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

The Priory of the Orange Tree…

About the Book:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Bone Season, a trailblazing, epic high fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons – and the women who must lead the fight to save it.

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.

My Thoughts:

Epic fantasy just got a new masterpiece added to its shelf! The Priory of the Orange Tree is Samantha Shannon’s first foray into fiction outside the world of The Bone Season series, and she has hands down proven that she has everything it takes to build worlds, bring them crashing down, and piece them all back together again. The Priory of the Orange Tree is epic in scope and length, clocking in at just over 800 pages, but once the scene was set, my attention never wavered. This is fantasy with an adrenalin shot of feminism, a world where women take centre stage, lead and fight, rule and usurp, win and lose, but always, without fail, never stand in the shadow of a man.

The world within The Priory of the Orange Tree is on the cusp of annihilation, a beast that has been held captive for a thousand years is about to rise; all nations are at odds and are ruled by beliefs that prevent cooperation. As the truth is revealed and the urgency for cohesion mounts, two women, a dragonrider and a dragonslayer, must unite and fight together to crush an ancient beast and break a curse that will rewrite history.

Dragons? Yes, THERE ARE DRAGONS! So many dragons, both good and evil, and wow, Samantha Shannon has such amazing skills as a writer, bringing these beasts to life in such a way that I could picture them perfectly. And dragons aren’t the only mythical creatures to grace the pages of this novel. It’s utterly fantastic.

There are so many stories within this story as well. Legends and myths, tales of old, all woven into the narrative with precision. Fantasy is not always easy to read, but The Priory of the Orange Tree is highly accessible and if you’re in need of a fantasy read for a challenge or you just want to try something new, this is the one! On the front of the cover, there is a quote that reads: ‘Deserves to be as big as Game of Thrones.’ Yes! It most definitely does. I have read all of the Game of Thrones novels, and lets be frank, I liked them, don’t get me wrong, big fan, but there are hundreds of pages that just waffle, on and on. Samantha Shannon has given us a series within the one novel: concise, epic, highly imaginative and extremely readable fantasy that offers a contemporary twist within an old world setting. Outstanding!

‘The eruption of water rose high enough to obliterate the stars. Amidst the chaos, a shape took form.
No artist had captured the magnitude of the enemy, or the way the fire inside him made him smoulder. They had never seen it for themselves. His wingspan was the length of two Lacustrine treasure ships. His teeth were as black as his eyes. The waves crashed and the thunder rolled.’

I read this novel so voraciously that I have worn the blue foil off of the lettering on the cover! Such a shame too, because the cover is spectacular. The Priory of the Orange Tree is also ideal for a buddy read (it might be too big of a commitment for a book club). I read it with Brooke from 1girl2manybooks, which was a lot of fun. The Priory of the Orange Tree deserves to get a big following which will hopefully push it onto our TV screens. I can live in hope, anyway!


About the Author:

Samantha Shannon is the New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of The Bone Season series. Her work has been translated into twenty-six languages. This is her fourth novel and her first outside of The Bone Season series. She lives in London. / @say_shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree
Published by Bloomsbury Circus
Released on 26th February 2019

14 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

      • I’m not sure. I’ve got the GoT series ready to go (so impressed to hear you’d read it) and think I should get to that first before this one. But I enjoyed seeing you review this one, it’s completely different to what you’ve reviewed so far this year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It took me three months of back to back reading to get through GOT. I read it about 6 months before the show was released. Phenomenally good, even if he does waffle on at times (he gets lost in his own descriptions often) and I still think the books are better.
        I don’t read fantasy often, super choosy about it, but it was fun to break out of my usual zone!


      • I’ve just started watching the entire series again before the final season comes out next month. Then I’ll start reading the series next year. I didn’t want to become confused between the books and the TV show and needed to keep them separate in my mind. With an epic fantasy show like that with sooo many threads, I didn’t want one to muddy the waters of another.

        Liked by 1 person

      • And it would do that too. I was so glad I read all of the books before the series even came out. The two have always been separate for me. I bought the books before they became popular again, all of them in an ebook bundle for $24. A student had recommended them to me, he was really into them and knew I liked to read so I gave them a go. You can’t get them for that kind of deal now! 😁


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