The Priory of the Orange Tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree
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Bloomsbury Publishing
February 26th 2019
Hardcover
848
English
February 21, 2020 March 1, 2020

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 all her life to be a dragonrider, 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.

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About the book

The world of this book is divided into two: the west and the east. These two continents are different, both in culture and races, and in dragons. In the West, dragons are hated and everyone is afraid that the Nameless One will return to life, a dragon that was the terror of the world a thousand years earlier. In the east dragons are revered as if they were gods and are totally different from “sleeping dragons”. Because a thousand years earlier the Nameless One was defeated and sent to the Abyss, a sea that lies between the two continents and thanks to that all the other western dragons have fallen as if in hibernation.

We follow the events of a queen of the West and it is said that as long as her lineage exists, the Nameless One cannot return and those of an oriental girl who is about to become a Guardian of the Seas, but due to a westerner who arrives on the island where she lives from the sea, she risks of being legally prosecuted.

In this book there is also the plague which is a disease brought on by western dragons. The east is immune to it (or rather there are no cases) and for this reason if western illegal immigrants are found to land on the eastern soil, they are put to death.

Obviously there are many other events and different points of view that are beautiful to discover as you read the book. For example, what the orange tree is and its properties.

What I think

I liked the book, the eastern part much more than the western one since it is the part that has the dragons and the events of the eastern protagonist is much more interesting than the other counterpart. Too bad they weren’t longer. The story, despite its size, is not divided equally between east and west, but the western part is much more followed than the other.

Style

Each chapter has a different point of view, we have different characters who in the various chapters speak and tell the story. I really like this style because it reminds me of Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the fact of having various points of view is what I liked about that saga. So for this reason the book is fascinating. The chapters are not very long and the language is clear. At the end of the book there is also a glossary and an appendix which summaries all the characters.

Characters

As mentioned, we follow several narrators and these are Tané with whom the book begins, an Oriental girl who is the one who finds the foreigner with whom the events begin in Seiiki, the island on which the events in the east will take place most of the time. Tané is an orphan, she grew up in a school (I don’t know its English name, sorry) where children and teenagers are trained to become Guardians of the Seas (I hope this is the correct translation). Some chosen ones of these schools (there are four in the capital of the island) ride the dragons of the east and Tané aspires to be one of them.

Then we have Niclays Roos, a western anatomist in exile in Orisima, a western outpost in the east. In fact, his story mostly takes place in Seiiki and he is involved in the story of the foreigner who landed on the island.

In the West, on the other hand, we have Eadaz (and a series of other names, many of which are unpronounceable, we will call her Ead, as in the book) who is a lady-in-waiting at Sabran the Ninth’s court, queen of Inys. And her events will intertwine with tree of the title and the east.

And finally, the only male narrator, Sir Arthelot Beck, Loth, one of the nobles of the West, very close friend of both Ead and the queen of Inys. His events are mostly in the west, in the south (but always in the western part) and in the east.

Another fundamental character is the Queen of Inys, Sabran the Ninth, whose lineage refers to the one who defeated the Nameless One. But this will be refuted in the story.

And of course the Eastern Dragons which are gorgeous.

Conclusion

The book is marvellous, I recommend it to those who love dragons, fantastic worlds, legends and those who love magic, that isn’t, however, a fundamental element in the tale.

At a certain point the story is a bit predictable, but it’s still a good book. I would have liked it more if it were a series, not because it doesn’t answer all the questions but because I would have liked to see how the world was formed, why there are eight realms, how “Virtudom” was formed, which is what is called the ensemble of multiple kingdoms which all believes in the Nameless One legend or also learn about the people of the other kingdoms, not only of Inys. We only have a glimpse of what the other realms are but I would have liked more information. Or why the South and the “Virtudom” hate each other, which is only touched in the book and I would have liked to have it explained more. But overall I loved the book.

 

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