DISCLAIMER: I did not complete the book and have stopped at the 63% mark.
A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon is a standalone prequel to her wildly popular Priory of the Orange Tree novel. Having actually read Priory of the Orange Tree some time ago, while I obviously can’t remember too much about it, I did remember I had a hard time getting through it after a while but eventually did manage to find myself completing it. Sad to say it, but lightning does not strike twice and this time around, I just couldn’t muster enough strength to see A Day of Fallen Night all the way through. To avoid any bias, I stopped by myself from reading my own review of Priory of the Orange Tree. Being that this is a standalone novel, I was hoping any issues I had with the first novel wouldn’t affect it. I was more than disappointed to have found that untrue.
“Even by calling me your kite, you taught me never to look down.” - Dumai
Like its predecessor, I actually enjoyed the beginning very much. We have characters from each corner of the world with each having their own way of life, religious views and of course their biases that comes with it. A great danger is being kept at bay but of course, that danger eventually comes to reality and all hell breaks loose. So far this is standard stuff and reading in between the different character’s stories is a bit tedious but very manageable. The distance between them is pretty large, so for the most part, their coming together to crush the evil power wouldn’t be as fast as you’d hoped. Therefore, you’d have thought that the stories between each character within their own respective region/chapters would need to be captivating enough to hold your attention, especially with a novel of this size. This is where it falls apart yet again, as it similarly did with the first novel.
I was meant to bring peace. Now I stand on the brink of war. - Glorian Berethnet
To be fair, the world and lore itself should have held my attention. It’s expansive, although at times a bit confusing due to how the author just brushes over certain things with the expectation that the readers are already familiar with them, and the serious tone between the character interactions are what I was hoping for. Yet I found myself getting whittled away little by little, page by page, chapter after chapter. It just wasn’t fun or exciting anymore. At around the 50% mark, I found myself skipping most sections and only reading the dialogue between characters. It still felt like an eternity to see the book progress increment an additional 1%. At around 63%, I couldn’t do it anymore and gave up.
Would it have helped if the novel was cut shorter? Possibly, although the same issues would likely still have been present, in that the story and characters just felt extremely flat after a while. While I couldn’t remember much of the first novel, I’m likely to remember going forward that I’ll be skipping anything else coming from this author on this series.