I have to start with the fact that A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon is such an incredible, epic fantasy story. There is so much world-building weaved throughout the course of the entirety of this massive book and I absolutely ate it up.
Wulf is a warrior of the King of Hroth, trying to make his mark on the world. His storyline was one of my favourites, particularly as he and his people were following a mysterious illness to find out what was going on with a village. With the threat of this illness spreading they try to figure out what is causing it while keeping it from their people to avoid panic. I found this journey very enthralling and things got even more intense as Wulf perseveres through extreme circumstances. There is also the bonus of Wild’s mysterious background which even he isn’t fully aware of. He is at times cast as an outsider by people who fear he is the child of a witch as he came from the woods as a toddler, where folktales speak of an evil witch coming from.
Glorian is a princess born of two different kingdoms and expected to rule over her mothers kingdom when she is of age. This goes against her own wishes as she feels more of a kinship with her fathers lands, but as an heir she has very little choice in her own course. Including marriage to someone she has no desire to be married to, but politically is required of her. Glorian’s journey was one I found filled with so much growth that she grew on me more as the book went on. Though maybe not one of my favourites at first, I did end up enjoying her chapters more as she developed as a character and it made for such an interesting ride.
Tunuva is a member of the Priory who has cared for Siyu as a daughter since the day she was born, though sisters are expected to put nothing before their duty to the mother. Tunuva however finds this hard when it comes to Siyu, always leaning towards leniency with her though she often finds trouble. My favourite part of this POV was the ichneumon companions the sisters have, animal-like creatures who can also talk. I will also say the part about this storyline I enjoyed was that it gives a look into the Priory and what their role is, as well as the knowledge they posses. This appealed to me because I thought the Priory was a very interesting part of the story and I wanted to know all about them. As for Tunuva herself, her big heart and depth of caring was so striking in her character and I loved her for it. Though she isn’t supposed to be, you can see how much she is torn between her utter devotion to the mother who she just serve above all, and the love she holds for those she cares about most.
Dumai was raised in the mountains and that is all she knows, having never left them. Her entire world is turned upside down when her fathers identity is revealed to her as that of the emperor and she is thrown into her royal heritage all of a sudden in a bid to save her family and its rule. Dumai was also a quick favourite with all of the political navigating she must do as a lost princess, as well as the fact that her story involved dragons early on, and who can resist dragons. Not me clearly. Her storyline started out strong for me, and followed through the entire way, so it was one that I enjoyed from start to finish.
I feel like though I thought on starting the book that I was certain about which storylines were my favourite, it kept getting shaken up constantly until the end, the point that I feel like they all had their strengths in different ways which appealed to me at one time or another. Happily I feel like I never suffered from that moment of one POV really grating on me or being the most boring despite fearing this would be the case (generally speaking I find there usually ends up being one).
Though not technically a POV character, one individual that did surprise me in how much she grew on me was Lady Nikeya. I couldn’t stand her initially because she comes off as someone of a super devious nature, but I actually grew to admire her ability to navigate court intrigue. She came out on top as one of my favourite characters despite not being a main focus in the sense of the others, and her growth was one of the most overwhelmingly evident to me, which is what drew me to her so much in the end. She is so much more than she appears and reveals her layers more as time passes.
A Day of Fallen Night also managed to put my emotions through the ringer, even when I least expected it. There were multiple moments that had me teary over events that I wouldn’t have thought would effect me so much, which is a testament to the writing and the ability with which Samantha Shannon weaves these characters into your heart without you realizing it, and writes moments so poignant that you can’t help but feel alongside the characters. Not to mention the tension that has me in its grip at every vaguely threatening moment. I also powered through the last two hundred pages because there was so much happening and it all had me so on edge.
To summarize, go pick this book up now, particularly if you’re a lover of fantasy, especially epic fantasy because A Day of Fallen Night is certainly that.