Title: Sunstone Volume 1
Author: Stjepan Sejic
Genre: Graphic Novel
Review: This is the first graphic novel I have read, while I love manga I had never read anything similar to Sunstone. I really enjoyed Sunstone mainly for the reason I love erotic fiction and this was just a more visual style of storytelling.
Sunstone is the story of Lisa and Ally, two young women, both professionals and single, who are looking for something to spice up their sex life and then they meet each other on the internet, leading to some major life changes for the two of them. Ally is a domme, and her love life has been rather… fractured because of her sexual interests. These unusual interests which have led to trust issues between her and her previous partners since BDSM is an extremely sensitive and private activity that depends on trust and faith between two partners. Lisa on the other hand is the opposite, she is a submissive and her tastes lean that way, though she has been equally frustrated with her sex-life, which lack a certain spark for her to really care about them.
One thing I really loved about Sunstone was that author dealt with this highly sensitive matter in a very matter-of-fact and natural way. He didn’t make a big deal out of Ally and Lisa being bisexual and that’s exactly the kind of attitude that people generally need to have in real-life as well. Everyone has his or her own tastes when it comes to sex. Sunstone is a story that progresses in stages. We meet the characters, the characters meet each other in person. They hang out, chill out, have a lot of fun. They come back to each other again and again. Their shared sexual experiences eventually develop into something else. Stjepan takes each stage as it comes, spends enough time with it to get the reader really comfortable, and then he moves on. Since he is both the writer and the artist on this, he has a very strong and cohesive vision for how to proceed with each stage, and it comes off rather flawlessly.
The pacing of the story is pretty much perfect, and so is the core concept itself. You never really feel at odds with the characters and there’s always this sense at the back of your mind that what they are doing is perfectly natural. Stjepan presents everything as it is, without any embellishments or without any male-gazing or visual abuse. Of course, this being an erotica comic with two bisexual leads, there’s a fair amount of sex scenes but that’s no big deal.
Stjepan doesn’t go extreme with what kind of BDSM practices he shows here, but he gives you enough so that you get a really good idea for what it is. But again, the characters are at the heart of everything, and I loved all there was to love about Ally and Lisa. The art is gorgeous. Stjepan has a very distinctive style and it gives you a really warm feeling inside, like you are watching a proper master at work. There’s a great sense of excitement and naivete in the characters which translates well with the reader.
Stjepan’s writing was beautiful and I’d recommend you read Sunstone just for the artwork. There’s a lot of red here, understandably, and it helps give a certain visual cohesiveness to the whole thing. And if I had to pick out my favourite scene from the entire novel, then I’d pick the double page spread where Ally and Lisa are getting ready for their first meet-up and can’t decide what to wear and you see a variety of style, colour and material really showing off the artists’ ability. That page utterly captures what these two characters are all about and it is a fantastic sequence.
This was a perfect story. It had a great charm and it was extremely immersive. It was also extremely personal allow us the reader to connect and understand the characters and I was very pleased that Stjepan treated the subject matter with respect and dignity.
Buy it here: