Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

When I first bought this book, the first thing my husband and son said to me was “Why are you buying such a big book?” LOL…

Well, to answer the question, I was captured by the description on the inside front cover page which reads, “A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.”. Then it goes on to describe in three short paragraphs three strong female characters, each with their own goals/agendas and troubles. Plus there were mentions of dragons and a hidden society of mages; all of which I think can make a good fantasy story.

And I was right!

I LOVE this book! On the front cover, there is a quote which says, “Deserves to be as big as Game of Thrones – Laure Eve”. I could not agree more.

A multi-layered story told from multiple points of view and across several kingdoms could have left a reader lost BUT Shannon does such a great job that not only was I never lost but I remembered details from where I left off. It is quite amazing as I took a long while to read the whole book because it was such a big book (more than 800 pages) I only read it at home and didn’t take it with me everywhere. (Well, I did bring it with me when we quarantined during our recent trip to Singapore.) This is all down to the strong characters, intriguing storylines that Shannon has created and her wonderful writing style.

I love how the dialogue is slightly reflective of old royal courts. The words Shannon has selected to use in her descriptions of places and clothing etc have certainly enriched my own vocabulary. I enjoyed learning about things such as partlet and palanquin.

I also enjoyed how Shannon was able to weave the individual stories of the three main characters and the histories of their various countries together to form a cohesive narrative. The exploration of how myths and legends form and how over centuries the truth of these can be distorted to serve whoever is in power is so interesting. She also shows brilliantly how people hold so tightly onto their beliefs and how secrets are created to keep those beliefs, even at the expense of many lives.

I have not outline any of the storyline or even named any of the characters because I really don’t want to give anything away. I do hope what I have written has sparked in you a curiosity to want to read this fabulous book.

Happy Reading!

syc