Reviews

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

sheva's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.25

Very good and very epic. It didn't hold my interest as intently as [book:The Fifth Season|19161852] but I still enjoyed it quite a bit, especially for high fantasy.

milasimperium's review against another edition

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5.0

ICON, NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE, WHOLLY UNIQUE, ORIGINAL ETC.

Seriously, this book is so good. The first 70 pages or so are a bit slower, but once you get into the story it flies by.

layra's review against another edition

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

ivyaus_hk's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional inspiring slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25

smartestpink's review against another edition

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5.0

the best book of the year!!

leagolas's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional inspiring mysterious medium-paced
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

I loved this from start to finish. I don't know what else to say. This is the best thing I've ever read and I'd sell my soul to be able to read it for the first time again. Truly one of the books of all time.

lloneill's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

clauleesi's review against another edition

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5.0

Growing up with [b:The Lord of the Rings|3263607|The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)|J.R.R. Tolkien|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1486871542l/3263607._SY75_.jpg|3204327], [b:ElfQuest|20176578|The Complete ElfQuest, Volume One|Wendy Pini|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1454613452l/20176578._SX50_.jpg|28031707], [b:Eragon|113436|Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1)|Christopher Paolini|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1366212852l/113436._SX50_.jpg|3178011] and the likes, I've always been deeply in love with high fantasy. Unfortunately I do find it quite hard to come across these days, and one of the only really good ones I've read recently is [b:The Queen of Blood|25036395|The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia, #1)|Sarah Beth Durst|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1462331047l/25036395._SY75_.jpg|44712641]. That is, until I found [b:The Priory of the Orange Tree|40275288|The Priory of the Orange Tree|Samantha Shannon|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1527807139l/40275288._SY75_.jpg|50139944].

In the West, in the queendom of Inys, house Berethnet has ruled for over a thousand years. Their family is of the sacred Saint, and they're prayed to as divinities. Sabran Berethnet, the only one of her blood left, has to have a daughter, and soon - if not, the Nameless One will return. Ead Duryan, Sabran's lady-in-waiting, has many secrets of her own, and one of them is that she is at the Inysian court to protect Sabran from all kinds of dangers. Her ways to protect Sabran, and the power she wields, would have her executed.

In the East, Tané awaits her destiny. She has trained her entire life to become a dragonrider, but when she encounters a stranger the night before, she breaks the rule and it sets new paths in motion.

Right from the start, we are made aware that the world [a:Samantha Shannon|5830526|Samantha Shannon|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1450373891p2/5830526.jpg] has created is immense. Her world-building is up there with the likes of [a: Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1394044556p2/38550.jpg], and I was very glad multiple times that we had maps to rely on. That said, the setting, magic-system, different cultures, religions and history was a bit confusing in the beginning, but please don't let this put you off from reading this book. It all will be explained, and by then you won't wan't to leave this world of witches, dragons, magic-inducing fruits and alchemists. The picture [a:Shannon|5830526|Samantha Shannon|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1450373891p2/5830526.jpg] painted for us was so vivid and colourful that it felt real. This world and magic was really one of the things I loved the most about [b:The Priory of the Orange Tree|40275288|The Priory of the Orange Tree|Samantha Shannon|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1527807139l/40275288._SY75_.jpg|50139944], and probably the thing that makes it stand out the most.

As for the characters; at the beginning they did feel a bit stiff for me, and this was something that I did occasionally feel throughout the novel. It was not that they were poorly written, or not fleshed out properly - I just didn't attach myself to many of them. And considering how long this book is, that is something worth commenting on.

The exception to this was Sabran. Even if we never get to see her from her own perspective, Ead's view of her showed us all we needed to know, and I loved the complex creature that she was. She also had the biggest character development of everyone, which is something I always warm up to. Sabran's and Ead's relationship was also the most wholesome part of [b:The Priory of the Orange Tree|40275288|The Priory of the Orange Tree|Samantha Shannon|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1527807139l/40275288._SY75_.jpg|50139944].
Spoiler[a:Shannon|5830526|Samantha Shannon|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1450373891p2/5830526.jpg] really said gay rights with all her chest, and gave us not one, but two, sapphic goddesses.


“Her feelings had come like a flower on a tree. A bud, gently forming - and just like that, an undying blossom.”

I also got very attached to Tané and Nayimathun, her dragon. I am always a sucker for dragons in general, but especially kind and wise ones that bond with one (1) human they have chosen for themselves. This relationship stayed pure and forgiving until the end, which I was very thankful for.

As for [a:Samantha Shannon's|5830526|Samantha Shannon|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1450373891p2/5830526.jpg] writing - it was good. In fact, it was very good. My only complaint might have been, as I said before, that some of the characters felt a bit stiff at times. Other than that, she wrote with an amazing flow that made me forget over and over what a big book this actually was. There was never a dull moment, and lots of clever foreshadowing. Her writing wasn't the most beautiful one, but I am comparing her to my favorites [a:Laini Taylor|324620|Laini Taylor|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1224474224p2/324620.jpg], [a:Madeline Miller|176372|Madeline Miller|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1322861610p2/176372.jpg] and [a:Alix E. Harrow|9823112|Alix E. Harrow|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1605188394p2/9823112.jpg], which might not be fair. [a:Shannon's|5830526|Samantha Shannon|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1450373891p2/5830526.jpg] writing is really good, just not as pretty as the authors I mentioned before. That is, however, not to say that we didn't have many, many beautiful moments.

“But when the heart grows too full, it overflows. And mine, inevitably, overflows on to a page.”

My only true complaint about [b:The Priory of the Orange Tree|40275288|The Priory of the Orange Tree|Samantha Shannon|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1527807139l/40275288._SY75_.jpg|50139944] was that the ending did feel quite rushed. For something that had been building for 800+ pages, the epic battle ended quite quickly and neatly, with no huge casualties to the characters we knew. Quite early in the book I knew that I wanted to read more from this world, but the ending only emphatized that for me - it didn't really feel quite finished.

I already miss this world and it's inhabitants. I want to go back to Sabran and Ead at court, to Tané riding Nayimathun above the sea. To learn more about the Unceasing Emperor, and now what really happened to Naporo. In short, after 800 pages, I still want more. [b:The Priory of the Orange Tree|40275288|The Priory of the Orange Tree|Samantha Shannon|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1527807139l/40275288._SY75_.jpg|50139944] was just that amazing.

celestialfrog's review against another edition

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I didn't connect to any of the characters. 

speciosity's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75