Book Review: THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon

Rating: 5/5 stars


This book is still on my mind weeks and weeks after finishing it. And after the Game of Thrones finale left me with a hole in my heart (and left a lot to be desired), I couldn’t help but think of all the areas that PRIORY succeeded where Game of Thrones… well, didn’t. Naturally, I had to compile my ramblings into a review.


PRIORY gives us four vastly different POVs: Ead, a secret agent of the mysterious Priory of the Orange Tree sent overseas to protect Queen Sabran; Tané, a dutiful dragonrider in training who makes a mistake that could jeopardise her future; Loth, an honorable lord exiled on a suicide mission; and Niclays, an elderly alchemist haunted by his past. Their stories are masterfully woven together, intertwined but each one deeply personal and full of growth. But by far, my favourite character had to be Sabran the Ninth, Queen of Inys. Sabran is a remarkable character study, and honestly, I preferred the fact that she wasn’t given a POV just so the reader could explore her many layers along with Ead. So many of the issues she faced are underrepresented not just in fantasy, but fiction as a whole, and Shannon dealt with them in a careful and thoughtful manner.

Which sort of leads into my next point: as a female fantasy reader, this book felt so refreshing to me. I don’t know if it’s because much of adult fantasy is written by men (or because adult fantasy by women is constantly mislabelled as young adult), but the experiences faced by the women of PRIORY felt like a truthful representation. The female characters felt like real women—queer women, women of colour, strong and capable and diverse women—and it never hindered them. This book is full of complex female characters who are given the opportunities to ride dragons and fulfil quests and save the world just like any male hero, without compromising their femininity or womanhood or labelling them as “not like other girls”.

Also, we need to talk about the dragons. The worldbuilding as a whole was stunning, in-depth and detailed without becoming too confusing, but the dragons. These aren’t your typical big, bad fire-breathers—not all of them, anyway. Rather, Shannon illustrates a diverse variety of draconic species each different from the last, some reminiscent of the medieval dragon guarding a tower, some inspired by Chinese mythology. If anybody ever tells you dragons are cliché or cringe-worthy, show them this book.

I could ramble on about this book all day, but it’s so hard to capture the experience I had of reading it for the first time. Have you read PRIORY? What were your thoughts? As always, let me know in the comments!

Until next time,


2 thoughts on “Book Review: THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon

Add yours

  1. Hi, Alex!

    I found your blog by way of Twitter and I’m glad I did! I requested Priory from my local library shortly before…everything… and your review made me even more excited to read it! I usually balk at fantasy for exactly the reasons you described, but it seems like I was right to want to give Priory a try. Thank you!



    1. Hi Amanda – thanks for your comment! It’s good to hear that my review could do it justice. Priory is an incredible book and I’m so glad it’s getting the appreciation it deserves!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

A Writer's Advice from "The Inside"

Query Tips, Writer Tips, Bookish Things

Her Paper World

Bookish girl living in her own paper world

A Short Book Lover

Bite size book reviews

Flipping Through the Pages

of life and books - slowly, one at a time

Fafa's Book Corner

Book reviews for Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit/Romance, Fantasy and Sci-fi.

Reading Bifrost

Take a look, it's in a Book! A Reading Bifrost Bridge...

Bookwyrming Thoughts

Musings from bookwyrms

Jill's Book Cafe

Bookish news, views and 'Five on Friday'

Caffeinated Reviewer

books, audiobooks, reviews & coffee

Books and Shadows

𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐬 (𝐁+𝐒) 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐨𝐟 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞.

Always The Write Time Blog

Ramblings and Rhetoric

Book Jotter

Reviews, news, features and all things books for passionate readers

Writers In The Storm

A Blog On Writing


Fiction reviews, Bookblogger, Fiction book reviews, books, crime fiction, author interviews, mystery series, cover, love, bookish thoughts...

Pub(lishing) Crawl

Reading you under the table since 2012

Nail Your Novel

Nail Your Novel - Writing, publishing and self-publishing advice from a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor

Good Morning, Page

Writing a mid-grade children’s book on pirates, one morning at a time…

Create your website at
Get started
%d bloggers like this: