The Priory of the Orange Tree
by Samantha Shannon
Behind every throne is a masked servant who seeks only to make a puppet of the one who sits on it.
Ead, a sister of the Priory is posing as a chamber maid in Inys with a task to protect Queen Sabran from harm.
Tane, a Seiikinese orphan training to be a dragon rider.
Niclays Roos, an alchemist banished from Inys for embezzling the queen’s money for a promise to come up with an elixir for eternal life.
Loth Beck, heir apparent to the estate of Goldenbirch.
Four characters from different walks of life with different points of view on religion, and politics on their journey to defeat the Nameless One.
Honestly, I always have an apprehension on novels that have multiple POVs. I find it initially confusing to determine which character is speaking, especially when there is no introduction or indication whose head we are currently invading. Another note on multiple POVs that I find annoying is when supposed important characters are not given enough pages/chapters. It takes away some of their contribution to the novel when they suddenly disappear and then pop out later. It makes you question whether it was even worth giving the character focus. On the book, I have nothing against Ead or Tane being painted as storytellers. Loth’s chapters are somewhat okay. Niclays, I am not very sure because I feel like the story would go on even without him.
The storytelling is very captive with in-depth description of kingdoms, politics, and religion which is good. The world building is obviously Tolkien-like and I guess one can never go wrong with that. During the course of events, it was pointed out again and again that the awakening of the Nameless One is the end of humanity. They speak fear but see hope on legends/myths that their foe can be defeated. The plot revolved around the possibility of defeating the Nameless One with weapons and whatnot. The journey, the scandals, and revelations are very on point. I loved it. It made me want to read more. I wanted to see how they will face the Nameless One but it fell flat. I wanted to love it all but the climax was not what I expected. The anticipation, the 700 pages of hyping it up was too good to be true. If you plan to read the book, I will leave that up to you to decide.
I am a sucker for highly reviewed books, and seeing this on the top shelf made me want to add this on my summer reading list. They say it’s a feminist Lord of the Rings. Okay. LGBT representation, no problem but a pair would have been enough. Revealing another character feels like pushing it too far and does not feel as natural to the flow of the story anymore. I wanted to completely love this book but 800 pages seems too long for a novel to end on a stab.