The Priory of the Orange Tree

“No woman should be made to fear that she was not enough.”

This was quite an intimidating book to pick up, but I sped through it during my illness and have now fallen in love with Shannon’s work.

Trigger warnings: Death, infertility, suicide ideation, dead bodies, discussion of suicide, graphic violence and miscarriage.

The Priory of the Orange Tree:


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.

My Thoughts:

This is an utter masterpiece.

Shannon has created such a rich and detailed world that is so well-crafted with a real sense of history and expansive geography. The different magic systems, legends, religions and even dragons are mapped out incredibly well and I’m in awe of Shannon’s management of it all.

I have no idea how she managed to keep track of everything that goes on in this book, with numerous sub-plots and a fantastic cast of characters. It’s the sheer scope of the story that truly astonishes me, as I was constantly learning about the different cultures contained within this expansive world.

The characters are well-developed, with each one being given vulnerabilities and plausible motivations, making them three-dimensional and relatable. They were also casually diverse, with a major LGBT+ relationship forming a key aspect of the story. I felt so emotionally invested in all the platonic and romantic relationships.

The plot is drawn together wonderfully, feeling cohesive and cleverly incorporating feminist ideas and considering how history is often written by the victors, often at the expense of oppressed groups. I loved the ripple effect of one character’s actions on several narrators and the ever-changing web of their relationships. I audibly gasped at a couple of the plot twists and I’m hard to shock.

I also just need to comment on the writing in this book. It felt rich and you could really feel Shannon’s love for the craft through this beautiful language. I’ve included a few of my favourite quotes at the end of this review, though I could’ve easily quoted the entire book and I now really need to read the Bone Season series!

In short, it just felt epic. This was the feminist, high fantasy escapism I needed and I am in complete awe of Shannon’s brilliance.

Favourite Quotes:

“We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.”

“Ead knew the scent of a secret. She wore it like a perfume.”

“That is the problem with stories, child. The truth in them cannot be weighed.”

“You have not seen death, my lord. You have only seen the mask we put on it.”

“Cloud steamed from its scales – scales of moonstone, so bright they seemed to glow from within. A crust of gem-like droplets glistened on each one. Each eye was a burning star, and each horn was quicksilver, agleam under the pallid moon.”

“All the world is a cage in a young girl’s eyes.”

14 thoughts on “The Priory of the Orange Tree

  1. Sophie @ Me and Ink says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this book– I have been hearing a lot about in since it has been released.
    And I love the quotes you shared at the end– they are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.
    And I like that it included ripple effects of the character’s actions on different ones as it is very realistic and shows attention to detail.
    Great review!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • ashortbooklover says:

      Thank you and yeah, I was nervous about it being so hyped, but now I understand why. That’s all Shannon’s wonderful writing and I loved her attention to detail with both the plotting and the tiny descriptions.

      Liked by 1 person

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