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.
Author: Samantha Shannon
Narrator: Liyah Summers
Publisher: Audible Studios
Run Time: 25 hrs 52 mins
Audio Release Date: 26/02/2019
My Rating for ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’: 1 out of 5
This is probably going to be an unpopular review due to the fact that, for reasons I honestly can’t fathom, this book gets listed on everyone’s favourite fantasy reads of 2019 list. But, if I’m brutally honest, I hated it.
So yea, if you really, really, love this book and can’t bare to hear someone say bad things about it … then here would be a good place to stop reading.
I honestly have so little to say that is positive about it. The character development, if there was any character development at all, was so bad that I genuinely got excited whenever one of them looked like they might die. My key issues with the characters are as follows:
We have a queen that is so politically inept that I could walk up to her, tell her I intend to betray and overthrow her kingdom and would very much appreciate it if she just let me get on with it, and she would still look shocked when it happened. Her lady in waiting is far too perfect; there seems very little she doesn’t know or can’t do. There’s an alchemist who is so thoroughly unlikable that the fact he is being pushed as a main character we are supposed to feel sorry for is borderline insulting and then we have one of the most selfish women in the world who would gladly break the laws of her land if it meant personal gain.
there’s also the fact that dragons are revered as gods but seem painfully incapable of doing very much of anything to stand up to a determined human. That just lessened the impact of things pretty early on.
And we are supposed to care for these people rather than just feel frustrated and completely uncaring for their struggles. I just couldn’t. I didn’t have that level of feeling as a reader to overlook so many thoroughly unlikable or uninteresting characters.
Niclays had a story that started out so very interesting, and I honestly thought his story line would be the one saving grace in the whole book and, to an extent, it was. His was, by any stretch of the imagination, the most enjoyable aspect. It was just him as a person that was so difficult to like or care about when things went bad. He is pretty much miserable at the world because his conniving ways were caught and he was punished for it.
The end did somewhat save certain characters for me as far as unlikablility went, but it was only my ‘must not DNF a title’ mentality that kept me through to the end. I certainly didn’t feel the ending was in any way epic enough to warrant such tedium that led up to it.
I felt the plot was a bit all over the place and nothing overly dynamic seemed to happen, or if it did it certainly didn’t stay dynamic for very long. It became very apparent that I was only reading this so I could actually finish it as very little, if anything struck me as engaging or as a thing that made me want to get home so I could continue on with it.
I know everyone raves about the F/F romance in it and, to be honest, it didn’t feel that special. It just kind of happened without any wonderful build up that I expected. It felt genuine as it went on but it just felt forced early on.
The narration was also very lacking in my opinion. The vocals on display simply didn’t have the depth to engulf a wide cast of characters. This either led to some being a bit samey or some being incredibly overly-theatrical. One character (a main one) just had a very whiney, whinging, sound to him. Another, an incredibly powerful person just had a high-pitched, pantomime villain sort of voice that made it impossible to take her seriously. And the dragons … I could rant for ages about the dragons. They just fell into the ‘voices you’d put on to try and entertain a child before bedtime’ so theatrical and over the top were they.
All in all … yea, I really didn’t enjoy this one. Which was a shame as I expected so much given the hype surrounding it.