The Priory of the Orange Tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon


author Samantha Shannon published 2019 date start Dec 29, 2023 date read Feb 27, 2024 edition ebook

fantasy lgbt


link to schedule

pre-reading thoughts

i’ve heard great things about this book so i’m excited to dive into it, only with a bit of apprehension because i just finished a really long fantasy book and this one takes two months to read (with 7 chapters a week as per the schedule above…). but hopefully reading a romance novel in between as a palate cleanser will help? doubt.jpg

regardless, i won’t strictly hold myself to follow the schedule to a tee, but more like a guideline of some sort.


The first half was great - full of high stakes with characters getting killed off left and right, which set my expectations high on how much the characters stand to lose in this book.

But none of that happens? Their plans go well, or if it doesn’t go well, it doesn’t give me the feeling that these characters are improvising to make it work. It just seems like “fate” is conveniently there to bring them where they’re supposed to be. I might not be phrasing it right, but it didn’t seem like any of their plans will ultimately fail.

I wasn’t entirely convinced or impressed with Kalyba and her motive as an antagonist. She was built up as this super scary and powerful villain only to be a let-down that her motive was born out of being scorned by a man? And maybe that’s the point - that legends can make something/someone greater than it actually is, but I guess I just really wanted Kalyba to be more than just her thirst for revenge. (Not that vengeful villains are bad—I’m a villain enjoyer myself—it’s just that this particular one revolved around a man and that’s not something that appeals to me.)

Otherwise, I still enjoyed it. It was pretty daunting at first, because of the length; this is the longest book I’ve ever read so far with 830 pages. But I enjoyed reading the multiple POVs. None of the main characters were annoying or boring to me, and I didn’t find myself looking forward to a particular POV more than the others. Which usually happens when I read multiple POV books like this. The plot and worldbuilding is also easy to follow along, even with the two completely different locations.

I love that the exposition is told through legends and stories passed down orally. It didn’t feel much like getting lore-dumped when it happens, though it takes me out of my immersion a little bit. Because I can recognize it for the exposition that it is.

Overall, it was good. The latter 25% of it was a bit of a let-down from the reasons I stated above, especially for an 800-page book. I might give the prequel a try, and if there are any upcoming sequels, because I love the characters and the universe.