Review: Commanding the Red Lotus

Hey all.

This morning, I’m sitting here at my kitchen table with my coffee (in a Lego mug that says “I Love Grandpa”.  It was a gift from my husband our first Christmas together..), and I’m trying to think of what to share about Commanding the Red Lotus.  I finished it last night, so it’s still fresh in my mind, and I’m doing a lot of starting and stopping here.  Solution: maybe more coffee?

Commanding the Red Lotus by R.J Sullivan (who drinks his coffee out of a Little Mermaid mug) was shared with me after I signed up to be a part of his blog tour.

I want to be in outer space with a high ponytail dreaming of future voyages on an old red ship.

After reading the synopsis and seeing the AMAZING cover, I was so excited to read this book.  I was looking forward to a strong female lead living the dream in space as she physically saves an old, beaten down ship and emotionally saves its beaten down crew.  I was hoping for adventure, conflict, resolution, and as usual, just a sprinkling of romance.

I didn’t get what I expected.

Sure, there was conflict, some resolution, and adventure.  And I must say, there was the perfect amount of romance for my taste.  But the main character, Sayuri, wasn’t the strong, independent woman I’d foreseen.  She was unsure at times and overly confident at other times.  She was wrong a lot, and she was right sometimes.  She needed saving by her crew, and she had to save her crew.

I got frustrated with Sayuri (and other characters – here’s looking at you Engineer Keller) so much because she was a mess.  I questioned her decisions and actions often.  I shook my head at her multiple times.  I wanted to grab nearly every character in this book by the shoulders and shake them until they did what I thought they should do.  But halfway through, I realized that Sayuri (and Dravin and Terch and Daniels and everyone) was a level of real that you don’t see often in fiction.

Sayuri wasn’t a girl who stepped out of her comfort zone for the first time and discovered that she’d always had an amazing ability to own a ship and command a crew.  Commanding the Red Lotus wasn’t a story about ordinary people who figure out that they’re extraordinary.  There were no chosen ones, prodigies, or best of the best.

These characters were people who were finding themselves.  They took chances and had successes and failures.  They had issues with their dads, issues with past and present lovers, issues with cultural ignorance, and issues with space pirates (which may not make them average by our standards, but that makes them pretty average space miners).  I got to see them learn to handle trauma and insecurities, work with exes, figure out how to sleep in zero gravity, and eat hamburgers.  They were ordinary people doing ordinary (for them) things.

Don’t get me wrong – Commanding the Red Lotus was far from boring.  They’re space miners dealing with an old ship, mutiny, and pirates.  It was adventurous and exciting.  But it was also real and relatable.  Sure, it’s fun to read about amazing people doing amazing things.  But to read about average people doing some not amazing things and some really amazing things – and to have that done so well by R.J Sullivan – that’s something that is unique and unexpected.

So if you like space, if you like pirates, if you like unexpected characters, if you like reading about complicated relationships or trauma, or if you’re an everyday person with ups and downs, give Commanding the Red Lotus a shot.  You might just see yourself in it whether you want to or not.


Want to know more about the author of Commanding the Red Lotus, R.J Sullivan?


Best known for his ghost story thrillers, Commanding the Red Lotus is R.J.Sullivan’s fifth book and his first release in the genre he most adores. R.J.’s critically acclaimed, loosely connected ghost story trilogy and his short story collection are all available in paperback and ebook though Seventh Star Press. R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it.


Want to check out other stops on R.J Sullivan’s blog tour?

6/27/2016            Sheila’s Guests and Reviews:  Guest Post

6/28/2016            Deal Sharing Aunt:  Interview

6/29/2016            Cover2Cover:  Guest Post

6/29/2016            I Smell Sheep:  Guest Post

6/30/2016            Jordan Hirsch:  Review

7/1/2016              Jorie Loves A Story:  Guest Feature/Interview

7/2/2016             MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape:  Interview

7/3/2016             Swillblog:  Review

7/3/2016             Jorie Loves A Story:  Interview


**This eBook was provided to me in exchange for an honest review; no compensation was provided.


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I write. I read. I cook. I try to connect with people.

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