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  • Writer's pictureM. Meyers

Review: Crown of Sunlight

sociopaths, and monsters, and danger, oh my!

"Crown of Sunlight" and "Palace of Moonlight" by authors Payton Taylor

Unfortunately, I was not the one who had the excitement of opening an envelope in the mail to reveal an ARC copy of Crown of Sunlight—my mom was. She opened the package by mistake, but the first thing she had to say was, “I found a book you got… I really like that cover”! I have to say, I appreciate the cover as well. It suits the aesthetic of the narrative, attracts a focused target-audience, and is easy to replicate to create a lasting author brand. The embodiment of this book and narrative is above all else, smart.

Crown of Sunlight is the tale of two sisters Sunny and Josephine (Jo) who grew up as orphans on Earth their entire lives. Unbeknownst to them, their very being is desired by a dark and manipulative king in another realm called Writhia. In the king’s hunt to find them, Jo is taken, and Sunny is determined to get her sister back.

My favorite and most worthwhile aspect of this narrative is its focus on the sister-bond. This is a relationship sorely not often represented in contemporary literature. Payton Taylor show the reader the complexities and intimacies of sisterhood. We, as readers, are shown that there is more than one form of love worth fighting for.

On a smaller note, I extremely enjoyed the Swarog. The Swarog is a humanoid shark creature residing in the swamps of a mind-bending woodland. This creature read as unique and nightmarish on a level beyond mere physical danger. The introduction of the Swarog also lays mortar for the story yet to be built.

While there is much to commend this book and the authors for (their ambition and world-crafting is something to honor), this book was not for me. That isn’t to say that it is not for other readers—the release of this book, and its sequel the Palace of Moonlight was a great success. My main wish for this book was that it was put through a lengthier revision process. There were lines that frustrated me such as, “At his side was a young girl, no older than a child.” (Chapter 1). At first glance, there seems to be nothing wrong with the line. What bothered me was its vague nature—the way it calls the reader’s attention, then casts it away in an uncertain fog. To put it simply, there could have been more.

Scenes with heavy movement containing multiple characters often left me dizzy. I lost track of who was doing what, who was saying what, and at times, it seemed that the authors lost track as well. This, and my previous point, are characteristics of this book that could have been polished with further editing and reading rounds. (Yet, I say all this with a grain of salt. The copy I have is an ARC, which means the authors may have used another draft in its final publish).

My criticisms aside, I would like to repeat myself when I say that the embodiment of this book was smart, and that its launch was a success. While I found the tropes used to be heavy-handed for my tastes, they were purposeful. Authors Payton Taylor had an idea that they clearly loved and nurtured together. They researched their genre, their audience, and the publishing process. This hard work and dedication show in the initially sold-out launch of the book, and soon-to-follow Barnes & Noble book signing. This book may not have been for me, but it was for many others, and who am I to argue with that? Payton Taylor are model authors for writers seeking to launch self-published works and their passion certainly shows in their publications.

You can buy Crown of Sunlight and Palace of Moonlight on Amazon at the links below:

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