ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘A Day of Fallen Night’ Is An Epic Tale

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A Day of Fallen Night

An epic tale of dragons, magic, intrigue, and love, A Day of Fallen Night is written by Samantha Shannon and published by Bloomsbury USA. A Day of Fallen Night is the second book published in the Roots of Chaos series.

Almost five centuries before the events of The Priory of the Orange Tree, it is the time of the Grief of Ages or the Great Sorrow. Hundreds of years ago, Sir Galian Berethnet defeated The Nameless One, the evilest wyrm of all. But now, the Dreadmount, his birthplace, has erupted again. Wyrms are terrorizing towns, and strange twisted creations half animal/half wyrm are popping up. In the West, unease grows as rumors spread that the royal line of Berethnet queens is no longer enough to keep the Nameless One at bay. And in the East, the great dragons that helped defeat the wyrms the first time they arose have been sleeping for over 200 years.

The books’ various narrators introduce readers to the world as they tell their stories. These narrators include Glorian Hraustr Berethnet, princess of Inys, Dumai of Ipyeda, godsinger, and dragonrider, Wulfert’ Wulf’ Glenn, housecarl to King Bardholt, and Tunuva Melim, daughter of the Priory. Telling a story from the point of view of so many characters is a great way to organize the many plot threads within a book as expansive as A Day of Fallen Night. Shannon excels at giving each character a unique and distinct voice.

While present in Priory, queer romance, and queer characters in general, are far more present in A Day of Fallen Night. Queerness is simply a normal, accepted part of this world. Esbar and Tunuva have a long-term relationship, and Wulf has two dads. Dumai is attracted to women. This isn’t to say that stories of fighting for acceptance aren’t valid or essential, they are, but sometimes you want to read a story where queerness is a nonissue in society.

The primary threat within A Day of Fallen Night is the eruption of the Dreadmount and the reemergence of wyrms. But within that are potentially less world-ending but still significant problems. Namely, the marriage and conception of a new queen by Glorian Berethnet and Dumai’s quest to awaken the dragons in the East. Glorian and Dumai are very different at first glance. One is a girl raised from birth with the burden of keeping an entire kingdom safe; the other is raised on an isolated mountain, guiding pilgrims to a site of great religious importance. But ultimately, both of them have to accept the roles they never wanted to play: Glorian must bear a daughter, and Dumai must accept her royal roots and her responsibility to the people of Seiiki.

Glorian and Dumai’s journeys tie into a prominent theme within the book; how does one stay true to themselves while growing and adapting to the changing world? Similarly, Wulf and Tunuva both deal with upheaval in their own lives. Wulf continues trying to prove his worth, to create a name for himself outside of the nasty rumors of him being a witch’s child. Meanwhile, the sisters of the Priory must carry out their divine purpose, causing Esbar and Tunuva’s relationship to strain.

The big question with A Day of Fallen Night is, should you read Priory of the Orange Tree before or after? Fallen Night is a prequel to Priory, but reading it first will spoil some of the surprises in Priory. Personally, I recommend reading Priory first because it gives you a broader understanding of the world of The Roots of Chaos. But Shannon has said that each book can be read as a standalone, should you finish one and have no desire to read another. Though I cannot recommend both books enough.

Shannon’s worldbuilding and character creation are top-notch. It’s easy to get acquainted with this world, and you won’t want to leave when the story ends. At well over 800 pages, this is an absolute brick of a book, but every single page is well worth it. A Day of Fallen Night proves that Shannon can take what was originally a one-off story and expand on it in a seamless and spectacular way.

A Day of Fallen Night is available on February 28th, 2023, wherever books are sold.


A Day of Fallen Night
5

TL;DR

Shannon’s worldbuilding and character creation are top-notch. It’s easy to get acquainted with this world, and you won’t want to leave when the story ends. At well over 800 pages, this is an absolute brick of a book, but every single page is well worth it. A Day of Fallen Night proves that Shannon can take what was originally a one-off story and expand on it in a seamless and spectacular way.

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