The Priory of the Orange Tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Book - 2019
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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, Tané 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.--
Publisher: New York, New York :, Bloomsbury Publishing,, 2019
ISBN: 9781635570298
Branch Call Number: FAN Shan
Characteristics: 830 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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May 26, 2021

"Priory" is one of my all-time favorite books. I am a huge fan of Ms. Shannon's writing style, and her world-building efforts pay off in spades. With a carefully designed and well thought out universe and magic system, Game of Thrones and Eragon fans will likely find themselves at home here.

With a kick-butt heroine (who also happens to be a person of color) as the primary protagonist, I finished "Priory" in a flash, despite its lengthy nature. While I was not a fan of some of the other perspectives (I found one a little uninspiring, which is why I deducted a half a star from my rating), they were all integral to the plot and I found myself genuinely surprised many times over by the plot twists that were in store.

The book was also heartbreaking, something that I did not expect. So many characters were compelling and real, something that can be hard to find in some novels. Ead developed well throughout the novel, furthering my appreciation for the cast of characters. I have recommended this to several people and will certainly continue to do so.

May 14, 2021

probably one of the most beautifully elaborate books I've ever read, you won't regret reading it

Mar 15, 2021

SPOILERS will be included after the first paragraph.
Overall this book was great in terms of how invested I felt in the story and characters. However, things seemed kind of rushed and underdeveloped especially toward the end of the book. Though this book is on the longer side, it could have (and maybe should have) been longer in the form of multiple books. I really wish there was more 'meat', more detail, like the first 1/2 of the book had. This book could have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse too.
SPOILERS: There were parts that were well developed and really helped you follow the story, but then other parts where I was left confused as to how they got there. One moment they were in the castle in Ascalon, and the next they were in the Sea nearing the Abyss. Where were the parts where Ead and Tane were practicing with the jewels? Parts of it seemed underwhelming and anticlimactic, when they should have been overwhelming and climactic. The final battle with the Draconic Army in the Abyss was mostly good, but I found the death of the Nameless One quite sudden. Very little explanation and detail were provided and it was kind of disappointing. The entire build up of the book was for this moment and I was left underwhelmed. Then the remaining chapters seemed rushed and underdeveloped too.

Mar 07, 2021

Great book, instead of constantly pushing progressive propoganda in an annoying fashion, it presents it in a palatable format. Take note progressive authors, this is how I wanna see yalls stuff.

Oct 03, 2020

This book has some of the best worldbuilding I've read. I love how it keeps revealing more aspects of the world and how so many of the twists revolve around finding out more about how it works. It made it so much fun to read!

Jun 12, 2020

I loved this book so much. I like the way the plot untangled slowly until all the secrets of the past were revealed, and the writing itself is beautiful and has lots of lines or images that stick in your mind. also , loved that queer rep, and how it just existed without having to be explained and without any characters complaining or attacking it. this book is a thick boy and low-key hurts your wrists to hold up, but it's a good time.

Feb 04, 2020

In general, I liked the book. The book had tried to create a sense of solidarity (as many fantasies do) with our own reality by creating its Western/ Eastern schisms and also image of the dragons. The overall plot was acceptable and interesting enough to follow through.
Nevertheless, the plot, its tropes of characterization, gender statements and symbolism all stayed painfully superficial throughout the book. The author could have expanded on the characters and deepened our understanding of them. Her way of treating queer relationships seems to be more of following on existing trends and a way of attracting readers/ reviewers rather than one of any true discovery and demystification.

Jan 22, 2020

I just finished this book, and honestly, I'm really sad to do so. Sometimes a story comes into your life, and you just want to go through it forever, and not have to ever let go of the characters that you've come to love so much, and this was definitely one of those. I will say that one of the things that is so refreshing about this novel is that it's ability to have a mixture of male and female characters in positions both high and low. You won't find women being subjugated and injured in the way that you see in other fantasy novels. Of course, there are women who are injured and, yes, even killed, but they go through the story has controllers of their own fate, and the decisions that they make are their own. I cannot stress how amazing and refreshing it is to see that in a high fantasy novel. It's very natural, and there never seems to be too much todo about it, which is terrific. In addition, I read the book in like three days, something that I haven't done with a novel since I was a kid. I spent every waking moment (when I was actively driving, or at work) just devouring the pages, and wanting to know the next thing that happened. It felt to me like such a special thing that while I wanted it to go on forever, I was desperate enough to want to know what happens next.

Yes, there are queer relationships in this novel. As a queer woman myself, it was one of the reasons that I chose to read it (in addition to the feminist aspects, and the fact that women aren't subjected to sexual violence like in so many other fantasy novels). They are well thought out and sometimes heartbreaking. But the thing that I love the most about them is that in this universe, they are not strange or out of place. Of course, there are many things to consider when one is in a relationship (especially in high fantasy, one's station comes into play), but the part that the participants are the same gender doesn't even come up, and that is just awesome. One of the relationships, one that is central to the story is so beautifully written that I would often go back and re-read parts to feel immersed in them again. It was just such a lovely feeling that I didn't want it to end.

All in all, this was just such a great book, I highly recommend that you read it. Honestly, this puts me in mind of G.R.R. Martin or J.R.R. Tolkien except women, queer folks and PoC aren't relegated to side characters, slaves, monsters and servants. They are alive and vibrant and central to this (AMAZING) story. It really shows how good fantasy can be, and how rich it can be when there are a variety of stories told. If you're looking for what modern high fantasy can look like today, if you're interested in the stories of interesting, brave and powerful women, if you're looking for tender queer stories in the backdrop of high fantasy, if you're just looking for a cool story with dragons: This is for you. Please read it, don't wait, you'll love it.

Oct 22, 2019

Simplistically written like a fairy tale targeted at a pre-teen audience. Only persisted for 28 pgs.

Sep 23, 2019

This is a book with mostly female characters in a medieval-type world and not one of them is raped (it's not even hinted at!)... What more is there to say? 5/5. This book is huge but easy to read and the story comes together so well. Could not recommend it enough if you like fantasy.

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Mar 16, 2021

Exis thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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