Thank you to Oni Press and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragons 2) by Katie O’Neill
Release Date: September 17th
Tags: Graphic Novel / Middle Grade / Dragons / Small Town / Diversity / POC / Disability / Deaf Character / Sign Language / LGBTQ+ / Genderfluid / Non-Binary
Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.
I’d heard everyone raving about The Tea Dragon Society earlier this year so when I got the opportunity to read this beauty early I of course took it.
This whole book just feels so warm. There is really no better way to describe it. It just brings such a smile on my face. The soft and warm colors work so well with the art style and the story. I had to get used to the art style a little. It is very round and soft. No hard angles which I’m not used to but again, it works incredibly well with the story and the characters.
As for the story, this is a companion book. I haven’t read The Tea Dragon Society but I did see that this follows different characters. It is very easy to read this book without having read the first one. In this book we follow Rinn who grew up with the Tea Dragons. She is trying to learn how to cook so she can do more than ‘just’ collect ingredients and herbs. Out during a trip she finds a dragon who has been asleep for 80 years. Rinn helps Aedhan feel welcome back into the world where Aedhan helps her to see that she does have a gift.
There is so much inclusivity in this book that is added in such a normalized way. It was beautiful to read. There is a deaf character for whom most in the village have learned sign language which is also shown on the page. There is poc and lgtbq+ rep. There are non-binary and genderfluid characters. And everything is accepted as it is.
All in all yes The Tea Dragon Festival is one I a 100% recommend for anyone!