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THE TEA DRAGON FESTIVAL Review: Life Lessons, Adorable Characters

Written & Drawn by Katie O’Neill.

Big thanks to Netgalley & Oni Press for providing a copy of The Tea Dragon Festival for review!

The Tea Dragon Festival

After reading The Tea Dragon Society a few months ago, I was so happy to learn that Katie O’Neill wrote a second book in the Tea Dragon series. The Tea Dragon Festival was equally as beautiful and powerful as its predecessor. The lessons it teaches are somewhat more nuanced, which I loved. The characters are all so adorable, and O’Neill includes elements in this book I have never seen in a graphic novel before, like sign language.

As you can tell from the cover art, a new type of dragon is introduced in The Tea Dragon Society. While all of the dragons in the first book were quite lil, the follow-up features a full-size dragon who can change forms. He has a very interesting history, and it’s fascinating to watch him learn more about the human world throughout the story.

The main character, Rinn (they/them), also learns a lot about themself throughout the book. They feel trapped in the everyday minutia of daily life, and struggle to find purpose and meaning in their work. This is a struggle most readers will relate to on some level, and I found it really beautiful to see how Rinn dealt with their feelings.

There isn’t much more I can say about O’Neill’s artistry that I haven’t already said in my Aquicorn Cove review. Each character is rendered with so much heart and life. I would love to step into one of her books and find a new home among the tea dragons.

There are a lot of other deep ideas that shine through Tea Dragon Festival; self-acceptance is a big one. Another theme I found particularly powerful is accepting the limits of others. The limits of someone who experienced a trauma may be different from my own in the same way the limits of a dragon differ from those of a human. This book portrays this idea in a beautiful and clear way. I love how O’Neill continues to inject these powerful messages in her books.

If cute and quirky is your genre (or you’d like it to be!) I highly recommend adding one of O’Neill’s books to your reading list asap. If you’ve read one already I would love to hear from you on Twitter and Instagram!

The Tea Dragon Festival is available for preorder now wherever books are sold, and hits shelves on September 17th.

Samantha Maybe
Samantha Maybehttps://www.theconventioncollective.com
Sam is a San Diego transplant and SDCC attendee of 5+ years. Recently, she rediscovered a love for reading prose, and loves staying plugged into the comics world through The Convention Collective, and the SDCC graphic novel book club. You can find more of her bookish thoughts on Instagram @Sammaybereading.

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