Review: Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic

This is going to be pretty brief because guys, I did not like this graphic novel one bit.

The premise of Sunstone (as written by a straight dude) is two (new) lesbians in the BDSM community meet up after months of chatting online to hookup and see if their chemistry in person is the same as online.

Part of my bias is that this book was selected for my book club’s  August genre, Romance. This book mocks romance literally from page one.

The whole book reads like a young straight guy’s porn based lesbian fantasies that dares to pretend to be the voice of women. This graphic novel doesn’t show the male gaze, it shows the male leer, making these women posture and pose in straight from Playboy positions to tantalize the (almost certainly) male reader of the graphic novel.

Also, for a graphic novel which is a visual medium, it was stunningly and confusingly filled with telling instead of showing. The formula is teasing, almost-dirty-talk, fade to black, and then “oh wow that was the most intense sex ever” thought bubbles. He literally refers to orgasms (female orgasms in particular here) as overdone and boring.

Prayer circle for his wife.

Even visually this story is just bland. The art is uninspiring and the color palette is red, brown, and black. The whole thing feels like a gross pretense of sexiness fumbled by a grown man who did not consult a single lesbian. I also do not know his relationship with the BDSM community and don’t mean to speak for them but a lot of his representation of this also felt… off.

Anyway, I actively advise avoiding this if you’re looking for romance, erotica, good writing, interesting characters, or truly anything I look for in books.

If you are looking for eerily identically bodied (and pubic haired – wut?) bodies and wanna jerk it to some ladies almost doing sex, have at it.

I think I would have felt less sour about this read if it hadn’t been misrepresented. It’s not a romance, not every story with sex and two characters who enjoy each other’s bodies (and presumably brains) has to be one. It also has a real “I’m Not Like Most Girls” vibe which, if you read the Slouch Witch review, you know I hate. It felt especially sinister and gross coming from a man voicing a woman.

Oof.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap up here and move onto better things.

Review: The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

Y’all.

This book.

Tiffany Reisz truly never disappoints.

The Rose is a sequel to The Red though in this instance it takes its inspiration from Greek mythology instead of classic art. The basic premise is that the daughter of the heroine from The Rose, Lia, is all grown up and is gifted an artifact, a Rose Kylix, which one of the guests at her party, August, informs her is a sacred relic that will make her life out her deepest fantasies if she drinks from it. Lia (obviously) chooses to try it, not believing it will work, and finds herself throughout the course of the novel living through various erotic fantasies based in and around Greek mythology with August by her side. There is also a really great friendship and lady love based subplot as well as a getting closure on a shitty ex subplot.

As with The Rose, I appreciated the sheer creativity and quality of storytelling in this novel. There was the risk of the heroine being overshadowed by the presence of her parents but Reisz does a great job of incorporating the former characters to provide context while also giving this heroine a unique journey of her own. She also gives her unique sexual encounters similar to (though perhaps tamer than) the first novel. The book felt like a much quicker read than its 400 pages so if you’re looking for a quick read, don’t be turned off by the page count. As with all of Reisz’s works I’ve read so far, I found it creative, well-written, and over with far too soon.