The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill
Series: The Tea Dragon Society, Vol. 1
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: October 31, 2017
From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.
After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives–and eventually her own.
F/F and M/M Pairing
Lesbian and Gay Characters
This graphic novel is made up of an incredibly diverse cast with different races, species, and sexualities. The main character has these cute little horns while the character she ends up meeting and working with looks like a humanoid fox type creature. This is the type of graphic novel that would appeal to people of different ages and backgrounds. It is super cute and sweet so I can see younger kids reading it, but it’s also a bit complex and has some really cool character development that will appeal to… not younger kids. There are hints at romance but nothing overtly sexual. Sometimes you just want a super sweet fluffy story with cute art to relax with and this would be perfect!
This wasn’t a romance driven graphic novel, but there were romantic elements to it. It was mostly about how Greta gets introduced to tea dragons and becomes involved in the tea dragon society. There is some romance if that is something you enjoy, but not a lot of it.
This was divided into chapters based on the seasons (Spring, Summer…) to show the passage of time and it made it easy to follow the timeline. Even though this was only 61 pages and volume one of the story, I feel like it had a distinct ending. There wasn’t a cliffhanger to force you to read the second volume, but it also left room for more of the story. If you’re into super plotty graphic novels, this one might be a miss for you because it’s a bit thin on that aspect, but you could always wait for more volumes and binge read them.
I really like the lore of the tea dragons and learning about what makes their tea special. Throughout the book, O’Neill made sure that they were a central part of the story instead of just being like “oh aren’t these cute.” They grow the tea on little branches they have on their antlers/horns and their tea has special properties. They also have different colors and personalities and you can really tell that O’Neill put a lot of thought into this comic. The ending has some blurbs from the Tea Dragon Handbook so that the readers can learn more too.
I really want a tea dragon because I like both tea and dragons. It makes me sad that they don’t exist because I would love to have a cute little tea dragon to take care of, but I guess I can settle for having a grumpy cat instead (even if she doesn’t grow tea from her head).
The art for this book was absolutely gorgeous. The color palette matches the cuteness of the story while also making it look like it belongs in the fantasy genre. It had a Studio Ghibli vibe to it because of the cuteness and the kind of magical realism. The art had a softness to it (lines, colors) while still being well defined (not foggy or blurry if that makes sense?). It doesn’t have the whole traditional block by block panels that superhero comics are known for so that contributes to the kind of airy vibe the story has going on. Each character has unique colors and features and the dragons look dragonesque but they are unique enough to tell that O’Neill drew them to match their tea type.
Since this is a tea-based story, I thought it would be fun to talk about tea that we love. Personally, if we’re talking about basic everyday tea then I have to go with a good old cup of Earl Grey. If we’re talking iced then I really like David’s Tea’s iced blends. They are kind of pricey but life is too short to always drink cheap tea. I would drink Teavana’s Joy tea year round but they decided to torture me by making that a limited release thing.
What kind of tea do you guys like? Or are you more of a coffee drinker?
Katie O’Neill is an illustrator from New Zealand, and is known online as StrangelyKatie. She is best known for making comics about princesses, girls who aren’t princesses and wishes. Her work has appeared in the New Zealand-based Faction anthology (2013) and Rising Tides anthology (2014), and also drew the series Crystal Cadets for Lion Forge Comics (2014). She currently collaborates with her partner under the name STRANGE STAR Comics.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.