Rating: 4.5 / 5
I have had THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon on my TBR because I’ve seen it recommended multiple times, but the 800+ page count always had me holding off. I was therefore glad when it was picked for the Magic Mayhem Reads buddy read, and very glad when it was spread out over two months!
THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE takes part in a divided world. The West is ruled by a queendom in need of a female heir to continue the line and prevent tragedy. Ead is one of Queen Sabran’s ladies in waiting, but she is also there to keep an eye on Sabran and protect her against assassins who are getting closer to success. In the East is Tané who has been trained as a dragonrider to become a force of protection. We also hear from Loth who is a friend to the queen and Niclays who has been exiled. The East and the West are strongly divided, but as the world becomes in danger these characters must find ways to protect it.
This book is a lot and I can absolutely understand why so many go back to reread it! I really enjoyed it, but I know that there is much that I would pick up on a reread. The cast of characters is large and it took me a while to settle in to them and to the world building, especially as there really are two worlds (East and West) to develop. Once I was about 100 pages in, I was really hooked though! The writing is very approachable but well done to really flesh out the story.
This book really does have a bit of everything from action to romance, politics and magic. It is all interwoven with the mysteries of history and lore that the characters have to unravel. I especially loved seeing so many really strong, but very different women throughout the book.
This is maybe not one I would recommend to a complete fantasy novice as it is a lot to take on, but it is absolutely one that I’d recommend to the fantasy fans! Though the size is at first intimidating, it is well worth adding to your TBR!