The Priory of the Orange Tree

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The Priory of the Orange Tree audiobook

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Review #1

The Priory of the Orange Tree audiobook free

If youre not big into long reads, and youre perfect novel is roughly 250-300 pages long, uhyou might have a hard time here. But if youre willing to give it a go, theres something oh-so-satisfying about a self-contained, one-volume fantasy epic. Theres a beginning, a middle, and an end. Theres no Game of Thrones-esque situation where youre endlessly waiting for the next book which may or may not be over 1000 pages. The whole story is there, in one big volume, no waiting for sequels. I didnt realize just how sequel-fatigued Ive been until I sat down and made my way through this book. No mentally steeling myself for a cliffhanger followed by a two-year-wait. I havent felt this way about an epic fantasy novel since Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Who knew you can have an entire world confined to one volume! Hurray! Priory is nothing less than epic. In one book, Shannon manages to create an entire world, complete with over a thousand years of history, various conflicting religions, generations upon generations of royalty, dozens of nations, and a sea full of pirates. Pirates! There is pirate action in this book! Are you not convinced? I mean, theres dragons – and not just one sort of dragon, either. Also, did I mention the whole book has a very, very strong feminist bent to it? How much more convincing do you need? If you like dragons, if you like epics, if you can make it through 800 pages, then you need to read Priory of the Orange Tree.


Review #2

The Priory of the Orange Tree audiobook streamming online

This book is 90% worldbuilding and backstory infodumps. If that\’s your thing, enjoy. If you\’re not into sitting through pages and pages and pages of contextless political opining from characters we haven\’t even been given a chance to care about, pass. Authors like Robin Hobb pull this sort of epic fantasy political intrigue off by presenting it gradually through the lens of fully fleshed-out characters whose lives and opinions the reader is invested in. This book does not. I was bored. I tried not to be, because I\’d heard there were lesbians, but even the draw of the gay was not enough to keep me here in the end. I started skimming at 20% and DNFed about halfway through. Life is just too short, my friends P.S. I\’ve seen some complaints about the prose being too \”complex.\” That\’s not the case. There is nothing special about the prose. If there were, it might have persuaded me to put my irritation aside for a little longer, but alas.


Review #3

Audiobook The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

This book was so worth the 4 year wait. I remember when Samantha Shannon was talking about writing something that was not of The Bone Season world. It wasn\’t until she finally announced that it was a book that was going to involve dragons, forbidden magic, and romance where I was finally like I need this in my life. Now 4 years later I can finally say that Priory of the Orange Tree was everything I needed in a Epic Fantasy and more. Samantha Shannon creates such complex and rich worlds filled with influences from all over the world and it shows heavily in this book. It is something that I appreciate very much because it shows how much time she went into her research for this novel. The world of Priory is vast in scope and we get to see most of it in just this one book but even after finishing this behemoth of a book I am left wanting to explore more of it. I just want more and I hope and pray that we do. This particular story follows 4 main points of view. We follow Ead, Tane, Niclays, and Loth. We also follow some minor side characters but it\’s these four that really bring the story to life. It\’s refreshing to know that all four have their own journey and their own emotional arcs. No one copies the other. I enjoyed the reading from each of their perspectives but I do have to say I have a soft spot for Ead and Tane. Every time they hit the page I smiled. That is not to say I didn\’t enjoy Loth or Niclays. To wrap this up I will just say that this novel hit all my weaknesses and checked all my boxes and I just want more stories in this world. Whether it be with the same cast of characters or new ones.


Review #4

Audio The Priory of the Orange Tree narrated by Liyah Summers

What can I say? This is the BEST FANTASY BOOK I HAVE EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE EXISTENCE. Let me elaborate. First of all, this book had the best character development that I have ever read in a story. The characters felt so very very real to me and I made instant connections with them (I either loved them or despised them). Next, the storyline takes twists and turns that are simply flawless. This book went to places that had me either crying with sadness or smiling with joy. For me, the ending felt right and wasn\’t too \”and they live happily ever after.\” Shannon could easily (and hopefully!) write another book as a sequel or even a spinoff of it following some of the characters after the events that occurred in the book. If you couldn\’t tell already, I really really adore this book and can certainly see myself rereading this beast of a book later in my life just to see my beloved characters again and enter back into a world full of magic, dragons, suspense, love, heartbreak and elation. A must read for everyone.


Review #5

Free audio The Priory of the Orange Tree – in the audio player below

When I stumbled across The Priory of the Orange Tree I saw lots of glowing reviews, a common theme of which was the comparison to George R R Martin\’s \’A Game of Thrones\’, in fact PotOT even has one slapped right in the middle of its front cover. Nowadays it seems every fantasy book is labelled \”the next Game of Thrones\”, but this one seemed to have the potential to live up to the claim – suspicious lords, secret societies, fraught politics, and dragons – so I was keen to get into it. Unfortunately it feels more like a YA novel than an epic fantasy. To start off, the pacing is some of the worst I\’ve ever seen in a book. Absolutely nothing happens in the first 400ish pages, most of which are spent discussing royal lineage, religious practices and etiquette among the queen\’s handmaidens. Peppered in are chapters here and there which hint at more interesting storylines but which are over before you\’ve gotten anything worthwhile out of them, dragging you back to the palace for more excruciating chatter about who is changing the queen\’s bedsheets. In the latter half of the book, once the story does finally begin to move, it jumps around wildly with epic quests beginning and ending within a few pages, grand revelations being made one after another, centuries old conflicts mended in minutes and ancient mysteries solved with startling ease. Characters constantly end up in the right place at the right time, often stumbling across something to advance the plot by sheer chance or avoiding certain doom by magic. This makes an already fantastical story seem so unrealistically convenient that it robs it of the agency, suspense and struggle needed to sustain a fairly lengthy novel. Like the plot, the characters are a mixed bag. The bulk of the story revolves around Ead, magic-dragon-hunter-turned-queen\’s-assistant, but despite her impressive CV she felt very bland to read about with little personality to grab onto. Other characters, like prospective dragon rider Tan or lord sent on a suicide mission Arteloth, are a bit more interesting and likeable (respectively) but for the first 2 thirds of the book they are largely absent and undeveloped. By the time they became more central to the plot I had lost any desire to find out what happens to them. The author indulges in the fantasy trope of ridiculous character and place names that could make Tolkien wince – not a deal breaker for everyone but a pet peeve of mine. The feminism that underpins much of the story, while welcome in a genre often dominated by male archetypes, is at times eye-rollingly unsubtle. Plot threads are often dropped or cleared up with lazy exposition. At around 500 pages I looked on in despair at the bulk of the book still unread but forced myself to continue, hoping that like A Game of Thrones this would be a slow burn that built to something spectacular, but it never happened. What I got was a cliche and at times clumsy fantasy book with a few interesting ideas which feels like it would sit more comfortably beside Hunger Games than Game of Thrones.


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