The Priory of the Orange Tree

by Samantha Shannon

Hardcover, 2019

Status

Available

Call number

823.92

Publication

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Description

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction--but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Media reviews

It is a complexity—moral, thematic, and social—that The Priory of the Orange Tree is short on, for all its length.

User reviews

LibraryThing member BethYacoub
This is quite the enigma. I have picked this up and abruptly put it back down at least 9 or 10 times. I just can't get into it and that's confusing since the synopsis hit all the right notes. I was intrigued. I also saw all of those glowing reviews and I feel like I'm reading a different book.
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We're not vibing. Forget falling in love with it (like the other reviewers), I'm just trying to fall in tolerance with it... and I'm failing. I'm going to give this one the benefit of the doubt and say it's probably a simple case of "it's not you, it's me". Maybe it's because I have been reading some REALLY good books lately, I think it has set the bar pretty high. Either way, it wasn't for me and I set my limit at 10 tries before I call it so here we are... I HATE to say it but... I QUIT!

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***
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LibraryThing member philantrop
“Margret,” he said, “you are my child. I forgave you all your sins on the first day of your life.”



This book has been lauded for a lot of things – supporting feminism, its share of LGBT characters, its absolutely gorgeous cover and I’m sure it would heal the Draconic plague as well
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were the latter real.

The problem is, though: This book is way too long. The entire first third of the book basically consists only of (court) politics and scheming. There is no real storyline to follow yet; it’s basically all just building up slowly to the real story which is all the more sad as behind all the convoluted, long-winded, stilted writing hides a decent (albeit not very original) story:

After a thousand years of imprisonment by our heroes’ ancestors, the “Nameless One” – a dragon – is going to return and wreak havoc all over the world. Few people know this secret and even fewer are prepared and willing to actually do something about it.

Tané, a young lowly-born orphan, wants to become a dragon rider of “the East’s” sea guard but hides many a secret herself, harbours self-doubt beyond any reason and is one of those glorious few who rise to the challenge and act.

Sabran is the queen of Inys, a part of “Virtudom”, a political and religious alliance based on chivalric virtues, both pretty much the religious and secular leader and – by religious doctrine – the final bulwark against the Nameless One’s return.

Ead is a spy from the eponymous Priory of the Orange Tree at Sabran’s court and the latter’s confidant. She’s a capable combatant, honourable and virtuous (in more than just name) and fairly ambitious, aspiring to rise (out of her murdered mother’s shadow to beat!) from her respected but lowly position to much more exalted positions in the priory, meanwhile protecting and counselling Sabran, battling the Nameless One and pretty much anything else that threatens her or her charge.

And Ead is pretty much the boulder upon which this book precariously rests – and remains standing albeit an avalanche of issues. In short: Ead rocks!



So, to quickly summarise: We have a time-proven (formulaic) plot of good versus evil, we have three young women who will have to rise and shine beyond anything they ever expected, we have chivalric values codified into religion which complicates an already complex court and we still have about 70% of the book ahead of us...



And I must not forget to introduce the last two narrators:

Niclays Roos, an aging alchemist, on the other hand is a scoundrel, a villain from the books (sic!), an opportunist of the worst kind. Having tried to find the formula for a potion for eternal life his whole life long, he has been banished from Virtudom because Sabran lost her misplaced belief in Roos. He’s willing to blackmail himself out of any situation and would pretty much sell his grandmother or his own soul if it gave him an advantage.

Last but not (quite) least, there’s Loth: Sir Arteloth “Loth” Beck is the proverbial knight in shining armour – good-natured, honourable, an embodiment almost of the chivalric virtues but, alas, pretty much hapless and forgettable. He’s a nice-to-have-but-expendable sidekick, reliable and more lucky than competent.

That concludes the story and the most important dramatis personae but don’t despair if you’re into complex settings – after all there are about (wait for it...) 130 characters in total you’ll read about.

The long-winded, stilted narration in the beginning and the complexity are in fact the most important issues that drag this book down. Yes, the plot is formulaic, yes, the characters are “somewhat” archetypical as well but – and this is why "Priory” still gets three stars from me – when Shannon overcomes her own inhibition to go beyond what she seems to feel are the limitations of her genre, you feel the raw potential of an author who needs refinement, who needs someone to encourage her to break free from convention.

Shannon already does this fairly nicely when it comes to her heroines: First of all, almost all major characters (and lots of minor ones) are female. Not the helpless “damsel in distress” kind either but the strong and independent kind. I like that. What I like even more about it is, that it is – mostly! –unobtrusive – I didn’t even really notice this until I actually thought about it analytically. Of course, I knew Ead (did I mention she rocks?) and Tané are young women but I didn’t really care at all – why shouldn’t women be heroic and protagonists in fantasy?

So, yes, Priory can be read as feministic but in the way I personally prefer – not artificially trying to make a political statement or to throw it in the reader’s face but to simply “organically” make the point.

Similarly, the LGBT aspect works well for me: The LGB (T is missing) relationships are mostly well-written and believable – at least the female perspective (which, naturally, eludes me to some extent) reads well and is intrinsically plausible. I’m not quite as convinced about the male perspective: We only get to witness Roos’s and Jannart’s (Roos’s dead nobly-born lover) relationship post-factum as Jannart has died years before the book even starts. To me, a bisexual man, while not outright wrong, the remembered interactions do feel a bit “off” but that could be me.

As well as with feminism, tolerance/acceptance/open-mindedness/you-name-it towards LGBT (which is one of two major topics in my life) isn’t asked for or forced upon anyone. On the contrary: The relationship between Ead and her lover develops believably (again, from a male point of view at least) and organically which I appreciate greatly.

And, still, “The Priory of the Orange Tree” is, sadly, not a great book albeit written by an author who has the potential for greatness.

Whereas other authors simply try to bite off too much for their own good and overexert their limited talents, Shannon does have the talent required to write a great tale but lacks in experience. Thus, she makes a lot of mistakes even beyond the length of her novel, like killing off characters without it making much of a difference to anyone:

“Forgive me,” he said thickly. “Forgive me, […].”

… says one of our protagonists after one such needless death and that’s pretty much it. The victim does get a few “honourable mentions” but his death changes nothing. Do not kill off characters without a good reason and without an important impact on either the story or another character. The death here does nothing of the kind.

At other points in the story, Shannon is needlessly gory in her story-telling, e. g.:

“A musket fired and blew her guts across the cobblestones.”

This is simply not warranted and often annoys me and turns me away from a book.

Similarly, in contrast to her afore-mentioned subtlety and sensitivity Shannon sometimes has a tendency to be too explicit or in-your-face-ish:

“Something was changing in her. A feeling, small as a rosebud, was opening its petals.”

At the point in the story this occurs, any even slightly sensitive reader will long have envisioned said rosebud themselves. We’ve just been witness to the change we’re explicitly being told about here so it would better have been left unsaid.

Another even more poignant example comes towards the end of the book where Shannon thinks she has to really spell it out:

“A woman is more than a womb to be seeded.”

Yes, any sane person knows that and – I'm sorry – those who don’t are beyond redemption anyway.



Anyway, before I fall prey to overstaying my own welcome, let me summarise: “The Priory of the Orange Tree” is definitely overly long – only after almost two thirds of the book things really do start to happen.

There’s also way too much religious stuff around for my taste (“Virtudom”, “Dukes Spiritual”, I don’t need any of that) and, yes, some of the characters are formulaic and some sentences make me cringe (“Abandoning all hope of Halgalant [paradise], Loth waded after the murderous wyrm-lover.”)

Behind all that verbosity, formulas and some cringeyness hides a story that’s worth telling, characters worth knowing (Ead!) and an author that I’m going to keep an eye on.
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LibraryThing member SarahRichards
2.5 *stars*

As a whole, I found I enjoyed myself. Considering the lack of technical aspects that are a must in a fantasy novel such as the magic system playing a major role in the novel. I wish that the dragons and magic were more involved and equaled to that of the political aspects of the novel,
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instead of being pushed off to the side.

Some of my favorite "characters" within this book were the mythical creatures but I also liked Ead and Tanes POV the most. The distribution between POV was not even close to being even but for the most part, I was kind of okay with that as Ead's story was the main focus.

There were points within the plot that I felt were not properly set up to make complete sense, for instance, the death of a certain character just seemed kind of forced. It seemed as though Samantha Shannon decided that she needed a character death and that it was going to be here and now no matter what. She did this without fully developing the scene or setting it up properly. This poor writing also involves/affected some of the minor characters. I'm sorry but what was your purpose Turosa (for example)? To be a dick? Great you succeeded jolly good to you, my love. But wait... *searches the horizons* Where have art thou gone? Was all that big dick energy a hallucination? Did you use up your life force in order to be an uninfluential brat to the main character? Guess so...

Throughout the novel, we learn of the threat of the "oh great horrible" Nameless one. That final battle between the Mc's and the Nameless one was written terribly. I felt nothing towards it. The Nameless one in battle was not up to the standards of cruel, evil, and hard to kill as was preached upon throughout the story. This in its entirety was a huge let down for me, if you have to cut content out don't cut it away from the main goal of your characters. (Logic). There are thoughts and scenes that could have easily been cut out instead.

Even past the final "battle" (play fight). The conclusion for all of our POV's was... weak, rushed, as well as very unsatisfying. The closure was nonexistent to being poorly written and too slightly opened for that of a standalone.

Overall, I'm just a tad disappointed but hey I still got me a beautiful book chilling on my bookshelf so that's a plus at least.
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LibraryThing member JBD1
I've really liked Samantha Shannon's "Bone Season" series, so of course I was excited to read this new standalone tome. It did not disappoint. A retelling of the various varieties of dragon mythology, with a ripping great yarn to tie everything together. A great undertaking, well executed.
LibraryThing member yoyogod
I picked this epic fantasy up because I'd heard a lot of good things about it. Unfortunately, this would have been one time when I'd have been better off paying attention to the negative reviews, because I really didn't like it all that much for mostly the same reasons other people didn't like it.
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The books does have great world building, but it also has a really boring and slow paced plot coupled with largely unlikable characters that I really couldn't bring myself to care about very much. It also didn't help that I was listening to the audiobook version, and the narrator was absolutely dreadful at doing character voices. Seriously, one of the viewpoint characters, Niclays Roos, sounded as if he was continuously clenching his teeth while suffering from severe constipation. It might be worth reading the print version if you really like world building or are looking for a decent fantasy with prominent LGBT characters, but definitely avoid the audiobook.
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LibraryThing member foggidawn
It's been a thousand years since the fire-breathing dragons rose in the West and were defeated, but signs point to their imminent return. Four individuals will have key roles to play in the upcoming conflict: Ead Duryan, lady in waiting to Queen Sabran IX of Inys, who is secretly a mage and
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warrior, planted at the court to protect Sabran; Tané, an orphan of the East, who has dreamed her entire life of becoming a rider of the Eastern water dragons; Lord Arteloth Beck, who has been exiled from Inys for no fault of his own, and Niclays Roos, a Mentish alchemist living in exile for his inability to produce the elixir of life. Throughout this vast and sprawling story, their individual tales will overlap and intertwine as they seek to prevent the end of their world.

This is an enormous chunk of a book, but it does stand alone as a single story arc -- no cliffhangers, no waiting for the next volume. Due to the sheer size, it took me a long time to read, mostly because I didn't want to haul it around, or even pick it up sometimes, so I kept reading other things! However, the story is well-written and engaging, and when I really got into it, I finished the last half of it in a matter of days. It's refreshingly diverse and the characters are full and complex. The worldbuilding borrows some stock elements from our world (the East bears a strong resemblance to Asia, the West to Europe), but I found the whole thing richly imaginative and an enjoyable, immersive read. I'd recommend it -- but do your wrists a favor and read the ebook version!
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LibraryThing member elenaj
This is a wonderful epic fantasy. It is particularly unique in that this is a world without sexism, homophobia, and racism - although still with religious intolerance, xenophobia, nationalism, and political hierarchy and intrigue, lest anyone think it's a utopia. It's interesting to see how Shannon
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adapts the medieval European court, including its pressure to make political marriages and produce heirs, to this non-sexist world. The magical system is unusual and well-conceived, although it seems a little odd that the fire dragons are flat-out evil given the emphasis on balance throughout (which clearly draws on the principle of yin and yang).
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LibraryThing member justagirlwithabook
Lots of thoughts on this one but I'll keep it fairly short and sweet. The Priory is entirely high fantasy. There's good and bad and a bit in between. There are fire-breathing dragons, water-based dragons, and a handful of other interesting creatures both evil and good. There are the people in the
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West, the South, and the East, all with their own belief systems and ways of life. There are kingdoms and queendoms. And there is equality. Women as leaders, mothers, warriors, queens, spies, and sisters, all working alongside their male counterparts as equals. And that made me happiest.
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LibraryThing member demonite93
I almost DNF'd this book. I found the beginning very confusing and slightly hard to follow. A lot of different characters and perspectives along with learning a whole new world, with different cultures, creatures, and societies. It was just a lot to take in. I pushed through and I am glad that I
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did. The book came through and got me engaged with all of the characters and what was going on with them. The overlap of the stories came together and I am glad I did not give up on it. I do think the climax was a little rushed and just ended.... There was a lot of build up and world building. I think there is a lot here and the author was very creative and detailed. I don't know that I feel the same intense feelings on this book that others have. It was a good book, but I don't know that I would re-read it and I would only recommend it to bookworm-ish person, as I don't think its for a casual reader, not only in story but heft of the book as a whole.
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LibraryThing member alspachc
Boo

This is 800 pages of un-edited YA draft. The extra pages don't develop the characters or add nuance to the plot or explore themes, they're just there, running off in unfulfilling, distracting directions that don't ever really come to fruition. (to be fair, there is plenty of plot and depth here
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for a...200 page book. There is not nearly enough for 800)
Worst, for me, the characters don't pass the silhouette test. I can think of anything distinctive about them other than their roles 'I'm the queen' 'I'm the ninja mage'. How can a ninja mage not be cool? When she has the same brave, dutiful, fearless personality as all the other main characters. There is no 'bookish one' 'sensitive one' 'reckless one'. I can't think of anything unique that any of them do or say that couldn't have another character swapped in seamlessly to do it instead.
I feel like the only valid target audience for this are people who generally like standard YA fiction, but simply read too fast and want something longer but not necessarily deeper.
Personally, I regret wasting time on this.
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LibraryThing member Jthierer
If you're looking for a quality self-contained fantasy tale as an antidote to series that seem to drag out their narrative and may or may not ever wrap up you could do worse than The Prior of the Orange Tree. It follows four POV characters (Ead, Arteloth, Niclays, and Tane) as they navigate
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conflicting religious and political currents before eventually coming together to confront an ancient evil threatening to destroy their world. Along the way there are witches, talking animals, pirates and of course romance. While I admit that book starts more than a bit slow, once it picks up its well worth the wait.
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LibraryThing member DominiqueMarie
It started out so good! Then about halfway through it turned to trash, and I just couldn't finish.
LibraryThing member aadyer
A real page turner, certainly at the beginning and through most of it. The last quarter was a little big draggy. Good characters, fine ideas and excellent world building led to a lot of engagement. This is good fantasy writing in the style more of David Eddings than George R R Martin. Recommended.
LibraryThing member jmchshannon
There are no words that can do justice to Samantha Shannon’s epic fantasy, The Priory of the Orange Tree. Dragons, princesses, magic, epic journeys, assassins, power struggles, religion, and legacies are just the highlights of the story within its brilliant cover. It is everything you could ever
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want in a fantasy with the added bonus of diverse relationships that you never knew you needed.

As befits such a story, Ms. Shannon takes her time developing her characters and establishing her worlds but does so without huge swaths of exposition. Instead, she lets the characters teach the readers in a way that is so natural that you only realize how much you learned about the setting upon reflection. At the same time, we learn so much more about the characters themselves, their passions, and their pasts. Doubly effective, it means Ms. Shannon can spend that much more time building her massive story.

Massive it is. The Priory of the Orange Tree covers a relatively short period of time, but geographically it covers the entire world with a huge cast of characters as diverse as one would expect with such a large geographic region in scope. She carefully creates complete societies for all her characters, including economics, religion, government, food, weather, and traditions. These details enhance the story as the characters no longer become just names on a page but rather fully-fleshed people with a real history that serves to up the ante when the danger presents itself.

I don’t want to say more about the perfection that is The Priory of the Orange Tree because it is a novel best read cold. Before going into it, all I knew was that there were dragons and that people loved it. I am so glad is all I knew because it allowed me to start the novel with no assumptions or expectations. In turn, this allowed me to sink into the novel and lose myself in her vibrant world. I don’t normally read slowly in order to savor a story, but I savored every moment of The Priory of the Orange Tree. Epic in scope, flawless in execution, The Priory of the Orange Tree is a must-read fantasy novel and Ms. Shannon is a must-read author.
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LibraryThing member purpledog
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I just could not get into this book. I read to almost the halfway point. Surely if I was going to connect with the characters I would have done so by that point.
Three reasons for abandoning this one: 1. I never connected with any of the characters. 2. I
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didn't care for the plot. 3. The pacing was too slow. In short, this is just not for me.
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LibraryThing member reading_fox
One of the very rare books that has been recommended to me, is a standalone fantasy, and fully deserving of all it's hype. A very good tale indeed: a blend of dragons, the hunt for the philospher's stone, politics, romance and cultural history against an unchanging and implacable foe. There's a
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feel very much of Guy Gavriel Kay with maybe a touch of Stephen Donaldson.

It's a long book and it takes a while to get to grips with everything that's going on. The narration revolves around two main women on opposite sides of the world, as well as to much lesser degree two men whose paths intersect along the way. Ead is handmaiden to the Queen, and secretly charged with keeping her alive. For eight years this has proved little challenge beyond trying to keep fit while constrained by court dress. However recently a number of cutthroats have started prove troublesome. Tane know almost nothing of the distant Queen and her lands other than that they abhor her beloved dragons. She trains night and day to be found worthy of joining the elite dragon riders. On the eve of her trials she's contemplating the sea shore when beyond any comprehension a stranger emerges from the waves. All foreigners are banned on pain of death, but she shouldn't be there either. In what she view's as weakness she arranges to hide him in the sole ambassadorial enclave. Dr Roos exiled from the Queen's court for failing to produce an elixir of immortality is the lucky recipient of this stranger, yet he wants noting to do with if, but solely to continue his experiments if anyone can find him the dragon parts he's sure he will need. Lastly Loth deep and lasting childhood friend of the Queen is sent away so that there can be no ambiguity about the availability of her hand in marriage and succession of the bloodline. He is not pleased but resolved to make the best of it by investigating the death of the last ambassador.

Tane the opening character, and perhaps the most interesting is sadly not much featured and while she grows and experiences triumphs and set-backs for much of the middle of the book she's waiting in seclusion on a distant island. It is soon apparent that this is a time of destiny the thousand year binding of the ancient evil dragon the Nameless One is drawing to a close. Many like-minded beings are rising and the only hope seems to be a prophecy that the Queen's line alone can restrain in. However both Tane and Ead come from cultures with different versions of the history that underlies the tale and they find themselves drawn to common cause. Loth and Roos mostly just provide vehicles for new facets of history to be uncovered, as uncomfortable for them both as it turns out to be.

I really enjoyed this, the pacing was great, from a slow start to the final showdowns, and that rare beast a proper (although drawn out) conclusion with all our characters having their journeys completed. All of the characters evolved and grew, and none in directions I expected, which is very unusual. The world-building was detailed and thought through with consequences to actions and reasons for how and why things came to be. There's a great mingling of history and tradition, with references to many legends but unique the same time. I'm not too keen on multi-character arcs but four is just about manageable, although if does introduce many minor players that are hard to keep track of. I'm even less keen on single-minded they're just evil opponents, but if you're going to do it, a great dragon is probably the best way to do so. It did introduce an inconsistency which grated all the way through - the magic is divided into two halves and all the evil dragons are fire based. Yet somehow the fire magic itself didn't have any such taint.

Minor niggles aside it's a great book, and I anticipate joyfully exploring her other works.
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LibraryThing member bell7
Terrifying wyrms are on the rise and the Nameless One himself, banished a thousand years ago, may be waking soon. Some believe that he cannot if one of the Berethnet line remains alive, a hope Queen Sabran is holding to and her lady, Ead, is guarding her life on that chance. Meanwhile, in the East,
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a young woman Tané trains to become a dragon rider, a dream that may shatter when she meets a stranger and sends him to the exiled alchemist, Niclays Roos.

Is your head spinning yet? Mine was. This 800+ page sprawling epic fantasy follows four different characters across several different countries that each have their own versions of the mythology that now surrounds the first defeat of the Nameless One. They will have to tease out the truth and let go of longstanding, dearly held religious beliefs and prejudices in a race against time. The political intrigue was the most interesting part, but even that loses some charm because the multiple points of view give the reader more information than any single characters has, and that element gave way to the great evil to fight in the end. A little bit of love rounds out the story. Unfortunately, I found it a little too long to be entirely satisfying.
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LibraryThing member pyanfarrrr
The Priory of the Orange Tree was a really fun read. The world is large, and the settings are pretty and well-described, although the world feels a little flat when I step back to consider it. It's nice to read something where patriarchy is totally absent. Lots of great characters and exciting plot
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threads. I thought the main romance was good. The prose was graceful and unobtrusive. I definitely recommend this book.

Why I'm not giving it four stars: I wanted a stronger theme and a more original central conflict. Good vs evil is never compelling for me. The poem everyone kept calling a riddle invoked the concept of balance, and so I hoped the central conflict would turn into something more than it was. It would have been a lot more satisfying if killing the Nameless One had led to some other environmental catastrophe and the ultimate resolution involved finding some lasting balance between fire and ice.

I also hoped Kalyba would be more morally ambiguous. It seemed like she was being built up as a Baba Yaga-type character, but at the end she turned out to be pretty one-dimensional.

Oh gosh, Kalyba could have been so important if the story went in a "restoring balance" direction. I want a fanfic author to write that alternate ending!
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LibraryThing member brakketh
Really enjoyed the thorough world-building with the mixture of cultural influences. Characters throughout were fascinating and well developed. I look forward to any further books in this world.
LibraryThing member Tikimoof
Boy, this took a while. Um, it was fine, I guess?

Niclays truly was the worst part of it. Escaping retribution through luck while so many others died. Luckily he was largely absent from the middle part of the book where I resumed after a 2 month break, and there was enough action in that part for me
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to not immediately drop it again.

So that middle half action was pretty good. From about 60% onward I was actively interested in seeing how the story would end. The beginning was really rough though.

The POV characters also being so separated for 70% of the book also made it really hard for me to follow the politicking and alliances. Was there a map? I would have liked an easily accessible map.

Fucking Niclays, though.
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LibraryThing member riida
after almost a month and a half, and a paperback + audiobook combo, i finally finished this 800+ page door stopper! although, this was not the book's fault as, in other circumstances, i could have probably finished it in one long weekend. it's that well written and well paced. and honestly, i
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really wish this was at least a trilogy. i miss it already!

i've seen the priory described as a more female-centric 'game of thrones', but i believe it's even more empowering than the former. no surprise i found myself falling hard for samantha shannon's characters. the politics and world building could have been more fleshed out, and some minor story arcs sometimes come to jarring sudden stops, but there's very little fluff to weigh the story down. and the mythology of the book is simple gorgeous! as is that cover art!

the most satisfying dragon tale i've read in a long time!
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LibraryThing member qaphsiel
Certainly above a 3, but not enough to round up to 4.

Overall, a good story and adventure. The characters are generally likable and interesting, and more importantly, grow with the story.

Several other reviewers complained about the pacing one way or another: liking the slower pace at the beginning
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and thus maligning the rapidity in the latter part of the book or vice versa. I was resistant to this, but having finished it, I have to agree. For me, I liked the relatively slow pacing of the first part and felt the end was too rushed. Perhaps a duology would've been a better route.

My other issue is with the illogic of some plot points. Two examples...

MILD SPOILERS

The main character's dragon gets captured. In her society, the dragons are revered as divine. Also, no new dragons have hatched in two centuries.

What's the call? Wrong. Instead, they decide not to rescue the dragon. Dangerous, said dragon will probably already be dead by the time they get there. (Note: they have dozens, maybe more, dragons, who fly, fast.) It boggles the mind. It felt cheap and clumsy. The story deserved far more deftness in creating the plot point this led to.

Amid the rushed ending, one of the characters, hell-bent on revenge, has a very sudden change of heart. Sure, it makes sense from the exterior, logical view of things. But sorry, hatred-fueled revenge doesn't work like that, at least not on the timescale of a minute or two.

/END SPOILERS
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LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
This is a book I kinda wish I'd read as an e-book, it comes in at 830 pages and is a doorstop of a book (Husband did remark that you could do damage with it). In a world with dragons almost a thousand years ago an evil dragon was defeated and sealed up. Legends have built about it and now there are
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those who believe that all dragons are evil, those who revere dragons, those who revere evil dragons and those who wonder why people are wondering why anyone is worrying about something that is in the past. Magic is banned in some places and there's complications with magic. Add to this a dragon-borne plague that is spreading and you have a lot of things going on.

Shannon has created an interesting world with varieties of people and cultures and complicated politics. There is room at the end for sequels but there doesn't need to be any.

It took a while to read but it kept me reading. It didn't travel with me!!!
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LibraryThing member quondame
If you are absolutely perishing for a lesbian mishmash wannabe combo of Realm of the Elderlings, Wheel of Time, and Game of Thrones, I guess you can do worse than this. But, oh, you can do so much better. It doesn't become painful until just over half way when the characters begin being jerked
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through the plot like manic puppets, zipped hither and thither to be where they gotta go. But the book is 800 pages, so that's a lot of pain.
For me there was no depth in the world or it's lore, not so much as a lacquer's layers over a paper box, and the characters, once presented marched only as automatons.
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LibraryThing member yonitdm
Am enjoyable, engaging read. I plowed through it in 24hrs just to keep all the threads pulling to the conclusion.

Awards

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2019-02-26

Physical description

9.49 x 6.57 inches

ISBN

1408883465 / 9781408883464
Page: 1.9435 seconds