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REVIEWS: The Wicked King & The Priory of the Orange Tree.

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

The Wicked King:

It’s been a while since I’ve read both the Cruel Prince and the Wicked King. When I’m writing this review, it’s been a long time since I’ve read the Wicked King, as I have been so busy in my personal life. I have a life, weird right? Anyway we follow Jude again as she is trying to get over the events that had occurred in the Cruel Prince. In order to keep her brother safe, she has to endure Cardan as King. She has bound herself to him so she can keep an eye on him. She is basically being the Little Finger of this universe. She is the power behind the throne. She is playing the game of thrones also. But Cardan being Cardan, he doesn’t like it. He doesn’t like being the puppet in which the puppeteer can control. So he tries to undermine her at every turn but Jude just isn’t having that. During this time, Jude discovers that she is being betrayed by someone close to her and must figure out who it is. You would think it would be Cardan? Nope. That’s too obvious. But the betrayal you do not see coming.

When I first began reading this book, it was very slow just trying to convey how Jude’s life is a mess. But the writing was slow and everything just wasn’t how I was expecting it to be until the last half. That’s when we see the faeries that we love and know. The tricksters and the ones that will do anything for their own gain and even Jude knows that but she gets caught in her beliefs that people are not against her, she therefore must fight for what is rightfully hers. The last pages are what everybody is shocked and astounded at. Cardan is ultimately himself, he chooses himself over Jude and ultimately she becomes the QUEEN OF NOTHING.

4 out of 5 stars.

The Priory of The Orange Tree:

The Priory of the Orange Tree was one of my most anticipated read of 2019. I first heard about this book via twitter from the author herself, Samantha Shannon. When the proofs started to come out, I was so excited that people were reading it, even if it was before me. But when they started posting the pictures of said proofs, that’s when I realised that this book is huge and when I say huge, I mean huge. It’s essentially the size of a standalone fantasy book because that’s what it is.

This book follows multiple point of views throughout the queendom of Inys. First we have Queen Sabran the Ninth, who must have a baby to continue the line of succession or the realm will face destruction. We then go to another point of view, Ead Duryan. She is an outsider of the court but has risen up to the highest standing of Lady in waiting. However, she is keeping her own secret, she works with a secret society of mages to help protect Sabran with her forbidden magic. On the other side of the dark sea, we follow Tané who has trained for her entire life to be a dragon rider but is forced to make choices that could see her future rattled.

One of my favourite things in this book, apart from the dragons; is that the kingdom is actually called a queendom in this novel. Samantha Shannon tweeted on 20th June 2018 that ‘I enjoyed the hell out of using the word ‘queendom’ in PRIORY. It took me ages to get used to it, because we're programmed to see ‘kingdom’ as the neutral and default, but now I don't bat an eyelid.’ She saw the way that we normalise misogynistic words in our own day-to-day life and thought that in creating a new universe, she could change this and make it more matriarchal in the wording.

Honestly, this book was magnificent but some high fantasy just drags on and this was one of them. The writing whilst amazing and prose like, becomes dreary and dragged out because the story does not move forward in a timely manner. It prolongs the experience and makes it not worthwhile. I actually had to force myself to read this book because of the weight and length of said book. The writing didn’t flow as well as I had hoped it would.

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