"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

17 September 2018

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Shannon, Samantha. The Priory of the Orange Tree. Bloomsbury, 2019.

There are four storylines in this book which intertwine:
  • Tane: a Seiikinese orphan drafted into the Houses of Learning as a child to train for the High Sea Guard in the East.
  • Doctor Niclays Roos: an anatomist and alchemist whose current residence is in the East after being banished by Queen Sabran of Inys in the West.
  • Ead Duryan: a sorceress of the Orange Tree posing as an Ordinary Chamberer in the Upper Household of Queen Sabran of Inys.
  • Loth Beck: Heir apparent to the wealthy northern province of the Leas in Inys. He is a close friend to Queen Sabran.
Obviously there is a large cast of characters and some new vocabulary to master, but this is typical of most epic fantasy stories, so those who enjoy that type of story should not be surprised. Similar to the grandfather's description of The Princess Bride at the start of the movie with the same name, this book includes adventure, sword fights, miracles, true love, ... and dragons.

This is quite a long story, but that doesn't lessen its impact at all. I enjoyed the fact that I could read so much of this book and still know I had many more pages to go. The story makes full use of its length to build the world and develop the characters as well as move the plot along. I am glad for the diversity of characters, which is a welcome change after so many whitewashed fantasy stories. Those who enjoy epic fantasies will be able to savor this one for a long time. I echo what many others have said about reading carefully for the first 100 pages or so and referring often to the character list and glossary; you'll thank me later.

Recommended for: adults who enjoy epic fantasy
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Read-Alikes: Eragon, Lord of the Rings, Seveneves (even though it's science fiction)

I received a complimentary ARC of this book through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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