Okay, first, Sunstone is a graphic novel series about two girls that enter into a BDSM relationship. This graphic novel is GRAPHIC and most of the artwork is NSFW.
You’ve been warned.
What is Pick Up or Pass?
I’ve been thinking about starting a version of a “will I buy it” or “hit or miss” series on my blog/BookTube Channel for a while and thought this series was the perfect place to start!
Book 1: Sunstone, Vol. 1
Book 2: Sunstone, Vol. 2
Book 3: Sunstone, Vol. 3
Okay, so two things, 1) SPOILER WARNING – I’m talking about plot points from all three books. and 2) I binge read this series and the story started to run together. I’m going to try to keep the thoughts per book separate, but I may mess up. Sorry in advance!
OKAY, REVIEW TIME!
So, this one sets up the framing device, a girl is writing a steamy (sexy?) romance novel and is taking inspiration from real life events. We’re not sure if these are her events or not, but it’s heavily implied that they are.
We are then introduced to Ally and Lisa, our two protagonists. Lisa, is the POV character for most of the time, though we do get times where Ally is the POV character.
Ally and Lisa met online as they were both into BDSM, but didn’t have anyone to “scratch the itch”. They talked online for a few months then decided to meet, and things got sexy from there. (What’s funny is that it sounds like I’ve described the entire graphic novel, but that’s actually just the first 10 or so pages).
We also meet Alan, Ally’s friend who we later learn is also into BDSM, but is also a Dom and though he and Ally experimented together sexually in the past, they’re just really good friends today. Alan also supplies Ally with most of her latex clothes and apparatuses.
This graphic novel really just explored Ally’s and Lisa’s relationship as they’re starting this friends with benefits/BDSM relationship and they’re trying to assess what their feelings are (is this sex only arrangement good, or do they want more?).
This graphic novel also talks about some important myths and facts about BDSM too, which I loved. They talk about aftercare, they talk about safe-words, and it was actually some of the best rep I’ve seen in such a long time.
Overall this was such a fun read, it was a quick (and sexy) read, and I was super excited to continue with the series. Only complaint is the one that Chelsea mentioned in her smutathon vlog was that all the sex scenes were fade to black, but they faded fast. A few more panels of foreplay would’ve been👌🏻.
This volume continued to explore the relationships established in the first volume and gave us some more backstory.
I think my favorite part of this volume was Ally’s story about Alan’s ex and the discussion it started on self rope play and safety. I feel like even healthy portrayals of BDSM forget to mention safety, especially when you tie someone up and seeing this graphic novel talk about the dangers of unsafe rope play was powerful. This wasn’t meant to scare the reader though, but rather be cautionary and remind the reader that while fun, BDSM can have consequences.
I also liked the talk this graphic novel had with “how does one get into BDSM or fetishes”. This is explored a lot in Vol. 3 too, but they debunk several harmful myths and really boil it down to curiosity and starting slow. This volume also talked about why certain things, such as ball gags, are pleasurable.
Again, this graphic novel was super fun to read. There weren’t as many sexy time scenes in this one, as most of it was dedicated to backstory, but I still flew through it and really liked it.
Vol. 3 continued the discussion about what gets you into BDSM and why, though it’s never presented in a malicious “you pervert” or judgmental way. It’s just one friend trying to understand her friend’s interest and that was a really interesting way to present the conversation.
I like that this volume also talked about boundaries and communication. Ally wants Lisa to move in, but isn’t sure if that will alter the power dynamic of their relationship, and seeing that addressed I thought was so important. Though it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, unless you agree upon a 24/7 sub/dom relationship, living together (especially if one partner is more financially successful) can really tip the scales and discussing that is super important.
I also love how the framing device comes back at the end of this one and we find out Lisa has been exaggerating a few parts. I’m so excited to see how the relationships develop and exaggerated fiction continues in the later volumes. It sounds like we’re covering a five year period and as of volume 3, we’re only like a month or so in, so I’m excited to see how this story continues.
SERIES RECAP/FINAL THOUGHTS:
Wow, I liked this series WAY more than I was expecting. I can’t wait to pick up the remaining volumes soon and see how the story continues. I predict that this is going to be a series where I may give the entire series a 5-star, but the individual volumes less and recommend just straight up binging this one (at least several volumes at a time).
I love how this was such a healthy portrayal of BDSM, without overly fetishizing it.
Several important aspects are thoroughly discussed including after care, safe words, safety, exploring kinks, and many many more aspects of the community. BDSM clubs are mentioned, couples that can only get off using BDSM and couples that use a little to spice up their love life are included, and both are open with the other.
Also, these graphic novels are so funny, especially the first one. I actually laughed out loud at several moments in the first one.
If you want to read about a healthy f/f (I’m not sure if they’re bi or gay) BDSM romance that gets pretty sexy, I definitely think you should check this series out!