Review: The priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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.

I did it! It took me nearly a month but I finished this behemoth of a book.

It may have taken me a while but that is no reflection on the quality of the book (just its size!) I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It truly was an epic fantasy in every sense. There were magic systems, dragons, family dynasties and a sword (among other things).

Switching between Eat and West while following multiple principle characters this book achieved the almost impossible by making each section as enjoyable as the one before. I was never tempted to go flicking through looking for a certain character as i have been with similar layouts before.

With largely female protagonists and world gender politics that saw women as equal to men in all things (I particularly enjoyed the female knights that were just knights) Samantha Shannon neatly avoided having any of them feel like they were written to be ‘strong women’. instead they just were and their sex had no bearing. Skin colour was treated in the same way. It was pleasantly refreshing.

Despite the epic size of the book there were still some characters and areas i would have loved to learn more about.

I adored Aralaq (and really how could you not love a giant talking Mongoose) and would happily have read more scenes with him in.

All in all a fantastic read well worth giving the time too.