Book Review: The Tea Dragon Society

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill
The Tea Dragon Society 
by Katie O’Neill

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
In this graphic novel, Greta’s mother is teaching her to be a blacksmith, but Greta is distracted when she befriends a tea-shop owner with a pet tea dragon. As Greta learns to care for the tea dragons, she befriends a whole new group of people in the society dedicated to protecting their tea dragons, and brewing the delicious tea leaves harvested from their horns. But will Greta ever return to her blacksmithing lessons, or have a tea dragon of her own?

I love the whimsical artwork! The colors and lines are soft and sweet. I thought the plot was adorable and lovely. The little tea dragon creatures are the cutest thing ever created! But there were some confusing things about this book that make it difficult to review.

My main problem is that there is a homosexual couple in this book. One of them is a human and the other is some kind of furry llama-looking guy with a long tail. I did not appreciate this kind of political/philosophical posturing in an otherwise lovely children’s book about dragons.
There is a little black magical flaming creature that follows Greta around as her pet. I did not realize until the end of the book that it is a flaming charcoal brick, and they are bonded because of her blacksmith ancestry and goblin blood. So a magical charcoal dude is there, but never speaks or can’t speak. Is he there to heat the fires in the smithy? Does he help her with the blacksmithing stuff? Why are you there, little dude? You’re cute, but I don’t know why you are in the story.

There is not really much going on in the plot. It sort of starts a storyline, and then sort of finishes the storyline, and sort of gives a conclusion to some things, and other things are left hanging there. Very wishy-washy, and not much to hold onto. (I like a solid plot, with a definite story line, and a concrete ending. This is not that.) It gives the book a dreamy, fluid quality though, which is in keeping with the storytelling temperament and softly flowing illustrations. It fits the style of this book.

Also, the dragons don’t LOOK like dragons. They are adorable fluffy little creatures, and they all look so different and unique! But they just look like creatures, not dragons. Some of them resemble bunnies more than dragons. I wanted dragon-looking dragons, so I was a little disappointed about that.

And the last 20 pages of the book is an encyclopedic explanation of tea dragons, their habits, the different breeds of dragon that produce different tea leaves, and what is required to care for each breed. It was really interesting and fun to read!

Disclaimer: I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts and are not influenced by anyone.

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