Review: Samantha Shannon – The Priory of the Orange Tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree
Samantha Shannon

The Nameless One has been trapped for nearly 1000 years, but slowly its minions are being freed of their bonds and North/South/East/West are all threatened once again. What is it that is keeping the Nameless One at bay? Is it the unbroken line of Queens in Virtuedom or some magery performed in the past?

I was excited for this novel because I hadn’t read a good adult fantasy in quite a while and anything with dragons is bound to take my fancy. Sadly, the dragons (wyverns) were on the evil side of things most of the time, and the good dragon riders hardly figured in the picture with their dragons. It was inevitable that the Nameless One would be freed – everything was just a quibble about how long it would take and who would be responsible for its death.

I initially struggled to keep track of the characters because the perspectives swapped each chapter before I could really get settled into them. As I warmed up to the novel, I loved Ead for her plucky determination, and her patience. However, I felt no fear for the characters’ lives. Either I didn’t like them (Roos) or I knew they’d come out the end ok because they were too important to lose (Ead and Tane).

For me this is a prime airport / long travel read. There’s no frustration for not having the next book and it’s long enough to really get settled into. I’m only giving it 3 stars because the action was too slow, and in my opinion, very predictable. I’m not going to link to my embarrassing old review for Kushiel’s Dart, but that was an epic fantasy worthy of the title.

Bloomsbury | 26th February 2019 | AU$32.99 | paperback

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