Samantha Shannon, author of the bestselling Bone Season trilogy, is the latest YA author to attempt the jump to adult fantasy. Her highly anticipated The Priory of the Orange Tree — all 830 pages of it — arrives in hardcover from Bloomsbury in a month.
The transition from YA superstar to mainstream success isn’t easy, however (just ask JK Rowling). But I’m extremely intrigued about this one. Mostly because of Sarah Avery’s review of The Bone Season to be honest, published right here back in 2014. Here’s the snippet that caught my eye.
Read this book. Just read it. Ignore the reviews that call Samantha Shannon the next J.K. Rowling, or call the series that opens with The Bone Season the next Hunger Games… It’s the book you would get if Philip K. Dick decided to write about the wild Victorian occult scene that flourished under Madame Blavatsky, blossomed again in the time of W.B. Yeats and Aleister Crowley, lingering until it faded with its evenstar, Dion Fortune. That is, if Philip K. Dick decided to take all that supernatural grandiosity, and steampunk adaptations of Victoriana, and turn them on their heads by transposing them into a dystopian near-future historical moment that feels intermittently like hard SF with its what-ifs scrambled.
The early reviews of The Priory of the Orange Tree have been very promising. Marie Brennan calls it “An astonishing achievement,” and Laini Taylor labels it a “magnificent epic of queens, dragonriders, and badass secret wyrm-slaying priestesses.” Publishers Weekly says it’s a “massive standalone epic fantasy with court intrigue, travel through dangerous lands, [and] fantastical religions.” Here’s the description.
[Click the images for dragon-sized versions.]
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 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.
The Priory of the Orange Tree will be published by Bloomsbury on February 26, 2019. It is 830 pages, priced at $32 in hardcover and $14.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Ivan Belikov. Read an excerpt at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.
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