In the realm of fantasy literature, epic tales of dragons, magic, and political intrigue have always held a special place in the hearts of readers. Few recent works have captured this essence as magnificently as Samantha Shannon’s masterful novel, A Day of Fallen Night.
This sprawling epic, published in 2023, preceeds the beloved Priory of the Orange Tree, which has soared into popularity in the last year thanks to the rise in BookTok content.
Table of Contents [CLICK HERE TO OPEN]
A Day of Fallen Night – Samantha Shannon
“A magnificent, sweeping epic. Shannon has created a world rich in intricate mythology, beautifully realized and complex.” Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne
In A Day of Fallen Night, Samantha Shannonsweeps 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.
Samantha Shannon, renowned for her best-selling novel The Priory of the Orange Tree, once again delves into a world where magic lies concealed within the earth’s fruit with her latest offering, A Day of Fallen Night. This striking standalone prequel to Priory intricately weaves the narratives of three remarkable women – Tunuva, Glorian, and Dumai – hailing from vastly different fantastical cultures. Yet, their common threads of unwavering devotion to loved ones and their shared quest to confront the menacing demonic wyrms unite them. While A Day of Fallen Night occasionally grapples with the grandeur of its scope, it undeniably emerges as a remarkable, women-driven addition to the contemporary epic fantasy landscape.
While A Day of Fallen Night shares a world with The Priory of the Orange Tree, it firmly establishes itself as a self-contained narrative. Shannon introduces a fresh ensemble of characters, distinct challenges, and an expansive storyline within its 850 pages. While some may find the book’s length intimidating, it’s refreshing that Fallen Night operates as a fully independent work.
We have to say that the pacing can be uneven at times. Some extensive journeys are condensed into mere paragraphs, while others consume entire chapters. This creates a narrative rhythm that feels uneven.
A Day of Fallen Night places a spotlight on a universally resonant concept: love. The novel serves as a heartfelt homage to love in its multifaceted forms – whether it’s the bonds between family members, friends, or lovers. Irrespective of the grandiose nature of the overarching plot, Shannon roots the magical world of the story in robust interpersonal relationships, underscoring the unifying force of love. Tunuva champions her sisterhood, Glorian confronts the world for the sake of her unborn child, and Dumai makes immense sacrifices for her family and friends. The novel also celebrates inclusivity, depicting a spectrum of relationships between women and between men, encompassing both romantic and platonic connections.
Furthermore, the novel’s overall diversity and the strength of its female characters are nothing short of impressive. Shannon, well-regarded as a master of “feminist fantasy,” highlights the sheer might of resilient women within the narrative. Tunuva, Glorian, and Dumai all embody forms of warriors, displaying courage in the face of peril. They embrace their fierceness without sacrificing their emotions and vulnerability. In a genre where “strong female characters” can sometimes come across as one-dimensional caricatures, the women of “Fallen Night” possess depth and resonate as wholly authentic.
Shannon has distilled a sweeping fantasy realm into a single novel, and although its pacing may leave readers occasionally disoriented, it ultimately celebrates the triumph of strong women and the love that binds them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A Day of Fallen Night LGBTQ?
The novel features LGBTQ+ characters and relationships. In fact, three queer love stories make up the bulk of the romance. This includes a middle-age lesbian couple, which is very rarely seen in novels; especially fantasy.
Will there be a 3rd Roots of Chaos book?
Shannon has called the series The Roots of Chaos, having originally planned to only write one book within the universe and later stating that there were more stories to tell. In 2022, Shannon signed a contract for a third book in the Roots of Chaos cycle.
Should I read Priory of the Orange Tree or A Day of Fallen Night first?
Night is a little longer and more politically complex than Priory, with a larger cast and more settings, so you may find it easiest to build a layer of knowledge with Priory first.
Praise for the series:
“Mesmerizing.” —Washington Post
“A timelessly relevant classic. Brilliant, diverse, feminist, subversive, thought-provoking, and masterfully told.” —Karen Marie Moning. #1 NYT bestselling author of the Highlander and Fever series
“A brilliant, daring, and devastating jewel . . . An incredible world full of depth and danger, with characters I would follow to the ends of the earth. I’m in awe of [Shannon’s] talent.” —Victoria Aveyard, #1 NYT bestselling author of the Red Queen series
“An epic feminist fantasy perfect for fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ . . . A rich and engaging high fantasy novel that puts women and their stories front and center.” —Bustle
“An intricately realized and feminist fantasy . . . one might even be tempted to dub Samantha Shannon, ‘The female George R.R. Martin.” —Hypable
“This magnificent epic of queens, dragonriders, and badass secret wyrm-slaying priestesses is a tour de force. My new absolute favorite epic fantasy.” —Laini Taylor. NYT bestselling author of the Strange the Dreamer and Daughter of Smoke and Bone series
“Spellbinding . . . extraordinary . . . A well-drawn feminist fantasy with broad appeal for fans of the epic and readers of Zen Cho, Naomi Novik, and V. E. Schwab. Highly recommended.” —Booklist, starred review
“A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“An astonishing achievement.” —Marie Brennan, award-winning author of The Memoirs of Lady Trent series
“An epic fantasy destined to be a classic.” —Kami Garcia. #1 NYT bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of Unbreakable
“The Platonic Ideal of a fantasy novel . . . This story of good and evil, struggle and triumph, love and loss and return is beautifully written. Complex but clear, and utterly immersive. I loved this book.” —Nicola Griffith, award-winning author of Hild
“The Priory of the Orange Tree isn’t our grandfathers’ epic fantasy novel. It is a clever combination of Elizabethan England, the legend of St. George and Eastern dragon lore, with a dash of Tolkien. Shannon’s feminist saga has enough detailed world-building, breath-taking action and sweeping romance to remind epic fantasy readers of why they love the genre in the first place. Modern sensibilities integrate seamlessly with genre tropes . . . Readers will beg for a sequel.” —Shelf Awareness
“Shannon satisfyingly fills this massive standalone epic fantasy with court intrigue, travel through dangerous lands, fantastical religions, blood, love, and rhetoric.” —Publishers Weekly
“A fascinating epic fantasy set in a rich, well-developed world. Shannon has created fertile narrative ground.” —New York Journal of Books
As you turn the final pages and bid farewell to the world of Inys, remember that the magic of this book lingers long after the last word is read. It challenges conventions, celebrates diversity, and reminds us that even in the face of unimaginable darkness, there is always hope. A Day of Fallen Night is a literary journey that will stay with you.