A Day of Fallen Night
Review,  Fantasy

Review and Discussion: A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon is an Epic Fantasy with rich world

A Day of Fallen Night is captivating, immersive, beautifully written epic fantasy with rich world and compelling characters.

A Day of Fallen Night (The Roots of Chaos #0) by Samantha Shannon

Publication Date : February 28, 2023

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing

Read Date : March 8, 2024

Genre : High Fantasy

Source : Own

Pages : 868

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Other book in Series

The Priory of the Orange Tree (Book 1)


In A Day of Fallen Night, Samantha Shannon sweeps readers back to the universe of Priory of the Orange Tree and into the lives of four women, showing us a course of events that shaped their world for generations to come.

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.


A Day of Fallen Night is masterpiece just like its sequel The Priory of The Orange Tree (TPOTOT ). After reading these two marvelous books I don’t want to peak into author’s mind or dare to fathom the depth of author’s imagination that holds this vast, fascinating, complicated, and detailed fantasy world with so many layers and themes and characters that takes readers through the rollercoaster of emotions.

A Day of Fallen Night takes place in CE 509, 500 years before TPOTOT that took place in CE 1005, which we know was called Grief Of Age in TPOTOT. This 800+ pages tome is divided in four part, each part spanning one year starting from rise of The Nameless One’s (The Western Dragon) siblings (wyrms) and their offspring (wyverns) to to their eventual slumber in the end. In between these two large historical event of this world, we get to know main characters in different parts of this world – East, West and South, the alternating chapter titles.

While Tunuva Melim, Wulfert Glenn, Glorian Berethnet, Dumai of Ipyeda stand as four main characters, side characters – Sabran Berethnet VI, The Witch of Inysca, Kuposa pa Nikeya, Esbar du Apaya uq-Nara, and Siyu- uq-Nara- plays equally vital role.

Author captivates readers by her flawless writing, immersive and meticulous detailed world of politics, magic, and personal struggles of characters defines this epic tale. The pacing is slow but steadily builds momentum in first two parts making reader explore the world thoroughly. Part three and four are just as fast as the first two are slow. As I’m familiar with the world, its two main legends, and the story’s inevitable conclusion, I think this make more character driven story for me.

I love women in author’s books who are made of steel, coming from different parts of the world with different life experience, go through a lot and outshines the world itself but its men of her books who are made with more care and depth stealing the heart of readers but never stealing the shine of women.

A Day of Fallen Night is one of those ‘the less you know the more you enjoy’ kind of book but still I will try to tell a little about each characters and a little of plot here-

Dumai was born on cold mountain Ipyeda dreamed to be a maiden officiant of High Temple of Kwiriki like her mother but when Emperor of Seiiki visits Mount Ipyeda, she finds out she is his heir and her destiny turns towards the tumultuous world of politics. It’s clear she wasn’t made for the court and her father’s rival, the formidable River Lord of the Kuposa clan, is determined to make it more difficult and seize their power.

Amid all the plots and schemes of politics, Dumai also discovered a latent power within herself of ability to waken the Eastern dragons and converse with them who warn her of rising chaos that takes her on series of dragon rides all over the East and finding out the reason behind the rising chaos and how to stop it from destroying seiiki.

She isn’t strong like Tane in TPOTOT but she is just as determined. Through her journey across the East, we get to see more of Seiiki and Empire of Twelve Lakes that we never got chance to explore in sequel. It was interesting see her rise above the murky waters of the politics. I also enjoyed her relationship with her rival, Nikeya, that stayed on rocky side for most part.

In South – Tunuva Melim is tomb keeper and partner of Esbar uq-Nara at Priory. She is best warrior of Priory and also with heart of gold while Esbar is confident, bold, fearless personality (I could see a part of Ead in her). Despite Esbar’s designation as soon-to-be-prioress, it was Tunuva who provided steadfast support, anchoring her amidst life’s trial.

What captivated me most was seeing totally reverse side of the sisters of Priory we know in TPOTOT. They knew the history and legend and purpose of their grueling training but they haven’t really saw it in past 500 years, making initiates and some sisters questioning it. They kind of started considering it a myth, yearning to have taste of outside world. Siyu, Esbar’s daughter gave into that inclination making series of mistakes. Her actions felt naive and yet so natural and raw. All it took for her and others to believe in their purpose once again is returning of wyrms and plague. At first, I thought Siyu is the protagonist but no, it’s Tunuva and it gets more clear in last two parts of the book.

The bond between Tunuva and Esbar is heart of the story that goes through many tests and that test came in name of Canthe who unearthed Tunuva’s long-buried wounds. As I have read TPOTOT, I knew her identity as soon as she entered in their life but it’s why I was curious about. I also could tell pretty early who was Tunuva’s lost child and was curious to see when they are going to figure it out.

Tunuva’s journey is filled with love, betrayal, hurt, action mirroring the world they live in. Like TPOTOT, I loved reading South chapters most. I also enjoyed having a layout of the Priory, life in priory, its rules and also how exactly they managed to keep Priory a secret so far.

After seeing the progressive side of Inys by the end of TPOTOT, it was weird to see its regressing side stipulated to the religion that was built on lie, burdening the many queens of Inys and in this book it fell on Glorian Berethnet. She is 16, heir of Inys and Hroth, who loved her father and yearned love and approval from her mother. All she ever wanted is to be free from burden of the crown and expectation to wed and birth the heir but all hope shattered with death of her parents.

She came out whiny at first, throwing tantrums and crying over her fate but it’s also very clear how young she was and world expected so much from a child. I hated their religion and saint when she was forced to marry a prince who was old enough to be her grandfather. But grief and hardship brought out the woman her parents always wanted her to be. I liked her strategics mind and how she found a solution not just to save her people but also herself.

I also enjoyed exploration of Inys’s history, geography, its illustrious queens, and also Hroth and first republic state of this world, Carmentum (I’m sure this wasn’t even mentioned in TPOTOT).

Wulfert Glenn is my most favorite character. Like I said, the male characters of this author steals the heart and so did Wulf. I rooted for him from the beginning. Boy who came out the woods who people saw as son of the witch, scorned and doubted throughout his life. All events he went through, his grief and trauma, and self-blame was heartbreaking to read. I loved him for helping Glorian. After all he went through what makes him most admirable is letting love back in his life and being open to hear the truth and not rejecting it just because it clashes to his belief he grew up with.

Climax has so many twist and turns but they were expected. End is amazing. I love how author wrapped life of all characters in the end. Epilogue gives fantastic connection to TPOTOT.

Overall, A Day of Fallen Night is captivating, immersive, beautifully written epic fantasy with compelling characters and rich world.

What to expect from A Day of Fallen Night

Multiple POV
Detailed and complex world
Slow-steady pace
Cliff hanger chapters
Political intrigue
M/M and F/F relationships

For those who have read TPOTOT 

While reading TPOTOT I had questions –
Why there is a ban on outsider in Skeiiki?
What happened during the grief of Age and why it started in first place?
How exactly a waning jewel came to be inside Tane?
What’s the story of Mulberry Tree and how it died?
When the Witch of Inysca was at Priory before and why?

While A Day of Fallen Night gave so many answers to all these questions it also raised more questions-
Why Mulberry Tree and Hawthorn Tree died?
How exactly the previous vanquishers found the Jewels in first place and met each other?
How exactly the imbalance was caused in first place to erupt Dreadmount and causing rise of the Nameless One?
We also don’t have answer to what exactly is going to bring the balance. What I can tell from the end of the end of TPOTOT is the source of Siden magic is weak which makes Sterren magic more powerful ultimately causing the imbalance once again. I hope this is solved in the sequel of TPOTOT.

What A Day of Fallen Nights offer more that wasn’t there in The Priory of the Orange Tree

– world is explored more.
– We get more details about Priory’s layout, geography and topography of East, West, and South, Places that weren’t mentioned or explored like Carmentum.
– Answers to questions I had as mentioned above.

In what order to read The Roots of Chaos?

Even though A Day of Fallen Night is prequel one can read both The Priory of the Orange Tree and A Day of Fallen Night are standalone. But if you are planning to read both books, I would recommend reading The Priory of the Orange Tree first (Although Toni disagrees with this and her reasons are also valid). Here is my reasons –

– Easier introduction to world.
– Fast pace, more action.
– More legends
– Two main legend around which the world is created, the story behind foundation of Priory and religion of Inys, is well introduced with all details – who and how they defeated the nameless one 1000 years ago, why both South and West don’t like each other’s beliefs, where the religion of Saint came from, why all Inys queens look the same….. A Day of Fallen Night only mention it superficially without any explanation.

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What do you think about this?
Have you read this or Priory of the Orange Tree?
If so, Which is your favorite?
What is you most favorite epic fantasy?

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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