Monday, April 10, 2017

LGBTQ: Sunstone


Written by Stjepan Šejić
First published in 2014

To just look at the cover and thumb quickly through the pages one would think that this book is about kinky sex and they would not be wrong. However, the story is so much more than simple beautiful art with bondage. It is a beautiful story about two lesbian women who have wanted to, but never have acted out their sexual fantasy roles of a dominatrix and a submissive. They meet on-line and over the course of a couple of months become friends. When they decided to finally meet and play the BDSM roles they are nervous, unsure, scared, and excited at the same time. That is what makes this such a great story. It is not a story about sex. It is a story about how their lesbian relationship started out as just fulfilling a fantasy and developed into a deep friendship and love for each other outside the bedroom.  


The two lead characters, Ally and Lisa, are written in a realistic way.  They are lesbians, but are not portrayed as stereotypes.  The fact that they are lesbians are not an issue in this story.  There are a couple of scenes were people act smug or negative about their life choices, but this is quickly dismissed as a passing rude comment. 

Before their first in-person date they are both experiencing the typical emotions of excitement, fear, dread, happiness, and hopefulness that most people experience when meeting someone for the first time.  As the story progresses they develop deep meaningful emotions for each other. 

The BDSM scenes are not violent or dark. In their roles Ally is the Dom in the relationship, however even then she is not truly in charge. She is nervous and unsure of her role.  Outside of the game the two woman are equals in a loving relationship.

The art work helps to add to the realism of this story.  The women are not drawn like exaggerated caricature models.  Nor are their bodies drawn in a negative stereotypical lesbian way where one woman is more masculine than the other one.  They are both drawn like real women.  Sometimes they are in sexy lingerie and other times are wearing over-sized sweat pants and t-shirts.
The tone of the story changes depending on the scene.  Sometimes it is fun and erotic when the ladies are participating in their BDSM roles.  Other times it is relaxed and romantic as they are cuddling on the couch watching television or playing video games.  Still at other moments they are anxious, confused, and happy when they are thinking about each other and where their relationship is going. 

The story is about two women who are lesbians.  Their sexuality does not define who they are; it is a part of who they are.  They are sexually curious women who start a BDSM relationship that developed beyond their sexual needs.  They develop a friendship that turns into love for each other.   

The story uses the BDSM life style to show a kinky side to their lesbian relationship.  It is the reason the two meet, but is not the main point of the story.  The developing relationship and emotions between Ally and Lisa is the core reason for the story.

The story continues in volume 2 with more attention paid to the developing relationship between Ally and Lisa and less about their sexual exploits.  

This is a graphic novel and uses word bubbles and the inner monologue boxes very effectively. The banter between the different characters flow nicely.  The conversations do not seem rushed or forced in order to fit the scene. 

The inner monologue is used effectively to express additional emotions the characters are feeling.

Pacing: The story unfolds at a good pace. It can be wordy in spots and sparse in other areas allowing the art to tell the story.  It does not feel rushed or drawn out, however it is a quick read.

GoodReads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics in 2015. 

Goodreads gives it 4.41 stars out of 5.

Wendy Browne from Women Write About Comics states: “Scratch the surface of this book and you’ll find a heartwarming little story about friendship and romance.”

Jessica Camacho from Geeked Out Nation states: “Sunstone is heartfelt, honest, sexy and beautiful.”

Sunstone v.2-5 by Stjepan Šejić.

Jane's World Collection Volume 1 by Paige Braddock.

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh.

Dates! An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction edited by Zora Gilbert.

Love is Love by various writers and illustrators.

My Opinion and Second Opinions
This book could fall into several different genres or sub-genres, such as Women's Lives and Relationships and Erotica. I agree with the book falling into these other genres or sub-genres, however I find it to be more about the relationship of women who are lesbian.  I liked how the underlying message did not center only on Lisa and Ally being lesbians; nor did it center on their sexual adventures.  This book shows how their sexual preferences does not define them.  It is only one part of who they are.  In the end it is about two woman falling in love with each other.

As someone who is not part of the LGBTQ community I wanted to get some other opinions about the books, so I asked a few of my lesbian and bisexual friends who read comic books and manga to read this graphic novel.  Of course this is only their opinions.  They told me that they really enjoyed it because even though it is about lesbians it is not preachy or trying to prove an equal rights point. At the end of the day the book and my friends lives are not about standing up and announcing they are homosexual; it is about living life with the ones you love.   


  1. I love the premise of this graphic novel, and I think it is interesting that their sexuality serves as a sort of backdrop for their love as they get to know each other. The role BDSM plays in the story makes me a little nervous to read it, but I think I would still try to pick it up to see if it would be a narrative I would enjoy. Are those scenes very graphic in nature?

  2. Hi April,

    The book has some nudity and sex, however it is done tastefully.

    The BDSM scenes are very mild and are NOT dark, violent, or portrayed in a negative way.

  3. Hi Robert! This is a great, detailed annotation. It is cool that you asked your friends who know more about the subject than you to also read the book to get their opinions. This definitely sounds like something I would read. I am always on the lookout for good LGBTQ reads because I have friends and family who are LGBTQ and I like to understand more about their issues without being the weird question-asking friend or family member.

  4. Robert, this sounds like an interesting graphic novel. I was disappointed that it is not in my library system or the neighboring community. I would like to look at it myself. I liked how you pointed out "Their sexuality does not define who they are; it is a part of who they are" and that this book falls into many genres. Great idea that you asked others for their feedback!

  5. Robert,
    Great annotation! Your observations from someone who has read it helps the potential reader see that the story is as much about the relationship between the characters as it is about sex. Some people may have written off a story like this by seeing the cover or even reading a description. This is why it's helpful for librarians to keep blogs and do annotated lists!

  6. I like the fact that their sexuality is less of the point the novel is trying to make. I like that they make experimenting with their sexual desires of bondage more of the issue. Its less of a lesbian bondage story and more of a story of being comfortable with your partner. This sounds like a great read!

  7. Excellent annotation! I like the outside reviews and personal opinion included. Full points!