Bibliophile | Young women face great expectations in ‘A Day of Fallen Night’

A Day of Fallen Night
by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon was a huge best-seller. The epic tale was told from multiple points of view in an intricate fantasy world with wyverns (smaller than dragons, with limited powers and only 2 legs as opposed to the four legs of dragons), dragons and an evil fire-breathing wyrm. It was a world divided into East and West based on religious beliefs about dragons.

Shannon’s follow up to what has been called ‘The new Game of Thrones’ is actually a prequel to The Priory of the Orange Tree, taking place five centuries before and outlining the events that shaped its history. Although The Nameless One has been defeated and the dragons sleep, wyrms have reemerged and are terrorizing towns just when a new generation is questioning the Priory’s purpose.

Allowing characters from each region to tell their stories is a huge undertaking but the story centres around three young women. In the East, Dumai has spent her life in an isolated mountain temple but someone from her mother’s past will change the direction of her life. In the West, Glorian prepares to take over the throne, along with the expectation that she will give birth to a daughter and in the South Siyu is awaiting her ascension into the Priory.

Each of the young women has huge expectations thrust upon them and their rebellious desires sometimes come into conflict with the complicated duties expected from their families (particularly their mothers) and the regions over which they rule. The world is changing and they need to adapt, without losing sight of their true selves.

Catastrophic world events are balanced out with more intimate human interactions in this 846 page saga that contains 14 pages of character details. Interestingly, there seems to be more romantic entanglements in this epic fantasy, with several queer relationships thriving in this fantasy world where queerness is just accepted.

Lezly Herbert

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