The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Final Thoughts

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Thank you everyone who read The Priory of the Orange Tree with me this month! I know this was definitely an intimidating book and I’m so glad that we did it!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was feeling a little bit negatively regarding the book especially in the third section of the book we read. Lots of reveals and a lot of convenient moments that I’m not a huge fan. The finale of the book was also a bit too truncated and convenient for me, but that’s okay. It was still a great read and I’ve seen many folks enjoy the book.

This book was much different than I imagined. For an 800-page novel, I was expecting more action and adventure, more journey across the deserts and oceans of this universe to find the ancient artifacts, to find the sword, and to find the answers. The convenience of everything from finding Ascalon and the two jewels to even Tane’s understanding of her role in the entire universe were really downers for me.

However, let’s talk about the components that I really liked:

The almost all-female cast of characters. There were so many characters introduced in this book and that’s obvious from the first 200 pages where we’re introduced to a lot. However, I loved that the characters you were rooting for were mostly women. Sabran being the ruler of Inys and Ead being her protector and lover. I loved that Kalyba is one of the villains of the story who’s lived and seen much more than what the characters understand. Tane being this dragon rider and the Nayimathun being a female dragon as well. I also loved that the lore was also female-centric with super strong female characters fighting against the Nameless One and winning. Having an empowering story with female-forward characters really was such a nice touch.

And truly, the characters were worth the read. Every one of them was interesting and had a part in the story. Some were shorter components and some you don’t even see in real life; like Jannart who lived in Niclays’ memory more than in real life. I loved following along with each of the main characters and what their part in the Priory means to the rest of the story. I felt so much for Sabran, Ead, Tane, and Loth. Even some of the secondary characters were enjoyable and folks I wanted to continue to follow and read.

I also loved the world building. I loved that it took place across the expanse of this universe and that there were things happening in all parts of the world. I loved that we follow the characters to these different places, watch them negotiate with rulers and leaders who seem pretty ruthless, and I loved the dragons and how they’re incorporated into the entire story. This universe was vast and one of the reasons why I would have liked another 400 pages or at least a series in this universe is because everything that was introduced was interesting enough to get into the heart of it. If that makes sense, I just wanted more about Tane and Kalyba and the power of the jewels. I wanted more about Nayimathun especially since the dragons of the East aren’t in relation to The Nameless One or Fyredel.

And in these last 200 pages, Tane was such a huge asset to the story. Sadly, it didn’t feel like she was very important based on the amount we knew about her and even the page time she gets. Having her at the end revealing she’s a descendant of a goddess really confused me especially since she wasn’t present for most of the novel. It really begged for more about her and having her find out about her lineage and where she comes from.

The drama most definitely needs to be mentioned as well. There were so many reveals and Sabran’s family line is so messy and wild and every time something happened to a character I loved, I was so worried it wouldn’t work out for them. It read like I was watching one of my Chinese fantasy dramas filled with suspense, surprises, a little romance, and a final battle scene that rivals other battle scenes.

I really liked this book, but it wasn’t a favorite of mine. The story was interesting, but it’s difficult for me to get past the flaws of the story. I will still continue to read Samantha Shannon especially as more books come out in her Bone Season series. I’ll definitely recommend this one to friends who haven’t read much fantasy and want to get into a complex world with lots of characters. I just wished it worked for me.

What are your final thoughts?

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Third Discussion

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Third Discussion

Wow, I think we’ve hit the major meaty parts of this book. This third section of the book was probably the most packed with a ton of reveals, a ton of twists and turns, and a lot of stuff going on at once. Whew, it’s time to unpack this.

As stated before, this post is filled with a ton of spoilers, so make sure to have read this section (pgs. 406-610) before reading this blog post. And as always, you’re more than welcome to react to my thoughts so far, answer the questions, or comment with your own personal thoughts and reactions. This is the laid back read along, so no rules to play by.

Let’s get into it!

Continue reading “The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Third Discussion”

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Second Discussion

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Second Discussion

Welcome to the middle of the book! Actually, I’ve finished the book, but I’m sharing with you all my thoughts from the second section (pgs. 207-405) and let me tell you. A lot has happened. I’m going to dive into them now, but I need to warn you that this blog post will have a ton of spoilers. I’m hiding my thoughts behind the page jump just so you don’t read something you haven’t read yet. Highly recommend reading up to this point if you’re reading along with us before diving into this post.

You can comment about the reflection I’ve posted or answer the questions below it. You can even talk about the parts I didn’t bring up that you found the most fascinating. It’s up to you how you’d like to participate in this discussion and I hope you do!

Here. We. Go!

Continue reading “The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon // Second Discussion”

The Priory of the Orange Tree // First Discussion

The Priory of the Orange Tree // First Discussion

Happy Friday! I hope that everyone’s reading of The Priory of the Orange Tree is going well! I just got into it on Wednesday, finished the first 200 pages, and already working on the rest of the book. So far, it’s been dizzying with the amount of info and events going on. I’m enjoying the pacing. I like that it’s taking its time to reveal itself, that it’s richly developing, and I’m seeing a small amount of all these threads and how they interact with each other. I will try to avoid spoilers here, but so much has happened!

This is most definitely going to be one of those spider-web stories where threads of individuals will all come together at some point. At this point, it’s finding out who the characters are and their significance to the story as well as keeping tabs on all the happenings to avoid missing something. I have already missed stuff and if I’m being fully honest, I want to go back and reread the first 200 pages again. I want to really immerse myself in this story and for myself, it feels like one of those stories I have to read carefully otherwise I’ll end up lost.

But it also feels like the first 100 pages is a lot of setup and not enough getting to know the characters. I feel like there’s a TON of characters (enough for there to be a glossary of them in the back of the book. I highly suggest you check that out if you need help remembering everyone), but you know bits and pieces of them. It makes sense since all will be revealed, but it also feels uncertain. Who are the characters that we will be following throughout the story? What are the important components of the story?

After the first 100 pages, it felt like it started to mellow out and draw its lines on who the main characters are, what the main issues are, and how they all interconnect in this world. The world itself is brilliant. I can already see a lot of Western and Eastern influences in the story intermingling together, which is kind of interesting. It reminds me a lot of the Chinese historical dramas I love to watch with flowing silk gowns, lots of fanfare, and a whole ton of trope-y goodness. And there are dragons. FULL STOP. There are so many dragons and they’re the kind of dragons you want them to be. Big, menacing, somewhat scary. I cannot wait to see more about this dragon.

I might take my own advice and start the book again, which will be a pain since I’ve already read so much. But at the same time, I want to understand this book. It’s probably my own head where I didn’t give myself enough room after getting through most of my last book and then starting this. I think I might give myself the time to do it this weekend.


Ok I’m adding an update to this blog post because I re-read the first 200 pages and have quite a lot more thoughts.

The religion. Has anyone else noticed there’s a heavy hand with a religious aspect in this book? The Virtudom having the Six Virtues to believe in and anything outside of that (which is the idea that Galian Berethnet was the person who slayed The Nameless One and founded Inys). I always find it intriguing when an author creates something like a culture or a faith within the story that the characters live under. I have a good feeling that this is going to be a bigger component to the rest of the novel. What do you think?

Speaking to this, I also thought the royal engagement near the end of this section was kind of interesting. I feel like the royal intrigue in this story is extremely complex. You have Sabran who needs to get married and have a kid in order to protect Inys from The Nameless One. But she doesn’t seem like she wants to get married (completely understandable). I think the appearance of Fyredel really set in the importance of doing her duty, but with Sulyard and Truyde both saying that it isn’t Sabran’s line sealing The Nameless One I have a feeling that there’s going to be some real truths being revealed. This is probably the part of the story that’s intriguing the most at this point. What about you?

I’m also super intrigued by Niclays. Out of all the characters, it feels like his involvement is a bit more separate. He’s not Ead and closely next to Sabran. I can imagine that his involvement with Sulyard and Tane will eventually come back in the future, but I wonder what he did to be exiled and if he plans on finally creating the elixir of life? We shall see.

Finally, I just wanted to say that this book reads like a Chinese historical drama. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching them a lot lately, but the royal intrigue and a bloodline protecting citizens from a great evil feels very much like the drama I just finished watching. I mentioned this earlier, but I’m seeing a lot of East Asian influence in the story as well as some European influence. I keep wondering if Samantha Shannon is into Chinese dramas as well.


  • Who is your current favorite character?

I’m currently in love with Ead. I find her story to be the most intriguing in the story so far. But I also like Tane. She seems to have some mysterious past too and I want to crack into that and dig a bit further. I think all the characters that have been introduced are so intriguing and I want to get to know them all way more.

  • What do you think of Fyredel and what do you make of its appearance?

This was the scene that really blew me away! I won’t get into it, but I want to hear what your thoughts were. When I read this scene, I knew this was going to be the book for me.

  • Any theories you’ve created while reading the first 200 pages?

I have some, but I’m not going to tell. It’s way too early to figure out if these theories are accurate! I also make wild theories, so I need to hold myself back.

  • What are the components that are keeping you engaged? What threads are you excited to follow?

I’m intrigued by Sabran and the entire “you must have a baby soon to keep this kingdom alive.” Oooh yes. I must find out more on this. I’m also loving the backstory. All the clues leading up to the current state of the world always intrigue me and keep me reading. I must know all!

Any other comments? Leave them below! Talk to you all next Friday as we read up to the halfway mark!