Review of ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon.

The hype surrounding this book is real. I started reading this book on Saturday morning and only stopped reading it to sleep. And while I devoured this book page after page, now that it if over I almost feel at a loss as to what to do next. I was so connected to the story and the characters that it feels a little crushing that it is over. While I raced to the end of the book, I now wish there was more story left to read. But that is what a really good book does to you so I have no complaints.

Make no mistake this is a wonderful, sweeping, epic fantasy book. If you are a fan of ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Game of Thrones’, or ‘Dragonoak’, this book is for you. And like those books, this book could have easily been broken up into a trilogy but we are lucky Samantha Shannon let us have it all in one book. I have to give her props for that. How many times have we all had to wait, sometimes years for another installment in a trilogy to come out?! Not only that but it is financially better for an author to draw it out in multiple books. Instead Shannon let us have three years of her work all at once and I could not appreciate it more.

I do have to be honest that the book takes a little while to get used to in the beginning. There are a ton of character names, places and things that are newly invented for this book. It was a lot to learn and I found myself thinking, “I don’t know what that means, just keep reading.” And I did keep reading and all of the sudden everything clicks. I did not even notice when it happened but I suddenly knew all the characters and understood their world. And once that happened I became so wrapped into the story I didn’t even realize I was reading anymore. I was in this magical world going on a grand adventure.

There are four characters whose stories and point of view you follow: Ead, who is a Mage and Lady in Waiting for The Queen. Tane, a young woman who has trained her whole life in hopes of becoming a dragon rider. And two men named Loth and Niclays. While I love epic fantasy, the reason I picked this book up was the promise of LGBTQ characters. And while I don’t want to give anything away, I will say that yes, thankfully there was a lesfic romance in this book. Actually, the main romance in this book is lesfic. While there is talk of some het characters in love and a gay male couple, the main romance was between two strong, kick-ass women in love.

One thing I really noticed while reading this book is how amazing Shannon’s imagination must be. I would read passages and think how could someone actually come up with this in their mind? The whole book was really impressive. It’s going to be hard for me to read a new book. This is the kind of book that will stay with me for quite a long time. One of my first full 5 stars reads of 2019. If you are an epic fantasy fan, don’t pass this book up!

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