The Priory of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

“All the world is a cage in a young girl's eyes.”


Mariah Rose

8/7/2021 2 min read

“We may be small, and we may be young, but we will shake the world for our beliefs.”

I just need it said that I've been calling this book "The Priority of the Orange Tree" for months, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

I wanted to finish this yesterday (March 8th) because it was International Women's Day and this book is everything I have ever wanted to see in the Epic Fantasy genre since I was a little girl - but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men. I digress.

From the very beginning this book pulled me in and I held on for dear life. The world building felt natural and progressed at a pace that kept me interested in the plot but not overwhelmed. Shannon weaved a beautiful web from Eastern and Western mythology, and infused it with this badass womanly energy that makes me so excited to see the ripple effect.

The book changes POVs from place to place instead of character, so you get glimpses of what is going on in the East, West and South as the story progresses. What I found so interesting in this book is that usually, when I deal with a POV change I'm annoyed because I wanna see everything play out, or I like one character better, but in Priory everything was just so well timed and executed to perfection.

Can I also say, props to the author for making this standalone and a self-contained story in itself and not dragging it out in book after book just to cash grab like a lot of authors choose to do. And there is so much beauty in the fact that this is one gorgeous tale on its own. It is magical, and powerful, and dramatic, and an adventure from beginning to end.

I think there is something so unique in fantasy that is unlike any other genre, where anything is possible and we are not bound by the boring and often stifling constrictions and preconceived notions. If there are dragons and wyrms and magic than why not Queendoms, and societies where the women are the ones trained to fight, and it is just as common for a man to marry another man than it is for him to marry a woman.

I really don't want to say too much about the story because I find so much joy in walking into a brand new world. But I looked back on my updates while I was reading this and this is what I experienced: goosebumps, edge of your seat excitement, awe when faced with such beautiful storytelling skill, surprise as nothing went down how I thought it would, shock because HOLY. MORTHERFORKING. SHIRTBALLS. BATMAN, and just so much contentment in knowing there's a book like this out there now.