Review of ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’

The Priory of the Orange Tree may appear intimidating, but with masterful storytelling, it is a quick and enjoyable read from start to finish.

Cynthia B.

The Priory of the Orange Tree shifts between POVs to deliver an exceptional high fantasy with mystical dragons, their fire-breathing enemies, and the Nameless One who threatens all.


The Priory of the Orange Tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree
Samantha Shannon
Bloomsbury Publishing

The Priory of the Orange Tree is truly a masterpiece worth reading. Running over 800 pages, this is one of those novels that seems a bit intimidating but isn’t really.

Let’s begin with Shannon’s world-building. The world-building here is fantastic. The Priory of the Orange Tree story goes to different regions and cultures. The readers see that Shannon pulls together medieval, Arabian, and East Asian folklore to create something new and unique.

You see where Shannon draws her inspiration from while respecting those cultures. Still, she’s making something new here but tangible for the reader to ground them in the story. So the reader is grounded in this fantastic storytelling.

And the way the author can delve into the history of this land without being daunting without dragging the story down creates something worthwhile. The Priory of the Orange Tree is a rich and beautiful story you are lured into. You can start small with 30 pages a day to read this book, but after about 200 pages, you are sucked into the storytelling.


What also works well with the map with the masterful storytelling is the characterization. The story goes between multiple perspectives, which works well for the story. However, again going over 800 pages makes the book look daunting. Still, by breaking up the world-building by breaking up the history and breaking up the magic into different regions and perspectives, you’re getting a bigger picture without breaking up the story’s pacing. This also allows a lot of room for the characters to grow and shine throughout the narrative.

Ead, Sabran, Tané, Niclays & Arteloth are some of the characters and the character Danielle makes here. They shift, they change, and they evolve.

There were times when Sabran early on she was probably one of my least favorite characters. But throughout the story, you understand her a little more. This is a woman whose only duty as queen is to produce a daughter. Her entire Queendom is reduced to one moment, stripping away her power and control over her own life. As her country believes it is her bloodline that keeps the Nameless One bound, the importance of her getting married and having a child weighs on her. Seeing her character explored in depth was captivating.

The same can be said for Ead and Tané.

These were two of my favorite characters. They’re both fierce, but they’re both so different. They both delve into magic, different types that add to the story’s world-building. As a result, the reader sees more diversity and compelling world-building through these two narratives. This is where the reader sees so much respect for other cultures’ folklore.

Final Thoughts

The Priory of the Orange Tree is simply a fantastic novel. This is a novel 100% worth reading. It has such an ease to it despite its length that makes it so easy for the reader to read. However, with her masterful storytelling and characterization, Shannon has crafted a story worthy of acclaim.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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