The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon | OVERHYPED!!!
Book Review of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shanon

An OVERHYPED Epic feminist fantasy that could’ve been a 5-star read if…

Book Review of
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

OKAY!!! So what do I say?

I want to say a lot of things about Samantha Shannon’s latest novel. First among many is that this book ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ is HUGE!!! Gigantically huge!!! And equally huge was my expectations from this overhyped book.

Did it meet my expectations?

No, it did not. It sort of fell flat.

An Epic feminist fantasy ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ is a tale of conflict between cultural historical belief and the truth. Set in a world where women rules and Dragons are worshipped. Samantha weaves a story which has many shades of emotions: love, fear, deceit, etc.

Opening Lines: And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.

Page Counts: 848 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: February 26th, 2019

The Priory of the Orange Tree is Samantha Shannon’s first standalone fantasy book. Like any other standalone fantasy stories, ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ has many complex characters, their histories, and personalities as well as a story spanning multiple continents, which kind of wasn’t executed well.

It had feels of many medieval tales spanning many countries and there was a clear emphasis on the powerful nature of beliefs in different cultures and traditions.

I know, I am being a bit harsh but the truth is The Priory of the Orange Tree felt something of an overstretched and unbalanced. The first few hundred pages develop its characters, backstories, and subplots in frustratingly slow paced. It’s only halfway through it catches pace and becomes reasonably compelling. But the end game was good but failed to impact me as a reader. Maybe a few hundred pages less and this book could have been a 5 star read!
Though Shannon has created a good storyline but she fell in the execution department. Maybe too much details kind of made it an okayish read.

On the other hand, I really loved the narration style. Four narrators with their distinct personality made me want to continue reading and not give up. I also loved her written style smooth and poetic at someplace and it kind of fit with the feel of the story. Her prose sucked me into the narrative, even though it was unnecessarily a behemoth of a book. The fantasy also has some good scenes and a sensuous slow romance.

Do I recommend this book?

I wouldn’t not recommend this book unless you have patience enough to read a behemoth of a book with a mildlingly good read.

My Rating: 3/5 stars


Book Review of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shanon

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I buddy read this book with Sidhhi of bookbabiesandmore.


About the Author, the Author of 'The Priory of the Orange Tree'

Samantha Shannon

Born: London, The United Kingdom


Twitter: @say_shannon

Samantha Shannon studied English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. The Bone Season, the first in a seven-book series, was a New York Times bestseller and the inaugural Today Book Club selection. Film and TV rights were acquired by the Imaginarium Studios. The Mime Order followed in 2015 and The Song Rising in 2017.

Her next novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree, will be published in February 2019. Her work has been translated into twenty-six languages. She lives in London.

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
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One comment

  • Arijit says:

    I have been a long term fan of fantasy and own a fairly significant collection of such literature. So very recently when I chanced upon this book and saw the glowing reviews, I had to read it. My two bits on the effort are as follows – It is a middling read as far as narratives are concerned. While the story has merit, I felt that it lacks the wow factor. The positive conclusion was long foregone and quite unlike what Raymond Feist or Robert Jordan would have developed. It was all too easy in the end. Certain elemental characters were not developed in full and one always got the feeling that the book focussed too much on portraying women as the de-facto lead by denigrating men. One does not have to show men in poorer light to highlight the role of women – by going down that path, the author is guilty of doing exactly what men have done in various fields to the role of women. All narratives build on people and places and ideas. This is an ongoing process and does not have an estimable timeline – by rushing through to the end I feel that Samantha lost out on an opportunity to create a wider stage. Another aspect that struck me was the one dimensional aspect of the narrative – especially when some of the central characters (both good and evil) shared bonds cutting across timelines. That’s all I have to say.

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