Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Hello dear readers, I am excited about today’s review. I had bought Priory a few years ago after it was blowing up all over Twitter, but I kind of forgot about it for a while.
I never really knew anything about it. I knew it had dragons and magic, but that was it.
I am angry at myself for not getting to this book sooner, because it is one of my favourite standalone books of all time!
I’m a sucker for a book series, but its not often that I find a book on its own that I love this much.
I will admit right off the hop the only reason this book did not receive a 5 out of 5 is because the world building left me quite confused at times.
I think Shannon did a brilliant job of creating a diverse world, with so many cultures, peoples, and customs. Some of my favourite characters in fiction come from this book, but I found it a bit tough to follow at the beginning because of it all.
There was so much history, so many character names, so many stories that I found it hard to get a grasp of it all.
Once I put the pieces of the puzzle together and started remembering the names, the relationships, and the stories, it all started coming together.
I thought Shannon built a beautiful and diverse world in Priory, and it was just the surface. We get to see several places where there is nothing but a mere chapter of information.
The world of the Priory is definitely one I would want to dive into again.
There isn’t much romance in the beginning of the book. There is marriage and rumors of a love affair, but it doesn’t come across as romance to me.
The romance comes in the second half of the book, in two same-sex relationships.
I will admit that this is the first book I have read where there were same-sex relationships, and I think I picked a good place to start.
The romance doesn’t happen in an instant. It doesn’t even happen after a few chapters. The romance happens over chapters and chapters, between characters that I didn’t think would fall in love.
It felt so natural though. Shannon does a perfect job of taking two characters and making them fall in love. First with the small moments in life, until bigger and bigger moments occur.
It is a true fantasy love story and the realest romance of any book couples that come to mind.
The Characters’ Change
Almost every single one of the main characters are tested throughout Priory. Whether its their beliefs, their physical capabilities, or their wits, they are tested again and again.
Too often characters from books stay the same. They don’t change throughout their stories, or they change in ways that don’t make sense. Priory is different than that.
Priory allows the characters to grow from their experiences. Shannon writes characters that adapt based off of their circumstance, and turn into smarter, better, stronger people.
They change in believable ways, whether in an instant, or more slowly.
Shannon does a lot well with Priory, but this was one of the best aspects of the story.
Magic is both important and hidden in the background in this story. It is a secret art that is looked down upon.
Though dragons are real, and the bonds between them are common, the use of magic itself is very limited.
Even when it is used, we don’t get much of an explanation of it. There are no hard set rules, but it is explained well enough that we understand what can be done.
The Final Thoughts
I love The Priory of the Orange Tree. I love the world, the characters, and I love Shannon’s writing style.
I don’t often come across books that seem to capture the human essence so well, and because of it I have gotten a hold of the rest of the books by Shannon.
What did you think of The Priory of the Orange Tree? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media.