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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon


Published: February 2019, Bloomsbury (UK)


“because something has always been done does not mean that it ought to be done.”

This book is my first 5 star read of the year! It’s worth every penny to buy and it’s worth double every second you spend reading its many, many pages.

Sat firmly in the high fantasy genre, I know this book isn’t for everyone. It’s big, it’s heavy, and there are a lot of characters and an entire universe to digest so that you can get to the nitty gritty plotlines. It’s also different. It’s new. It updates and refreshes an old fashioned genre. But don’t let this put you off! I implore everyone to give it a try, it comes across at first as skittish, bouncing between multiple characters but the ease with which these characters develop and come into their own is fantastic, building up until you just need to know what happens next.

All of the characters are flawed, dangerous and selfish, working towards their own means and desires while battling their internal voices and this is even apparent in the dragons. I loved the dragons in the novel! Some are vicious and some are kind which makes them so human and so believable as characters in their own right and not just a narrative tool to show an unstable society.

So I can’t tell you who the real ‘main’ character is because they all have their importance and to be honest, I don’t want to show favouritism but I personally found myself drawn to Ead and Queen Sabran which is interesting for me as you don’t get any of the narrative from Sabran’s perspective; everything you know about her you learn through the relationships she has with other characters so you truly get to build your own opinions of her as if you are a character in the novel yourself and this is why I enjoyed reading about Ead so much too as she found herself closest to Queen Sabran and able to explore all of her mentalities which are broad and also devastating. The relationships these two women experience are heart breaking and very relatable to anyone in today’s society without being ‘preachy’ and overused.

Samantha Shannon is a fabulous author who really delves into the worlds she wants to create, exploring everything in minute detail, particularly in regards to language. Her love of words and language development comes across in character names, places and even spelling. It’s a real treat to read an author’s work who genuinely has this addiction to language and all of its nuances allowing us to fully immerse in a believable universe and all in one novel too – a standalone epic (although with definite hints of possible further novels) like this I think is hard to find at this standard and it makes me really excited to read The Bone Season novels.

Goodreads: 5/5


30 something bookish crafter.

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