The Priory of The Orange Tree Book Review!
The Priory of the Orange Tree is a mesmerizing, engaging fantasy that is full of twists, deep world-building, and endearing characters. I will admit, I avoided this book for a while because of its size, but I am so happy I didn’t wait for a second more to finally read this because this was a wild ride.
In just over 800 pages, we are told the stories of multiple different characters—each with their own complexities, biases, objectives, and, most importantly, lives that make you root for them—and their travels across the great expanses of the world’s realm, sometimes crossing in the middle along the paths of fate, as they attempt to save their kingdoms from a terrible evil threatening to destroy them all.
I finally took the plunge and read this 800-plus book behemoth of a book and let me tell you it was so worth it! However, I do have a lot to say and I have a lot to get into. This is such a big book in the book community so, I'm very excited to talk about it with you all! I ended up rating this 4.5 Stars and finished this in just one day under 2 weeks which I think is pretty good and I'm pretty proud of that. I did end up annotating which I wasn’t planning on, but it inspired me to annotate it, and if that doesn't tell you how good this book was and I don't know what will honestly…
So, let's just start out and talk about the plot and the world-building aspect of this book because this is a high (very high) fantasy so that is pretty important. The world-building in this book is absolutely insane! The detail that Samantha Shannon put into this world is so crazy, there are multiple religions, there are different myths, there are so many different cities there are different languages for crying out loud! It's so detailed, unbelievably detailed, and it's so impressive.
I don't read a lot of high fantasy, I read a lot of YA fantasy, so normally simpler world-building, and this is kind of my first glimpse into the adult fantasy world. So I was definitely wanting something easy to understand and even though this world is so intricate I was still able to understand every little thing by the last page. Samantha Shannon did a really good job explaining it and I think she did this in a genius way. The story is told from four different perspectives and each perspective has a different religion and/or they come from a different area in the world, so we learn about the different areas of the world n their eyes, from their point of view. It's never forced info dumping, it's just the characters are learning and we just happen to be learning with them. It felt so natural and it was absolutely genius. This book truly created an absolutely gorgeous world and honestly, this is one of those books that just made me forget I was reading. As a reader, I was able to just really dive into this world and it's amazing. I think that's part of what made this book so unforgettable.
Something I also think that is important to talk about with this book is the plot and the pacing of it. So many people are hesitant to read this book because it is 800 pages, which is very fair, I understand that because I had this book for a year before I read it. But I just have to say the plot itself is so well-paced that I was 300 pages in, which was just the beginning of the book, getting everything set up for the actual plot, and I wasn't feeling bored at all. I was in fact super invested in it. I think the reason I didn't get bored is that it's told from four different narratives, and all the characters are so like ridiculously intricate (I know I’ve used that word a lot in this review but bear with me) and detailed and depthful so, you get to know them really well. So anyways, the pacing was really good! Samantha Shannon put together a fantastic plot that truly keeps you on your toes. I always looked forward to picking it up and I think that's so important especially with fantasy books because the plots do tend to be so detailed.
I've mentioned little bits about the characters before in this review but I want to talk about them some more because they deserve it. They're so stinking absolutely amazing! So, as I’ve said there are mostly four main characters that tell the story and they're all really interesting to read about because at all times each one of them is doing something different. I also found myself getting very connected to the characters. I think that a benefit of an 800-page book is you find yourself growing close to the characters. I found the characters all very endearing and interesting. I honestly don't know how to get this point across well (even though I’ve said it literally 100 times in this review). Still, the detail of this book, the absolute intricacy of this book, I mean Samantha Shannon put her whole self into this, I tell you, because oh my gosh! It's even, I would dare to say, it's more intricate than the world we live in, which is crazy to think but it is it really is! The writing style was just so stunning. Samantha Shannon is genuinely such a talented writer and it was actually such a great time to read this book.
I sadly had to knock a .5 off the rating. I found that other people think this too, which makes me feel like I’m not being too picky. So, essentially, I feel like this book could have definitely benefited from being another 50 maybe even 100 pages because it literally wrapped up in like 20 pages…I genuinely don't understand what happened to any of the characters or where they even are in their lives. The ending was just so rushed and it's kind of ironic that the end was rushed because it's an 800-page book and then it's wrapped up in 20 pages. I feel like if it's going to be 800 pages just go ahead and make it 900, just do what you have to do to make it make sense and give the book the ending it deserves. That's the main thing, is the book didn't get the ending it deserved if that makes sense! So, if the ending was different it could have been a five-star because genuinely I left the book and it felt like pages were missing out of my book which is not cute at all.
Overall though, this book was stunning it was absolutely worth the hype. I would definitely recommend it to people who like high fantasy and who have seen this and been interested. I’m very excited to pick up the next book in the series! As always, thank you so much for reading and I will see you in the next post!
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