Stone Star | Review

Stone Star, a comiXology Originals, follows the adventures of Dail aboard the nomadic space station Stone Star. The station is similar to a traveling circus but instead of bearded ladies and cotton candy, you get gladiators and death marches.

Dail begins his tale as a scavenger and thief but soon runs into a retired gladiator who sees that Dail has a special skill. Not much is revealed at first, but it appears he can control machines and become an energy being.

Eventually, he meets Kikanni, an on-the-run royal who’s family is displaced because of a coup. Dail witnesses the murder of Kikanni’s family at the hands of Stone Star workers. He and she then have to escape and hide.

img_2674The plot was a typical story about an average person with a great destiny and strange powers. The characters seemed pretty bland. The displaced princess, the good guy thief, the stoic and wise mentor, etc. Even by the end of the book, the characters didn’t seem to grow much–but it is the first book. The first book is meant to introduce the characters, setting, and plot. 

Stone Star does have a somewhat interesting plot. Someone murdered Dail’s father. His murder happened shortly after he refused to rig the fights. I think we can see where this is going.

So, if the characters are typical and the mystery is pretty standard, why did I like the story? It was one of those hard to put down books. I finished it in about an hour. 

Part of the reason was the art. It was pretty impressive; though sometimes it did look rushed, there were some moments that made my mouth drop.

I think the other part that made the comic so appealing was Dail’s powers. At first I wanted to know what they were. Then I was like, “Oh, he can just control machines. Big deal.” But then he merged with a fighting robot, and later he was able to semi-merge with Kikanni and learn her backstory. So, even though right now it seems like all he can do is control technology, they hint at something greater.

I also think pacing had something to do with my enjoyment. There weren’t many slow points and when you did slow down, you felt like you needed the rest. You felt like you were on the run with Dail and Kikanni; you felt as much in danger as they did.

Finally, I think it was the world. The setting of a traveling space station that works as an entertainment center is kind of unique. Also, it was neat seeing all the different alien beings. I liked the variety and creativity in each one. Each showed the personality well. I also liked how Dail looked human but not so much you’d think he was human. You know he’s an alien. The design choice allowed me to empathize with him but at the same time not wonder “How’d a human get here?”

While on the surface, Stone Star seems typical, the pacing, unique characters, and the deigns of the setting and world pull you in and make the read worthwhile. While I would like to see more adventures with Dail, Stone Star isn’t at the top of my To-Read list. I’m going to pre-order the book, but I’m also not marking down the days till its release on June 1. 4.1/5

A couple images from Season 1.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


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I get a percentage from any qualifying purchase; doesn’t have to be the ones listed below. Thank you for helping to support my blog so I can continue to tell stories, write reviews, and more.

Buy Season 1 Now
A young thief named Dail discovers a dark secret in the depths of Stone Star and has to decide where his destiny lies. 
Pre-order Stone Star Season 2 Now
A young warrior named Dail has been drawn into the ring and is trying to prove himself in the Grand Arena, but there are forces on the station determined to see him destroyed as revenge for his father’s fighting legacy.

Walmart eBooks | Review

I just wanted to buy The Atlantropa Articles by Cody Franklin (aka AlternateHistoryHub on YouTube) on Walmart eBooks. I had some money on there and was going to spend it.

I found the book on the app; it said if I wanted to purchase the book I would have to do so from Walmart. UGH! Fine! I headed to the Walmart app and searched for the book. I found it, but it was the hardback. I don’t want the hardback; I want the eBook!

I figured that maybe it wan’t in eBook format on Walmart since the author isn’t as well known. I tried “Dean Koontz.” I found only hardbacks and paperbacks. Finally, I saw an eBook filter option. When I clicked on that, I got random eBooks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What does that have to do with Dean Koontz? (I guess he did write the forward.)

I finally just gave up.

Walmart really needs to fix their search and eBook system if they want to compete with Amazon. On Amazon, you search, find the product, buy the product–no hoop jumping required. Nobody wants to go through 15 different sites just to buy a product, which is why Amazon is doing so well–you go to the site, buy, and you’re done.

I know I could get the eBook from Amazon, but I wanted to get it from Walmart eBooks because a) I have credit with Walmart eBooks and b) I don’t trust Amazon.

I never thought I’d see the day I was rooting for Walmart. Don’t get me wrong: Walmart is far from a saint. When I was younger, Walmart was always the “big bad” choking the life out of smaller businesses. There were tons of news and personal stories of Walmart causing local businesses to close because they couldn’t compete. Now, it’s Amazon, and they aren’t just hurting small businesses but the larger ones too (RIP Toys R Us, not to mention a few bookstores).

At first, I liked Amazon, but the more I dealt with them, the less I liked them. A lot of the trouble came from when I tried to self-publish eBooks with them. Their exclusive publishing program sounds good but that means you can’t sell it anywhere else–including your own website. Customers have their own preferences, like buying from Barnes & Noble. If you only publish at Amazon, you are limiting your customer potential.

Also with Amazon, you can’t sell your book for free unless you are part of the exclusive program, and you can only do that for like five days every few months. Finally, their royalty rates are pretty low. Most of the money from your sales, unless you go exclusive, goes to Amazon.

There are other sneaky things, but those mostly come from other people or are alleged rumors, so I won’t go into them here.

The point is I started seeing Walmart as the lesser of two evils. Kind of like with the “subscribe to PewDiePie” campaign. For a long time I’d see YouTubers mocking or saying how much they dislike or are annoyed with PewDiePie. Suddenly, everyone was saying “subscribe to PewDiePie” and “save PewDiePie.” I couldn’t understand the shift.

At first, I figured it was a joke or YouTubers trying to find something to vlog/make content about…and I’m sure that still plays a part, but I started to see a deeper reason.

PewDiePie, like his videos or dislike his videos, is an independent maker (or independent-ish). Meanwhile, T-Series is a multi-channel organization with a staff. And then there is the theory that YouTube itself is helping T-Series succeed in order to get a foothold in the Indian market.

To the other YouTube Creators, PewDiePie is a symbol of the small content maker who works out of their closet (even if PewDiePie might not actually be doing that) while T-Series is seen as a big company with big backing. It is the same reason that many YouTubers are having trouble with celebrities, like Will Smith, becoming YouTubers (as seen in the FootofaFerret video): the small scale YouTubers can’t compete with the high production value and fame that celebrities bring.

So even though PewDiePie has more subscribers than some countries have citizens, he is still seen as the lesser of two evils to the other content makers. To them, he is seen as “one of them,” some random person with a camera talking about stuff. They see the channels, like celebrity channels or T-Series, that can pretty much buy their way into the trending tab as a threat to their livelihood.

My point is that sometimes it is better to go with the devil you know. And also if Walmart doesn’t want to become the next sad, goodbye, going out of business meme–like Toys R Us–they better get to work on improving their eBook app.

(I can’t believe I mentioned “subscribe to PewDiePie” in a post, sigh.)


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The first interactive story game based on my book series can be found here.