In today’s post I am going to be reviewing my experience of The Priory of the Orange Tree. It is not going to be completely spoiler free but I will give a warning before I border into spoiler territory. I need to be able to fully explain why I loved this book so much which is massively to do with aspects of the story and characters. Here is the 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, 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.
My overall thoughts and feelings
As a whole, this book is a masterpiece. It really is a piece of literary greatness. As many of you bookish folk out there have probably heard – it’s gargantuan. This book is no short read by any means. It took me 15 days to finish it! Its extremely daunting starting out because all you can see before you are the 800 pages you still have to get through. Once you start to slowly chip away at it though, it is so worth it.
When I finally reached the finishing line my heart felt so warm. I couldn’t help but smile because I felt like I had just reached the end of an epic adventure and I got to the end with not a single complaint. I mean it, I cannot complain about this book as far as the writing was concerned. My only criticism is that I got arm ache just trying to hold it open! But even still, I feel like I cannot even complain about that because every page of this beast is what makes it what it is.
The story, the characters, the world and all their tiny intricacies make for one of the most heart wrenching and gripping fantasy tales I have ever read. It really pulled at my heart strings as I followed the characters on their own individual journeys.
If you love fantasy, dragons, same sex relationship representation, romance, strong female leads and did I mention dragons? – you will love this book.
The next part of my review is going to go into more detail about the story and characters so click away now if you want to avoid spoilers!
Let’s get into specifics: The characters
For the first few chapters of the book I was more drawn to Tané’s POV chapters. The book begins with her and I could get the best grasp of her story more than the others to start with.
As I got further into the book and started to get my head around what was happening Ead really grew on me. By the end I loved her more than anyone else in the book. I shipped her relationship with Sabran so much!! At no point did I see it coming and from the moment they first had a moment together I wanted to see them flourish. I loved that Samantha included same sex relationships in this book because I feel like its not always represented enough or in the best way. Samantha did a fantastic job of introducing it to the story and maintaining the yearning that they had for each other. I loved it!
Surprisingly, I also found myself to be quite fond of Doctor Niclays Roos. I almost felt a bit sorry for him, but I went off him quite suddenly when he began blackmailing Tané . Who I also went off quite a bit since the beginning. For me, I didn’t like that she was so selfish. She made this choice at the beginning of the book and everyone around her died for it just so she could follow her dream to be a dragon rider. Though this didn’t last, I will admit. In the end she rode her dragon when it mattered the most, facing The Nameless One.
Let’s get into specifics: The Story
The story came together really well in my opinion. I love how the beginning paints the picture of a world in complete division. Everyone is so conflicted and everything is so strict and rigid. And by the end all of those things don’t matter, they manage to put all of that aside and come together to save themselves from The Nameless One.
I love how two characters from completely different ends of the world physically join hands to plunge the beast to its doom. It shows so much meaning behind the depth of traditions and petty rules and regulations. By the end things started to change for the better and it was so heart-warming to see that progression slowly take place. How Ead was able to conform to a place where she didn’t belong and built relationships with people she wasn’t supposed to. That more than anything illustrated hope that the dividing lines could be blurred.
The plot twist surrounding Sabran I LOVED! It took me by utter surprise how that all came together.
Let’s get into specifics: The Ending
The ending gave me butterflies. The fact that Ead and Sabran had to be separated to fulfil their duties. Vowing to come back together in 10 years to be together and start anew. It broke my heart that we would never know if they would ever find each other again. I wanted their story to continue, for them to live happily ever after! *sigh* As this book is a standalone the story ended as it did so we can only use our imaginations to predict what the future holds for them both.
Tané’s chapter confused me… I almost paused and thought she had died? She lay there bleeding and I reread it over and over unsure if she had tried to take her own life or something. But I think she may have put the stone back in her side and that was why she was bleeding.
Have you read The Priory of the Orange Tree? Who was or is your favourite character so far?