Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Priory of the Orange TreeThe Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unfortunately, I'm not really falling for the hype on this one.

I'm giving it 3.5 stars.

I appreciate the strong female characters here and love that there is -- eventually -- dragons, but much of the characterizations did not really grab me all that much.

As a consequence, the light and circuitous intrigue, assassination attempts, and double-lives tended to just feel slightly... usual. Usual for High Fantasy. And make no mistake, this is very much High Fantasy. A large cast of characters, big focus on place and world-building, and a drive to take down the Nameless One.

How are we going to get two seemingly naturalistically antagonistic empires of Dragons and Wyrms to fight together against the big bad?

Okay. No problem. I'm down with that. The big story and the magic and the dragons were fun, all told. But nothing about this really stood out. It may be on the level with some of Robin Hobb's lesser works or squarely in the center of the curve for the rest of the High Fantasies coming out these days.

But it doesn't really stand out to me. I've read tons of fantasies with Dragons. The first Temiare books were fantastic. I've played lots of D&D and some with playable Dragon races. And then there's McCaffrey who had TIME TRAVELLING DRAGONS, yo. Not to mention JRRT or Potter or Wizard of Earthsea or Hobb or EVEN SOIaF. All of these had better dragons.

Sorry. Just because it is new doesn't make it better.

It's okay.

And slightly too long.

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