Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines' Day Double Feature Revue: Sunstone

And For Our Second Act, preeeeeesenting,

A Love Story With A Twist...Or Should We Say, A Kink?

Two people meet through their hobbies, fall in love, move in together, get married. A nice old fashioned love story.
Heh heh heh wellllllllll......if the hobby is bondage games, and if the two people are girls, and if....nope. This is a NEW fashioned love story. And it's a tickler.

The creation of Stjepan Sejic, Sunstone can be found here and bought here

This story revolves around two women, Ally and Lisa, and how they fall in love. They get into it, like we readers do (be honest, come on) for the sex, but we all stay in for the love. And trust me, the love story is worth it.

Before I tell you this, let me tell you a small personal detail.  When I was six years old, I was bitten several times by a black widow and badly poisoned. The pain was bad enough, but what I remember most vividly is the feeling of the poison spreading, enervating my muscles until I was unable to move. I was utterly helpless; couldn't even scream. At one point, I could barely breathe, and had to be intevated. I'll never forget lying there in the hospital, pain coming and going, a machine breathing for me, my body trapped, absolutely unable to move. Around me the world moved and acted on me, and I had no power over it whatsoever. I'll never forget that terror. To this day, I cannot STAND feeling trapped or weak. Even an enclosing corridor or someone backing me into the corner of the elevator all unawares will send a momentary flash of panic through me. My fiancee' once backed me up against a wall during an early date while kissing me, and I nearly ran. So the idea of sex games....never really appealed.  I remember real helplessness too well. I wish I didn't.

So with that in mind, you'll understand the significance when I say that Sunstone made me understand the attraction of bondage play. The character of Lisa, a subordinate, explains it so beautifully when she speaks of relinquishing control and thought to someone you trust in order to stop thinking and simply feel the moment. Sejic's writing and his characters make this sexual hobby not only understandable, but real and emotionally satisfying. And he does it by writing real people and a real romance. And when I say real, I mean REAL. For example, let me show you the first in-person meeting the girls had.

Now THAT is a real world, and a real, honest relationship. No crazy setups, no otherworldly power of attraction on the part of one or the other, no forced interaction. No drugs or mind control, as the writer states it. Just two real people who share a passion, and connect to each other through it.

The Rating

An almost perfect score for Sunstone. And it definitely wasn't the story that got it dinged!

The Raves

Sooooo you can probably tell already that I thoroughly enjoy Sunstone from the intro. And I'll say honestly that the more mature scenes were a definite draw. Sex sells, and I'm as hot blooded as the next young thing.
But anyone who's ever watched Animal Planet or bad porn can tell you that sex, by itself, is really not all that exciting at all but a lizard-brain level of our reactions. As a friend once put it, 'you can have a boner and still be bored.'

The real fascination of this story is the skill with which it takes a mysterious, ominous lifestyle that at once attracts and repels the mainstream and makes it into a simple passion, a hobby, one facet of the lives of people with lives; careers, other hobbies, intelligent minds and normal, well adjusted personalities. It takes something that, in our prudish American and European minds, is dark and twisted, and shows us that it's just another way to enjoy yourself. And then it asks us, why not? What's your problem, exactly?
The characters in this story are the perfect people to get yourself to ask that question too. Lisa is quick, wry, witty, and a wonderfully playful personality.
And Ally is the clever coding chick who's into video games, likes to read obsessively, wears glasses and is always thinking about something, which is sometimes an issue.

The side characters are just as well rounded, as full of life, wit and personality as the main characters, and between them they make one of the most honest love stories I've ever read. The process of letting someone close enough to you to become a friend and a lover is terrifying, complicated, messy, and uncomfortable, even when it's worth it. Sunstone doesn't flinch from exploring every facet of that, including the awkward and uncomfortable moments. There's the deeply emotional things this couple deals with in learning that they love eachother; insecurity, fear, old scars, new jealousies and doubts, including self doubt.And then there's the very human awkwardness of having to tell your girlfriend that your sexy weekend's shot because you just got your period. In Sunstone, all these situations are explored with equal wit, candor, wonderful snark, and compassion.

There is this in the story

But there's also this

and this
And that's what makes Sunstone a great love story.

And then of course, you may have noticed THE ART!!!!! The piece gracefully dances between styles, and it never ceases to be gorgeous, skillful, and well-done. The body language is extremely strong, the anatomy IS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, and you never question the artist's skill. SUNSTONE IS GORGEOUS. It's made these characters live for me, and it's made me actually consider some things I'd rarely even considered, and then only with horror, as things of beauty and...well, arousal. Enough said.

The Razzes

So what's there to razz?
The typos. OH YE GODS BRIGHT AND DARK, THE TYPOS! Stjepan, PLEASE, please learn to proof read your work, I'm begging you. Work THIS GOOD does not deserve to be marred by stupid, irritatingly blatant typos that would have taken two seconds and the stroke of the space bar or the changing of one letter to fix. Sunstone would be ABSOLUTE PERFECTION but for the glaring typos on every other page. Also, occasional spelling mistakes distracted and annoyed me. A proofreader might be in order. But to give you your just deserts, they'll have to sit in a cold bath while working! 
Someday I'll have to buy the print books, because my one other complaint is the irritation of trying to click through Deviantart's wonky system to read each page where it's hosted. It really makes me miss more traditional webcomic sites, but I understand that Deviantart is the best site for something of this nature....still, as a comic host, it has a lot of drawbacks, and it distracts slightly from a story that otherwise flows seamlessly.

The Revue

Sunstone lives up to its name: it is a gem. Please read it. And then go burn a copy of 50 Shades Of Gray in its honor.


  1. He does clean up the typos in the hardbound version.

    1. The book only comes in softcover, not hard. But yes, no typos in the book!

  2. That's so great to hear! Now I may just have to buy it!

  3. I also remember a specific part, I think in chapter 1, where it kinda explains that Lisa is actually the one writing the book. The whole story is basically Lisa writing her rough draft about what happened. And Lisa mentions to bare with the typos. I think including that small bit of information actually saves him some grief. As I find it to be a very clever way to get away with the typos. As a writer myself, proof reading and editing come after the book is finished. So I would assume, that is the way Lisa has it planned as well.

  4. Worth every penny for the print version :) I might also mention, English is also not the artist's first language, so that it's in English at all should be considered a gift ;)

  5. Yeah, I know, but it really did have to be mentioned; it's the only thing marring some truly GORGEOUS work. Other than that, Sunstone is one of the best love stories out there. If this wasn't a critical review blog, I would have just gushed about how gorgeous it is :D


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