A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon – ARC Review!

Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms – but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.

To the north, in the Queendom of Inys, Sabran the Ambitious has married the new King of Hróth, narrowly saving both realms from ruin. Their daughter, Glorian, trails in their shadow – exactly where she wants to be.

The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.

When the Dreadmount erupts, bringing with it an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat.

I was so excited to return to the world of the Priory, and A Day of Fallen Night certainly did not disappoint. Shannon brings her expertly woven world and story lines together for another epic adventure filled story & managed to make me fall in love with a completely new bunch of characters. It’s a story filled with politics and warring religions, set in an epic and expansive world and for this reason it is near impossible to sum up without giving away some kind of spoiler, so I’m not even going to try.

For those of you who have read Priory of the Orange Tree, A Day of Fallen Night will feel like returning home, whilst also allowing you to visit new places & meet new people. The story is told from multiple perspective’s set in the North, West, South and East of Shannon’s world, each bringing their own unique perspective, skill set as well as adding to the overall mystery and tension of the story. Our main narrators were Glorian in the West, the Daughter of Queen Sabran who doesn’t see her role as a Berethnet as something to be proud of. She would rather she wasn’t praised for her future ability to bring the next Berethnet daughter and heir into the world, but would prefer to live a life like her fathers, the life of a warrior, someone not to be coddled but rather show her promise as a ruler through battle and exploration. Tunuva in the South, a daughter of the Priory she spends her days training and waiting for the time she and her sisters will be called upon to protect the land from the Nameless One. She loves her life, but carries a great loss that she can never truly shake. Dumai lives in the East. She has only known the life of a God-singer in the Seiikinese mountain temple, but when someone visits from her mothers past, they set into motion a chain of events that Dumai could never see coming, one that see’s her travelling from to other corners of the world, and coming face to face with the God’s themselves. Wulf in the North, Wulf’s character is one we see travel throughout the book with him being pledged to Glorian’s father & he is our only male main pov. He is an orphan, found in the woods and raised by his adoptive family, but there have always been whispers about his heritage, whispers of witchcraft that follow him wherever he goes. He just longs for a life of normality with those he loves.

There are multiple other POV’s that Shannon treats us too throughout the story who all pop up at the pivotal time to share their stories, but the above four are the one’s we spend the most time with, and those whose character arc’s have the most impact on the story and world itself. As usual, Shannon links our characters together in ways we could never imagine and it’s only when the foreshadowing falls into place that we see the genius of her storytelling and the true depth to her characters.

This story is set roughly 500 years before the events of The Priory of the Orange Tree and Shannon did a brilliant job of making her world similar enough to the first book, whilst also making it different enough to be historically accurate. There were slight differences in the language as well as the overall world, which just added an authenticity to the story. But what really shone through were the little crumbs that she leaves in throughout to show how the world we are in would lead to the one in Priory. The hints and foreshadowing in this book are brilliant, and for those who are reading this before Priory you are in for a treat when you see how brilliantly she set the world and characters up for that book.

The story is epic and spans years as well as continents, so Shannon gives us plenty of time to get accustomed to her world and characters before bringing any true danger and heartbreak to the story. She’s written this so anyone new to the world could start with this book and have no issues with the worldbuilding, places, people and religions that are involved so there was a bit of repetition from Priory but, as someone who didn’t have time to re-read the first book, I loved it because it meant that I never struggled to get my bearings and means that new readers can read the books in any order with ease. I also love how normalised queerness is in her world, it’s never something commented on, simply the norm & there were so many queer characters in the story, including multiple members of our main POV’s. Shannon’s writing style effortlessly brings her characters and world to life, and she has this knack for writing scenes that epic in description that they make the hairs on the back of my arms stand on end. Her descriptions of physical battles are just as epic as her descriptions of political battles, as well as the simple quieter scenes she writes and there was no part of the story where I found myself bored, because her writing style ensures you stay glued to the pages.

When I say this story is epic I am in no way over exaggerating. Shannon puts so much time and effort into introducing us to the different corners of her world, their different politics and religions, the players and who we should be paying attention too. It is heavy in detail, which is definitely needed for you to get the full impact of the story, but it’s also not going to be for everyone. As a fan of an intricate & well built world I couldn’t get enough of all the information Shannon throws our way, but it was a story I had to take my time with. It took me nearly two weeks to read because I couldn’t power through like I usually do, every bit of information, every character interaction is important to the story and because of that you have to pace your reading to ensure you miss nothing.

I truly adored this book and loved how it linked in with The Priory of the Orange Tree. Everything from the characters to the world was epic. Shannon has built a world I think I would never tire of coming back to, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

8 replies »

  1. Excellent review! I’m so excited to read this book! And, I heard she’s writing another standalone tome for this series!

    I know she’s doing an event near me, but I don’t know whether or not I’ll be able to make it.


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