Friday, November 18, 2022

Review: A DAY OF FALLEN NIGHT by Samantha Shannon


Rating: 5/5 stars

A Day of Fallen Night is set about 500 years before The Priory of the Orange Tree. It’s a mutligenerational, multi-POV political fantasy that’s very intricately detailed and a little bit longer than the first book. Priory is one of my favorite books of all time that I have not stopped talking about or hyping up since I read it the month it was released. I cannot tell you how excited I was to learn that there was going to be more books written in this world, since Shannon originally planned it as a single book. 

I want to point out right away that you do not need to read Priory prior to reading Fallen Night. In fact, if you haven’t read either book yet, I would start with this one. I feel like this story is the kind that is best told in chronological order but with the knowledge that the author wrote the books in reverse chronological order, that she already had everything planned out ahead of time. Both books, though, are standalones with different characters, so you could read them in either order you like. 
It was very interesting to see the subtle changes to the world that we knew in Priory. Of course history changes over time, and this is seen in the slight changes in spelling between some of the city names in the two books. I love that this small detail made the world feel so much richer and more realistic. 

We have four POVs but way more than four main characters. Our storytellers are: 
Dumai: 27, a godsinger at the High Temple of Kwiriki in Seiiki (the East). Daughter of Unora, the Maiden Officiant, and Emperor Jorodu. 
Tunuva: 50, tomb keeper for the Priory and guardian of the remains of Cleolind Onjenyu, who founded the Priory in Lasia (the South). 
Glorian: 15, daughter of Sabran VI of Inys and Bardholdt I of Hróth. Sole heir to the Queendom of Inys (the West) and figurehead for their religion. 
Wulfert: 18, a sailor from Inys and childhood friend of Glorian. He comes from mysterious origins. 

I don’t want to say too much about the storylines for the individual characters because I don’t want to give anything away, but if you know your history of this world, this installment takes place during the time of the second great eruption of the Dreadmount, which released the five High Westerns and their wyverns into the world and caused the Grief of Ages. Each character must deal with the effects of the Draconic Army wreaking havoc on their land while also dealing with a lot of personal trials and political machinations in their own nations. 

Three of the four POV characters have someone come in to their lives who they aren’t really sure if they are a friend or a foe. It was very interesting to read about these characters becoming close to these outsiders, only to wonder if they were going to be betrayed or not. This book definitely punches you in the heart at times. 

Somehow I loved all of these characters and their relationships even more than those in Priory, which I didn’t think was possible. I especially loved seeing how intricately linked they all are to each other and how their stories intertwine. 

I loved this book so much and I have already preordered two copies because I will reread this for the rest of my life. I love this rich and detailed world that Samantha Shannon has created, and I am so excited that she has a third book planned!! It will be a few years before its release, but it’s another prequel and I really hope it’s the story of Cleolind and Galian and the first great eruption of the Dreadmount. I will read anything that takes place in this world because I love everything about it so much. If you love epic fantasy, rich worldbuilding, flawed and relatable characters, dragons, and excellent writing, then do yourself a favor and read this series. 

Note: Do NOT look up this book’s characters in the glossary in The Priory of the Orange Tree because it does spoil some critical scenes that happen in A Day of Fallen Night. I wanted to see if this book’s main characters were listed there, and they were. But then I made the mistake of reading their bios and I thought, “welp, I guess I know how this character is going to die, and what decision that other character is going to make about this big thing” etc. So yes, save yourself the spoilers and finish this book first before you learn how the characters were remembered in history. It’s very awesome, however, to see how much of this story that Samantha Shannon already knew was going to happen when she crafted Priory. The lore and history of this world is so incredible deep and rich. 

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