The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Rating: 5/5 Stars Pages: 848 Genre: Epic Fantasy Publisher: Bloomsbury Release Date: February 26, 2019
Inys has been protected by the House of Berethnet for a thousand years. Every Queen bears a daughter to take her place, and thus keeps Inys safe. But Queen Sabran the Ninth has yet to conceive a child, and the attacks on her life are getting bolder and bolder. Ead Duryan is lady-in-waiting at the court, but she leads a double life. She’s actually loyal to a hidden society of mages and her task is to protect Sabran until she has an heir. On the other side of the world, Tané is finally stepping into the role she’s trained for her whole life—a dragonrider, but fate may have other plans for her, and she’ll have to choose between the life she’s always wanted and doing what’s right. The East and West have been divided for centuries, but as dark forces begin to awaken, they’ll need to join together to vanquish it again.
This was an absolutely fantastic book, probably one of my favourites of the year! I’ve had it hanging out on my nightstand for several months now, just waiting for the right time to pick it up. And that right time was definitely last week. I think the scope of the world is absolutely fantastic. It’s a world that plays well on what’s expected of epic fantasy, but manages to turn just enough on its head to be interesting. I also loved the depth of the history and how bits of information (and misinformation!) were shared throughout the book and then tied together so well. Absolutely perfect. The depth of the characters was really what made this book sing for me. I connected so well with the characters, and so many of their decisions (even when it didn’t necessarily seem like a good idea to me) made sense for them. Honestly, they were so well-rounded and real feeling, and there were definitely moments where I didn’t know if they were good or bad (the answer is neither, they were simply human). And let’s be honest, it was great to read about women the same age as me in a fantasy book, just saying. And something else that I really enjoyed about the book. So, this is probably specific to me, but especially in the second half, I really enjoyed the pace of the book. I read this book during some majorly stressful stuff (my cat was sick and at the kitty hospital and there was no way I was sleeping that night), and the fast pace and immersive quality of the world really helped distract me. It was like, all my favourite parts of epic fantasy meets a faster pace, and it was absolutely the book I needed at that moment. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves epic fantasy.
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