Book Scene: Compelling fantasy novel hits all the right notes | Explore Yakima

Get ready to be swept off your feet into a fantastical world full of dragons and magic in “The Priory of the Orange Tree.” It’s a world split between the East and the West, where it has been almost a thousand years since the Nameless One was defeated. But the fear of him and his evil still haunts the people in this world.

In the West, Ead is on a secret mission to protect the queen, Sabran. Queen Sabran’s bloodline is said to be the only thing keeping the Nameless One at bay. In the East, Tane has the ambition to become a dragon rider but risks it all when she saves a man from the West. The narration switches between four characters as this ensemble cast slowly, through many twists and turns, find their fates intertwined. Loyalties are tested, and tragedy awaits. Yet hope remains.

“All of us have shadows in us,” he said. “I accept yours.” He placed a hand over her ring. “And I hope you will also accept mine.” With a tired smile, she threaded her fingers between his. “Gladly.’”

That is an exchange between two of the main characters, Loth and Ead. They come from different religious beliefs, and for a moment it seems as if the different beliefs they hold true will make it impossible for them to remain friends. Differing religions are a major plot point in this book. Author Samantha Shannon shows you can have different beliefs and principles yet still be able to cherish and value the person in front of you.

Part of this book is an original retelling of the story of Saint George and the Dragon. Shannon takes the well-known fantasy formula and gives it a fresh voice by using nontraditional characters to weave her tale.

This book contains some mature themes; I would recommend it to any adult who loves to be transported into another world and watch as the world unfolds before you.

• “The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon was published by Bloomsbury Publishing in February 2019. It retails for $20.

• Lisette Pietsch works for Inklings Bookshop. She and other Inklings staffers review books each week in Thursday’s SCENE.

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