We’re transported to a full-on fantasy world of warring continents, religious fanatics, magic jewels, schemers and dreamers, not to mention dragons, wyrms, wyverns and worse...
Blending politics with high adventure and the epic with the intimate, the narrative builds like a tidal wave before sweeping towards an awesome, climactic finale.
In plain terms, it might have been a better book for being, oh, let’s say three-quarters of the book it actually is. Its eight-hundred-odd pages spend a long time establishing character and setting, with occasional diversions to recount the odd fable or two. I nearly gave up in frustration several times before reaching the 250-page mark—had I not been reading it for review and promised ahead of time that the novel’s two most interesting characters at that point would end up in a queer relationship that I thought looked fascinatingly impossible, I would have. It’s only halfway through that matters become reasonably tense and compelling. That’s quite a while to wait.
Samantha Shannon, author of the bestselling Bone Season series, turns her considerable storytelling ability to epic fantasy with added dragons in the 800-page blockbuster The Priory of the Orange Tree...Shannon’s strengths are her graphic world-building and the presentation of the queendoms, their different traditions and beliefs; her control of a large cast of characters; and the skill with which she brings the intersecting storylines to a satisfying climax.