somehow managing to stay true to herself through all of it. Tané Miduchi: Selfish and single-minded. Ambitious to the point that she didn’t care what she had to do in order to achieve her dreams. Has to be beaten and fall to the lowest point she could have possibly fallen in order to start thinking of the bigger picture. Still, despite all her shortcomings, she has great courage and skill, a good heart and incredible inner strength. Niclays Roos: Rotten. His life wasn’t easy and after tragically losing her one true love –after never had been allowed to love him publicly and freely- loses himself to his sorrow and lets himself fall to the lowest depths. Has to suffer greatly, and find a kind soul, in order to decide he can do better. I don’t particularly like him, I understand his loss and towards the end, he gains my respect. But. I. Don’t. Like. Him. Laya Yidagé: A pirate, but a good one. She’s the translator and interpreter of The Golden Empress out of the necessity of staying alive. Helps Niclays and inadvertently shows and reminds him he can do better. Chassar uq-Ispad: Presumably Ead’s father, though is never confirmed. He’s loyal to the Priory of the Orange Tree, but above all, he’s fiercely protective of Ead. He’ll do anything for her even give his life in order to help her when given the chance. I respect his strength and love. His loyalty may misguide him sometimes but in the end, his heart guides him true. Mita Yendaya: An extremist, narrowed-minded. She believed strongly that the South was the only place worth saving and goes as far as murder in order to make sure her vision is accomplished. She doesn’t care for anyone’s else’s opinion, if it’s not the same than hers then is wrong. The rest of the world can burn as far as the South is safe if left to her. Nairuj Yendaya: Duty-bound. She wasn’t exactly friendly to Ead as a child but grew up to be a wiser person and live such things behind. She’s not blinded by loyalty to a person, she’s rather more loyal to an ideal. When given the order to kill Ead she uses a diluted form of the poison, which saves her life, fact that I will forever admire her for, since doing so endangered her. Gian Harlowe: Possibly Sabran’s father. He’s aware of that fact and cares for her from a distance. He’s believed to have sailed through all the known seas and to be very brave. Kind of a living legend. Grants safe passage to Loth and Ead in a couple of occasions. Igrain Crest (The Cupbearer): Religious fanatic, crazy. Believed herself to be the judge of queens and fit to decide what they could and couldn’t do. Stages multiple attempts against the life of Queen Sabran IX because she hadn’t married yet. Tries to usurp the throne once Sabran becomes incapable of producing an heir. And as a greater show of her madness is proud of it. Got exactly what she deserved. Kalyba/ Lady of the Woods/ The Witch of Inysca: Her character is kinda complicated and that makes her more interesting. Having eaten from the Hawthorn Tree before anyone else she became immortal. Therefore, also becoming the only person alive who knows the truth of what happened with Cleoilind and Galian a thousand years ago. I really enjoyed her storyline, I think it was very twisted and fitting for such a complicated world. Her final is well deserved and a little bitter-sweet. Living for so long made her forget her humanity and transformed her into a real monster. Kitston “Kit” Glade: The best word to describe him is LOYAL. Even though he could have saved himself the danger of going to Yscalin he decided to go in order to help his friend –Loth- and in doing so he ultimately found his end. His death, been so early on the book, really devasted me, but I think it was perfectly placed. It sets the tone for the rest of the book and leaves you on your toes. I wish he had lived longer, but I think he died very bravely. Margret “Meg” Beck: She’s so sweet! And brave, let’s not forget that she is daring. Ready to help whenever the need arises in any way she is able to. I love her friendship with Ead and how supportive she was of her, even when she didn’t understand what Ead was or what was happening, she just continued by her side. Her relationship with Loth reminds me vaguely of my own relationship with my brother, so that was fun! She totally deserves the happiness that she’ll have. Marosa Vetalda (Yscalin): Isn’t this book filled with strong, capable women? Marosa is one of them, no questions asked. First I must say something about her though, for a lot of the book I thought that her name Marosa was some kind of title the Yscalins gave their princesses. It wasn’t until around the end of the book that it finally dawned on me that that was her name. Anyway, it’s worth it to say that she was a princess who loved her people. She was trying to protect them, putting herself in danger at every second. Also, she’s one of the first rulers to seek help and collaboration from other countries, in a way. We don’t know very much about her fate by the end of the book, except that she was alive and presumably well. Roslain Crest: Another great friend, this time though is towards Sabran. She seems a bit foolish most of the time, and probably is, after all, Inysh aren’t precisely not naïve, but she has always been fiercely protective of Sabran, from threatening Ead, towards protecting her from her own grandmother to leaving every day knowing that she could die in order to protect her Queen and friend against some unbeknownst danger. I’m glad Sabran had such good friends. Seyton Combe/ The Night Hawk: Ruthless, to a point, I guess. He loves his Queen and is loyal first and foremost to her. So, in his zeal, he takes things to a bit of an extreme –vanishing people and such- to protect her or her reputation. He’s presented as a murky, shadowy character and until the end, we don’t get a clearer picture of him. I quite like him. Jannart utt Zeedeur: He’s dead. From the beginning. Still, he manages to influence the story quite a bit. He’s, probably, the biggest reason why Niclays changes and the one that gives him the idea of how to find the Mulberry Tree. I would have loved to get more of him. He seems passionate and goodhearted and it really is a shame he died. Aralaq (Ichneumon): As far as I understand it he is some kind of wolf, need I say more? Oh yeah! He can talk and he’s really fast and big. He’s extremely loyal to Ead since she fed him as a pup, which is kind of adorable. He is also one of the only reasons Loth and Ead are still alive. Fýredel (Wrym): A ball of fierily evil. Probably gonna be the new baddy. Tries to intimidate Sabran and ends up scared away by Ead and the Siden in her veins. I never really understood why he was so loyal to The Nameless One, but whatever. Also, the real King of Yscalin since he controlled King Sigoso with his Draconic Plague. The Nameless One (Wrym): A big ball of evil that was birthed from the fiery pits of the earth when an imbalance between Siden and Sterren came. Immense and with an armor of scales that are nearly impenetrable. We never really get to know what he wants to transform the world into, and in the book, we get, like, five minutes of him. Presumably dead, though I don’t quite believe it yet. Nayimathun (Lacustrine dragon): Wise, loyal and just. The dragon that chose Tané as her rider. Has to suffer some in order to reunite with Tané. Offers us some information into what the imbalance may be. The Heroes of the Story (Neporo, Galian Berethnet, Cleoilind Onjenyu): All of them lived long ago. Neporo and Cleoilind were the first ones to eat from the Mulberry Tree and the Orange Tree respectively, making them immortal, though Neporo decided to end her own life and Cleoilind died binding the Nameless One. Both were really brave women and protectors of the rising and waning Sterren jewels. Galian, on the other hand, was a fool. He created the whole religion of the Virtues basing them in a lie. For the people of the South, he was The Deceiver, though in reality he, himself, was deceived by Kalyba. He kills himself after learning what Kalyba had made him do. The Instigators (Triam Sulyard, Truyde utt Zeedeur): Probably the two smarter people. Truyde solved a puzzle that the most brilliant minds from her time couldn’t decipher at the tender age of 18. Believing that the West and East needed to form an alliance she created a crazy and reckless plan to help Queen Sabran take that decision, a plan that ends in disaster. She’s ambitious and cunning and brilliant. It’s a true pity she died the way she did. In the other hand, we have Triam who was braver than many. Sailing to the East to plead their case when it is not allowed. He’s a bit foolish and naïve but sets the pieces on movement for the more important people to take action. At least now they are reunited in death and can finally have their life together. Both died without knowing the other was dead. The Kings and Queens [Dranghien Lakseng VI: The Unceasing Emperor of the Twelve Lakes (Lacustrine), Jantar Taumargan I (Ersyr), Hagudo Onjenyu. (Lasia), Raunus Hraustr III (Hróth), Sigoso Vetalda III (Yscalin), The All-Honored Warlord (Seiiki)]: I really appreciate how mature all of them are. I mean, yes, they needed an imminent catastrophe coming in order to reevaluate their protocols and beliefs, but, they did, ad pretty fast too. I’ve seen grown men and women that close up on themselves and refuse to see reason. So that was refreshing. My personal favorites were The Unceasing Emperor and Hagudo Onjenyu. We honestly don’t get a lot of any of them, aside from the fact that they all seem to be just and fair rulers that want the best for their people and are willing to put their lives at risk in order to achieve it. Except for King Sigoso, he was just a bastard. “But monsters often have soft faces. They know how to mask themselves.” _______________________I can't believe this is over. How can it be over? What am I supposed to do with my life now? The Priority of the Orange Tree succeeded my expectations A HUNDRED TIMES OVER, I had already been extremely hyper before reading even the synopsis and now after haven read thw book, well, I can just say that I fell in love. I truly want to do a super long and well-thought review, but for that I need more time, so, for now, this will have to do. _______________________I wasn't, exactly, planning to start this book so soon, but, well, life worked this way and I just can't say no to this book, it would hurt o much, so, I'm just going with it. Super excited though! This is gonna be epic. ______________________Wait a second, is this a fantasy standalone and it has dragons? Uhm, well, damn. Count me in!Also that cover? Gorgeous. I can't wait for this to come out. Just a little bit longer. Thank goodness.
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  • Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk
    January 1, 1970
    I heard this book is a masterpiece and I can't wait to read it! SO EXCITED!
  • Celeste
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. Actual rating: 4.5 stars, rounded up.The Priory of the Orange Tree is among the most beautiful works of literature I’ve ever read. In an age of fantasy where grimdark is by and large the king of the genre, Priory breaks the mold by showcasing breathtaking beauty in its prose. ”We mean to reforge with love what greed has broken.”If grimdark views the world through a filter of ashy sepia, Priory instead views the world through a filter that overs You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. Actual rating: 4.5 stars, rounded up.The Priory of the Orange Tree is among the most beautiful works of literature I’ve ever read. In an age of fantasy where grimdark is by and large the king of the genre, Priory breaks the mold by showcasing breathtaking beauty in its prose. ”We mean to reforge with love what greed has broken.”If grimdark views the world through a filter of ashy sepia, Priory instead views the world through a filter that oversaturated each and every color, giving every inch of itself an otherworldly brightness that I’ve found in very few fantasy tales. The best comparisons I can think of in tone would be The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. In both of these books, as well as in Priory, there are terrible, nigh-apocalyptic happenings, as are found in nearly every fantasy novel that has captured the imaginations of their readers. The difference is that if you took a deep breath inside the worlds of these three books, you would fill your lungs with the heady scent of orange blossoms and lavender and life, as opposed to the heavy ashen air that would clog your throat in the worlds of their grimdark counterparts. I feel that the beauty of these worlds only increases the tension and the stakes if our heroes cannot find a way to save the day. It’s far sadder to me to watch something heartbreakingly lovely go up in smoke than it is something weathered and grimy. That’s my opinion, at least.“You have not seen death, my lord. You have only seen the mask we put on it.”Onto the actual book itself. I feel that high, epic fantasy has become less and less common in the modern incarnation of the genre. Getting to visit a world of magic and dragons was both refreshing and nostalgic. The main reason I rated this book 4.5 stars instead of a full 5 is because I yearned for the aforementioned magic and dragons to have more page time. Instead, there was an overabundance of political intrigue. Thankfully these political subplots were handled very well and maintained my interest, but I would have loved more time with the lovely water dragons and even their evil, fiery counterparts. “We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.”An element of Priory that I found absolutely fascinating was the different religions populating this world. First, religion was founded upon a simple division: those who worship dragons, and those who believe that dragons are the epitome of evil. From there, those who viewed dragons as evil were divided into two camps: those who worship the Saint and believe he is responsible for banishing the king of the fire dragons, the Nameless One; and those who believe that the Saint lied about his involvement and that the Mother banished said dragon. All of these beliefs are founded on fact, but the truth behind them has been hidden for a thousand years. I loved finding out what was actually true, but what I appreciated most was how fervently the followers of each faith believed they were right. There was one perspective character that wasn’t religious but, for the rest, religious beliefs were the foundation upon which their entire lives were built, and they adhered to their beliefs with their whole heart. Without the complex religions with which Shannon fleshed out her world, I think that the story would have been sorely lacking in resonance.”To die in service of a better world would be the highest honor.”Priory is also one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read. I don’t mean in actual romance between two people, though there was plenty of that and it abounded in both diversity (featuring two same sex romances) and depth of feeling. As I mentioned earlier, the tone and setting of this book are incredibly bright, and there’s just something inherently romantic about the setting and world building that had me sighing over a plethora of descriptions. This romance was largely accomplished by Shannon’s descriptive abilities but especially by her ability to craft stunningly lovely prose. Priory is a book I read slowly, rereading passages because they were just so pretty, both in how they were written and in what they were conveying. I did feel that there were some elements of the ending where the beauty of the prose muddled the action just the tiniest bit, but it was still a joy to read and I could visualize every element of the big final battle.“Ghosts were the voices the dead left behind. Echoes of a soul taken too soon.” If you’re looking for a fantasy that feels fresh and bright and beautiful, I implore you to pick this book up. If you’re looking for romance that is deftly handled but doesn’t dominate the plot, you’ll definitely find that here. It’s also physically a gorgeous book and will look amazing on any bookshelf. I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the lovely artwork was one of the major contributing factors to my preordering this book and reading it as soon as I received it. The Priory of the Orange Tree is bright and beautiful and romantic, and will have you sighing over its lush prose and world building.
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  • Emer
    January 1, 1970
    I finished a high fantasy tome.... Me. A person who swears she hates fantasy. And more surprisingly... I REALLY BLIMMIN ENJOYED IT!!!!Like yes. It took an age to get going and really the characters aren't all that brilliantly drawn and it's quite confusing to remember who exactly is who because there's a cast of thousands in this book (okay maybe not technically thousands but there are a shedload). BUUUUUUUT..... I had a blast!!! I'm guessing if you're a big fantasy reader this might feel a litt I finished a high fantasy tome.... Me. A person who swears she hates fantasy. And more surprisingly... I REALLY BLIMMIN ENJOYED IT!!!!Like yes. It took an age to get going and really the characters aren't all that brilliantly drawn and it's quite confusing to remember who exactly is who because there's a cast of thousands in this book (okay maybe not technically thousands but there are a shedload). BUUUUUUUT..... I had a blast!!! I'm guessing if you're a big fantasy reader this might feel a little too similar to books you've read previously... I mean the book tried to twist and surprise the reader but ultimately it was rather formulaic even to this non-fantasy lover. And the characters...I didn't really empathise that much with the ones I was supposed to feel for, never truly felt any great connection to them... And that was definitely down to a case of being told how and what the characters were thinking and feeling rather than really being shown authentic emotion. I did love the writing though. It felt researched. I truly could see the thought that had gone into the tiny details in creating this faux historical world and you know....DRAGONS!!!!! Who doesn't freaking love dragons?!?!?!?!?!?!? And I love that this is a standalone. It's the reason I picked this up. I hate books that go on for years and years and years and years..... I mean I wouldn't be surprised if Samantha Shannon revisited this world in books to come but this particular book has a proper ending here. So yeah... It probably deserves a three star rating for its slowness and for its underdeveloped characters (and predictably clichéd schmaltz-fest of an ending) but I'm giving it four because I had a fabulous time reading it.
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  •  Codie's Book Corner
    January 1, 1970
    To everyone who has asked me if the hype is real, is this 800 page beast worth it? YES, YES IT IS!
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