TL;DR Rating 5/5 Priory of the Orange Tree is one of the best books I read in 2019. I can’t say “the best” because it’s just March and publishers got lots of books for me. However, this is an exciting, epic, character-driven adventure fantasy romance with dragons. Fire dragons, water dragons, dragons who serve evil gods, and dragons who just want a rider. We are taken on a journey into a world of myth and legend with a well ground history of a rich world whose politics and religion have this world’s history baked into it. And there is an orange tree, and the reason for that is so interesting and imaginative I’m shocked Samatha Shannon does have a 20-book series planed out with these characters. Far as I know (and I looked) this is done in one and it doesn’t have to be anything else. If you’re looking for something new in the adult fantasy genre that vibrates with Ms. Shannon’s unique imagination, pick this book up now. Priory of the Orange Tree is that fantasy novel you’ve been waiting for.
Priory of the Orange Tree – Best Story Ever
A princess who is the last of her line, whose ancestral blood is the key to holding an ancient evil imprisoned. A soldier who broke the rules and now suffers the loss of their career, a cursed kingdom, a lethal protector with a terrible secret, a disgraced doctor looking for revenge or redemption, and a pirate queen on a mission. If I seem to be vague it’s because this is a case of me not wanting to spoil this story. Epic is not easy. For instance, Battlefield Earth was clearly trying to be epic, but the Aliens were so Marx Brothers, how the humans blew up a planet was idiotic, and the reason every other alien suddenly is afraid of Earth is that they blew up a planet. It sounds exactly as dumb as it is. On the other hand, the Lord of the Rings is Epic done right. Priory of the Orange Tree, IMO, is Lord of the Rings level epic. It’s a great story that builds a rich, diverse, beautiful world with an interesting magic system and (to repeat myself) an extremely rich history.
Priory of the Orange Tree – Great Motivations
Okay, the big bad is just the big bad. They are only important to the story as an overall McGuffin, but so is Sauron. This book is about the characters and their relationships. And the love story within this book is just as important. There’s a side story that hints at another threat and it does get cut off, but there’s a lot of importance to it and it also ties into the love story. This is the brilliant thing about how Samantha Shannon crafted her characters and their relationship, or how they come together. There danger at every turn, quests for revenge, guests for power, and the big bad threat looming over the entire world. Separate stories develop apart then come together thrillingly and logically.
Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is a MUST READ. If you love high adult fantasy with excellent twists you want to pick up this book yesterday. This is one of those books you read twice or come back to when wanting something written well with heroes you want to root for. Out of all the books I read this year, this one stood out for a very good reason. Priory of the Orange Tree is really that good.