The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Publication Date: February 26th 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Blurb: 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, Tane has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, 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.
The Priory of the Orange Tree was a highly anticipated title of mine, I’d heard amazing things and friends who’s taste in books runs similar to mine had loved it so I was gearing up to read a new favourite.
That…did not happen.
“We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.”
The Priory of The Orange Tree started quite slow, which I don’t necessarily mind, however it stayed slow. Even if things were slowly moving along it didn’t really feel like a whole lot of action was taking place. So it was a struggle to get invested because it didn’t feel like that plot was building towards anything. The first spark of ‘oh things are starting to get going – we’re getting somewhere’ – was around 300 pages in, which for me is not fast enough.
One of the major issues for me was that I really couldn’t get behind one of the storylines and it was a problem because it was about Sabran and needing to have a child (aka one of the major plot points of the book). And though I knew it was going to be a significant point because of the blurb I just found it tiresome after a while. It’s such a weird thing to get hang up on and I’m not sure why I had such an issue with it but after a while I was just like please can we hear about something other than Sabran’s pregnant belly. I guess I don’t gel with storylines where women are required to get pregnant for whatever reason.
I did like individual characters like Ead and Niclays but it wasn’t enough to keep me invested. Not to mention a favourite side character was killed and it made me set the book aside for a bit – why did he have to die?!. I didn’t really feel much for Tane’s character either and so the only thing that made her pov interesting was the dragons and there wasn’t much of them (I think another reason I didn’t get into it was the lack of dragons – WHERE ARE THE DRAGONS?! 400 pages in and we’ve seen like 3 of them).
I could see elements of what might have made it a favourite but it ultimately wasn’t enough. I did try and push through because I thought that maybe there was something wrong with me. It had lots of things that should have made me love it but I just didn’t. I gave it my best shot but 400 pages in and I still wasn’t invested and so I decided to dnf it.
I have to say there’s a big part of me that was like should I try and continue? Maybe it’s my general mood and not the book? Why am I not loving this? But even if I decide to revisit it at some point this is how I feel about it now – so here we are one not very well written review later!
“That is the problem with stories, child. The truth in them cannot be weighed.”