The Priory Of The Orange Tree

The Priory Of The Orange Tree

Jaiden Heaton, Staff Reviewer

The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is a standalone novel well worth the read. This is a high fantasy novel with a bit of romance. We follow Arteloth “Loth” Beck, Eadaz du Zāla uq-Nāra (Ead Duryan), Niclays Roos, and Tané. Ead resides in the west at the beginning of the book. Ead was born in the south and was sent by the Prioress to protect Sabran IX, Queen of Inys. Their relationship is amazing and I love the way Samantha Shannon develops it throughout the story. Important things to know about the west are; they are very religious and follow the Six Virtues of Knighthood, they despise dragons and wyverns, and they’re against nameless one. Loth is in the north at the beginning of the book. Loth is very close to Ead and more importantly Sabran. He gets sent to Yscalin because of how close he is to her. The north, specifically Yscalin, have recently stopped following the Six Virtues and are now worshiping the Nameless One. Niclays and Tané are in the south at the beginning of the book. Tané’s storyline follows her journey becoming a dragonrider and a choice that may risk everything she has built up to that point. Niclays’s storyline follows him being exiled from his country, his grief over his past lover, and all the terrible decisions he has made in the past. The east has cut off the rest of the world because of fear of the red sickness and the other nations don’t really like dragons, and they worship dragons. What secrets will they uncover and will they stop the Nameless One from rising. 

  I loved this book because of things like the writing, character dynamics, world build, romance, and the themes explored. The writing really managed to capture that fantasy and other worldly vibe. The characters all managed to have meaningful, at times funny, and interesting storylines. The romance was a great addition to the story and I felt it never overstayed and they actually had chemistry. On the note of romance in this book, don’t go in expecting this to be a romance book. Yes it has romance in it, but that’s not what the main plot is about at all. I saw many people on TikTok trying to claim it’s a romance when it isn’t. This novel carries themes of grief, loss, hope, exploring and moving on from the past, and looking to a brighter future. Loved the diversity. The twistest were well built up, and I still felt surprised by a lot of them. Other things that I enjoyed that were added were maps, persons of the tale, glossary, and timeline. All this creates a beautiful, must read story. 

  There isn’t much I don’t like about this novel personally, but here are some things others might have an issue with. This is a very long novel, my copy had eight hundred and four pages of the actual story. There’s a bit of a pacing issue, I was able to look past it and it wasn’t much of a problem for me, but that might not be the case for everyone. The story might have worked better if it was split into two books instead of one, because we never really get to slow down and there’s a lot of story to tell. 

  I gave this book five stars. This is definitely worth reading if you have the time and are interested. There is a standalone prequel set to come out on February 28, 2023 called A Day of Fallen Night.