The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Narrated By: Liyah Summers
Length: 25 hours, 52 minutes
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publish Date: February 26, 2019
War, Murder, Death, Betrayal,
Sex, Gore, Religious Discrimination,
Gay & Lesbian, POC?

Unpopular opinion here, but I’m so glad this book is over, and not in a good way. Thank goodness I had a few people on Twitter to help motivate me to get through this book, because if it wasn’t for them, I would not have finished it. Even when I finished it, I felt so underwhelmed and I felt like I wasted so much time of my life on something that was meaningless and not worthwhile. I know that sounds harsh, and I’m so sorry for those that loved this book. We all have our own opinion and I’m not hating on the author. This book just really wasn’t for me, and it’s disappointing because I heard so many good things about it and I was so excited for the dragons and magic system and… what a let down.

This may come off more as a rant, and I’m sorry for that as well. I won’t be upset if you skip this review. Trust me, I wanted to skip it too.

I feel like Ead was the main character in this whole thing, even though it was supposed to be split between apparently four different POVs? I didn’t really get that vibe. I feel like Ead had the most to gain and the most to lose in this whole thing and that the whole fate of the world revolved around her and she was probably the most level headed person in the entire novel. Tane was supposed to be important but we didn’t hear from her very much. She’s supposed to be this bad ass dragon rider that has pretty much been training to do this, beats everyone in the trials, but then loses her chance before it even really began? What was that? Then there’s Queen Sabran and she is like deathly afraid of having to give birth and she’s been avoiding having to marry because she doesn’t want it. Like, the whole point of the Berethnet Queens are to continue the bloodline in order to protect their Queendom from “The Nameless One”, but is that even really the case? I just hated Niclays with a passion. He complained so much and he felt entitled about certain things and I was just over him. I’m glad I didn’t hear from him as much as I thought but I heard from him way too much, in my opinion.

Something something something, the Berethnet line is supposed to keep The Nameless One away for a thousand years or more, but he’s coming back anyway and the Priory is just the name of the book and has no real significance to the story really, and the dragons barely make a dent in this at all, good or bad dragons.

Some sapphic love but freaking barely.

Death, death, war, war.


Less and less dragons.

Magic apparently.

I don’t even really know.

Good dragons are from the East and are basically water dragons. Bad dragons are the Draconic army and fall under the Nameless One and have power over fire, but that’s not really touched upon either.

Why is he the Nameless One? Do they not know how to pronounce his name or does saying his name give him more power, like Voldemort?

  • Don’t say this is going to be a book about dragons and then not even give them the importance they deserve
  • Make your main antagonist at least worth more than a chapter’s worth of fighting and then no real mention of him other than the mystical “ooh bad guy” gossip
  • This is supposed to be a “feminist novel” because there are at least two powerful women involved? Is this supposed to be such a new idea in the adult fantasy world? YA does this all the time and it’s not a new thing. I wouldn’t count it as feminist if it’s just because of that
  • Don’t say there’s sapphic love in this when it’s barely mentioned and seems more like a plot device or just having it to have it
  • I don’t see how the supposed POC characters were represented correctly. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell if it wasn’t for the narrator giving them almost African accents.
  • If the Saiki are supposed to based of Asian cultures, why did they sound Nigerian?
  • Don’t say this is about dragons when you barely even talk about the damn dragons omg
  • Please don’t use one of your supposed main characters as just a plot device, make her go through some really bad shit and then at the end it seems like it was all for nothing
  • It’s called “Priory of the Orange Tree” but the Priory itself didn’t seem really important at all
  • Some things were just way too convenient to the plot and didn’t make sense as to how easy things were getting
  • I felt like 60% of this novel was world-building and it was unnecessary to the plot
  • The final battle was lame. Didn’t last long at all and just felt like a cop out.
  • So much “build up” for this final battle and it wasn’t even worth giving any attention to?
  • I don’t understand
  • I just… didn’t like this.

I’m really sorry. I don’t know if I really gave anything useful as to why I didn’t like this book. It had so much potential. I was so excited to read about dragons. I was so excited to see good dragons. I was so curious about this book because so many people recommended it and I just felt so let down. I don’t know if I’ll want to think about this book again honestly.

And I guess that’s all I can say about it.

20 thoughts on “The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

  1. I have to say I do agree with you about the title. And the length of the book, I felt it would have been better split into two and giving the first half a bit more…drive. It would have been easier and more accessible.

    That said, I don’t think all the POC characters were given accents – as I understand it, Arteloth and his sister were both black, but I didn’t read them as having coded accents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you listen to the audiobook like I did, the narrator changes her accent for each group of people involved. With the Saikinese, she sounds Nigerian or some sort of African that I can’t really tell since I’m not experienced with all of the accents. It probably doesn’t sound that way when you read it physically but that’s what I pointed out when I was listening to it.

      I think it would have been okay as two books. I don’t know though.


  2. Oh dear Leelynn!!! I feel so sorry that you didn’t love this. I do have to agree with you that this book needed more dragons. They were definitely under-utilised! I never picked up on that thing with the accents though. So thank you for sharing those thoughts. I’m glad you had people to help get you through this lovely. Onward to the next book Leelynn :))))) <3333

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry too! I know you loved this one and I was hoping to love it too. It needed way more dragons, Emer! Way more dragons! I don’t think you would pick up on the accents unless you listened to the audiobook. I don’t think it was something that is easily translated on the pages but that’s the first thing I noticed when I was listening to it. Yes! On to the next book ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can totally understand why you didn’t love it though. Because I think half of the reason I liked it is because of the novelty of reading a high fantasy tome…its just not something I do Leelynn 🙈😂😂


  3. Feeling such a load off my shoulders reading this review, lol. I DNF’d this one at 89 pages read. All throughout those 89 pages, had this feeling of “I’m not connecting, this is a waste of time.” but I’ve since wondered about possibly powering through and seeing if it gets better. Am glad to hear I’m not alone in that initial feeling and instinct that this wasn’t the right one. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! And that’s totally okay! I personally wanted to DNF it but since we were doing a group read and most of us weren’t really enjoying it, it was easier to get through and rant about it together lol. You got super far in it though! Congrats for making it that far especially with how long this book is. Thanks so much Kitty ❤ I was afraid this one would get me lots of hate because it's such an unpopular opinion so it's nice to see that others felt the same way and feel better about being able to voice their negative opinions on it now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 25 hours? Holy cow. No way. I DNFd this at like the beginning because I was so bored. And I was in labor so it wasn’t the most optimal time. I’ve thought about trying again, but I think I probably won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! It’s such a long book because it’s so freaking huge! And since there was so many details that I was trying to pay attention to, thinking it was going to be important and come up somewhere, I didn’t feel comfortable speeding up the pace because I might have missed a lot. Oh gosh you read this while you were in labor?!! Damn woman you’re a beast ❤ I wouldn't blame you if you didn't try again. If you were bored in the beginning, I don't know if you would like it towards the middle or end. The middle lags a bit too.


  5. Great review! this took me a week to read (I think I skipped some parts too and it still took me a week) but I could never listen to this book on audio for 25 hours. 😣 So I feel your pain! But yes I wanted more dragons. Great job for getting through the audiobook girl!


  6. GIRRRLLLL! I hear you. This whole book was just hot wet garbage (sorry not sorry). Good for you for finishing. I totally skim read the ending (the last 300 PAGES). I didn’t even miss that much. One of the most disappointing reads this year. I also felt, for a long time, like the only one who felt that way. Fantastic review.


  7. LMAAAAOOOOO THE SHADE. I love this review. I love you Leelynn. I’m so proud of you for sticking with this one all the way through to the end. You did awesome! I’m really sorry that you didn’t end up loving it at all though. Hahaha I’m gonna go cry (laughter) over your review now 😂🤣😂🤣


  8. I made a recent decision after 200 pages to give the book back to the library… I read one Brandon Sanderson and one Robin hobb in between reading those 200 pages and realised the difference in my enjoyment of the narration..I was so bored that I could not do it anymore 😦 it wasn’t for me


  9. Thank you for this review, I’m glad I’m not crazy. I’m about a quarter of the way through and already puzzling over the rating this book has on goodreads, because so far I think it’s overhyped and kind of dull. Don’t get me started on the pseudo-Asian characters, I’ll start ranting and never stop. 🤣😖


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