Book Review | The Priory of the Orange Tree

Book Review

I’m sure you’ve seen a million and one reviews of The Priory of the Orange Tree. It has been everywhere this year. It’s been out for months, and I don’t think I can go a week without seeing it somewhere. Naturally, I was curious. Also, because I own three other Samantha Shannon books that I haven’t read, and I thought it was definitely time (don’t judge me, I’ll get to them eventually). But I put up a poll (a while ago) to see which fantasy book I should read next, and you guys voted for Priory. And then it took me over two months to read. But I did it! So now I can talk about it.

(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)


The Priory of the Orange Tree is a beast of a book. I was excited by the synopsis, and also the fact that it’s a standalone fantasy novel. And then I tried to read it and couldn’t get into it. After my second unsuccessful attempt to force myself to read this, I tried the audiobook. Which was better, but I still just wasn’t excited about this story. I ended up listening to it on 2.5x speed because I’m stubborn and just wanted to finish it.

Like I said, I really wasn’t excited about this book. I didn’t dislike it, but for me to get through eight-hundred pages of fantasy, I want to feel a little invested. And I just never really did. I think my biggest issue was that there are just so many subplots that kind of don’t matter in the scheme of things. At times, it felt like this book was long for the sake of being long. I’ve fantasy novels longer than this one, but they didn’t drag quite so much.

I’m still a little bit conflicted, because I didn’t dislike anything about Priory, it just didn’t work for me. I thought the story was intriguing. I liked the idea of Inys and Sabran, but I also wasn’t upset when bad things happened to them. And, like I said, I need to feel something to get through such a long book, and I just didn’t. I also thought the ending was pretty anticlimactic, and, for such a long book, it happened a little too fast. I’m not sure if I felt that way because I was ready for it to be over at that point, but I did.

There really isn’t anything bad I can say about Priory – even though there are quite a few things that I didn’t personally enjoy – and I can definitely see why so many people love it. It just wasn’t for me, and that’s fine. We can’t all like the same books. I genuinely think if you like YA fantasy, you’ll like this one. Even though it is an adult fantasy novel, the writing felt very young adult, so I think it might be a great bridge into adult fantasy if that’s something you’re looking to get into.


★★★☆☆ – The Priory of the Orange Tree is a solid fantasy novel. Even though I didn’t love it, I can see why so many other people do. I would definitely be open to reading more of Samantha Shannon’s work in the future.

Have you read The Priory of the Orange Tree? What did you think?

15 thoughts on “Book Review | The Priory of the Orange Tree

  1. I read Priory right after it came out and I highly enjoyed it! For me, it was everything I wanted, and it flew by! It sucks that it wasn’t quite right for you.

  2. I was one of the people that loved this one! But I totally see where you’re coming from. Also, I do really recommend Shannon’s series the Bone Season, if you want to check out more from her!

    1. Well, I already own the first three books in the Bone Season series (definitely a book hoarder), so I plan on giving it a try at some point. I know it’s a bit different, so maybe it’ll work better for me.

  3. I also struggled with this one, in fact, I had to DNF it about half-way through because I just couldn’t get through it. Feel completely the same in the sense that there wasn’t anything I really disliked, I just wasn’t interested enough to keep reading.

    1. Glad I wasn’t the only one! The only reason I didn’t DNF was sheer stubbornness. It’s just really long, and I didn’t care about anything that happened, but it also wasn’t a bad book.

  4. Great review. Sometimes a meh book is fine to read, but this one is so huge!!! I would feel like I’m wasting my time if I’m reading (especially a physical copy) of something I’m not very passionate it.

  5. This actually makes me more intrigued to read it. I just bought it and I’ve seen many people just love it. A friend I think was in a similar boat as you. I’m interested to see what my own reaction will be. Great review!

    1. Thanks! Let me know what you think! To be fair, I didn’t think it was a bad book at all, just not for me. I had a hard time caring about anything and it was just so long. But I can definitely see why people love it.

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