Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

About the Book:

The Priory of the Orange Tree

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

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 to be a dragonrider since she was a child, 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.

My Thoughts:

I found this book while browsing through Instagram. There was a lot of posts about it and so much of praise. I knew that I had to read the book. It was the best decision I made.

Samantha Shannon weaves a world of fantasy, magic and dragons, that makes for a very compelling read. The story follows a great number of characters across various parts of the globe, mainly referred to based on the directions of North, South, East and West. Each direction has it’s own set of countries, rulers and stories. The author weaves them all together slowly, unraveling parts of the mystery and introducing us to many people.

As the story progresses, the reader has no choice but to keep going on. It is so well written, that the reader can imagine the scenes with ease. This helps to connect with the people and their surroundings. The story is filled with intrigue, mystery, love and magic. There is also some betrayal, a lot of hope, a strong sense of duty and bonds that grows among people from being united against a common enemy.

The story follows the lives of Ead, Sabran and Tané. Each have their own stories, their own secrets and a big role to play in this narrative. In addition, we have a lot of supporting characters who play pivotal roles in shaping the happenings in the story. The characters are strong and well crafted making it easy for the reader to connect with them and understand them. Each of the characters are tested when their faith comes into question, as well as when they are forced to take decisions that would change the course of their lives forever. This has been very beautifully depicted and the companionship between some of the characters is heart-warming.

I absolutely loved this book and the journey I took with the characters as they navigated their lives and finally moved towards the fight with an ancient enemy. I strongly recommend this book to all the readers out there! This is worth the read!

Book Review of The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards by Steve LeBel

About the Book:

Gods vs. Wizards ~ an epic struggle for survival

Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach.

Bernie’s job is to restore production on the planet Photox, but he soon discovers a world caught up in a civil war. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. The gods on Bernie’s world are no help. If he fails to restore production, they will destroy Photox’s entire population.

Bernie is desperate to keep this from happening, even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…

My Thoughts:

 In this next book of ‘The Universe Builders’, Bernie now has a job and he is working on creating universes to please their customers. This book takes off from where the last left off, with the main characters now out of school and trying to find their footing in the commercial world. It is wonderful to see how the characters have grown and changed. If you have read the previous book(s), you’d understand this. If not, here is a brief idea of the basic plot.

Bernie and his friends are young gods. They have just completed God school where they learnt the art of creating universes, how to create life and how to find out what are the elements that when combined, would sustain life. In this book, Bernie has to restore the production of a particular plant on a planet. When Bernie arrives on the planet, he finds that there is a lot more going on. As he teams up with his friends to try to figure out a solution, he is faced with problems from the people of the planet. This story is also one of discovery and understanding, of strong bonds and friendship and trust. We watch them grow and mature a little, while Bernie’s cloud becomes naughtier by the minute!

A well-written novel, this book proves to be fun to read and is more mature in the nature of the plot as compared to the previous story. There the focus was on introducing the characters and making us familiar with them and the world. Now, it is more focused on the emotional depth of the characters and the plot. The story moves quickly and it is nice to read about a developing relationship between Bernie and Susie, which most of you would have seen coming. An entertaining concept, the author brings out a different perspective on life and creation.

Everyone who enjoys a good read in the fantasy genre would really enjoy this book and the others in the series!