‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon

Synopsis

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 all her life to be a dragonrider, 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.

Review

I have only read an extract of this novel and I can honestly say… Wow! I am already addicted to it, to the extent that the second I finished reading I pre-ordered a copy. Shannon’s ability to create this fantasy world is simply stunning, her descriptions are beautiful and she completely immerses you into a world where dragons exist.

The novel focuses on two separate narratives: Ead and Tané, both strong women in very different ways. I love how Shannon centers her story on two women, neither are lost in the plot but both must overcome obstacles and are underestimated. Ead is a lady in waiting to the Queen, all whilst trying to protect her from assassins using her forbidden magic. Whilst, Tané is an orphaned young girl desperately trying to fulfill her dreams of becoming a dragon rider. Within both narratives you start to see the links between the two women and I hope that this continues in the novel.

Shannon has successfully managed to leave each chapter with unanswered questions creating  an addictive plot where you find yourself forgetting to do other tasks because you cannot put the book down. She has also created two characters, that even when you know very little about them, you are immediately invested in; they are strong, likeable, relateable and intriguing. This novel is full of women: strong, flawed, powerful women. Shannon has created a feminist fantasy where women rule, they fight evil, they support and distrust each other, they love, they fight and ultimately they show that women can be whatever they desire, with or without men, but always by choice. I simply adored the magic, sorcery, dragons, mystery and descriptions.

I loved Shannon’s writing style, it is descriptive, vivid and immersive, whilst the supporting characters enhance the story further, adding further questions into the readers mind. Can we also take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the front cover?! That alone would make me want to read this novel. This could very easily become on of, if not, my favourite fantasy books of all time. I cannot wait for it to be published!

Sadly, I cannot publish an extract currently, but watch this space!

 

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