[Book Review] THE TEA DRAGON SOCIETY by Katie O’Neill

DETAILS:

TITLE: The Tea Dragon Society

AUTHOR: Katie O’Neill

GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels, Fantasy

PUBLISHED BY: Oni Press /Diamond Book Distributors

PUBLICATION DATE: 31st October 2017

EDITION: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781620104415

PRICE: $17.99 (USD)

THE STORY:

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.

THOUGHTS:

This beautifully written and illustrated manga-style fairytale is a delight of warm thoughtfulness.

The artwork is sublime, the characters all realistic and eminently likeable, and the tea dragons themselves are quite possibly the cutest creatures ever invented.

The legend of the Tea Dragons, and the story of the strong bond and shared memories they form with their guardians is enchanting; and the addition of Extracts from The Tea Dragon Handbook at the rear of the book was a welcome and intriguing discovery. The Tea Dragon Handbook includes an introduction to Tea Dragon care, information on the history of both Tea Dragons and The Tea Dragon Society, and individual fact-files on each species of Tea Dragon.

However something struck me as I was reading it for the third time that left me utterly insensed! I suddenly realized how inclusive the book was, no fanfares, no wordy blurbs, just honest inclusivity; which is just as it should be. I was angered, not by this book, but by all the ones that don’t get it right!

Gender stereotypes are ignored as Greta’s tall muscular mother is the town’s blacksmith, whilst her slighter framed father keeps shop; promoting and selling his wife’s creations alongside sundries such as tea.

Most relationships appear to be mixed race (or species!?) and same-sex couples are nothing of note.

Physical Disability and Mental Health feature as part of life rather than trotted out as yet another trope.

I utterly and wholeheartedly applaud this book for setting such a high standard that ALL books, graphic novel to weighty prose and everything in between, should aspire to.

Plus, I desperately wish for a tea dragon of my very own!

RATINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS:

I rate this beautifully written and illustrated tale 5 out of 5 magical stars.

I recommend The Tea Dragon Society to lovers of: wonderful tales with a mythological twist, beautifully illustrated graphic novels, diverse reads, dragons, and; of course; tea.

THE AUTHOR:

An illustrator and graphic novelist from New Zealand, Katie O’Neill mostly makes gentle fantasy stories for younger readers.

She is very interested in tea, creatures, things that grow, and the magic of everyday life.

You can find out more at teadragonsociety.com and follow Katie on social media, where she can be found using the moniker @strangelykatie on both Twitter and Instagram.

DISCLOSURE:

I received a digital copy of The Tea Dragon Society, via NetGalley and free of charge, for the purpose of supplying an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xxx

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[Book Review] ‘Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy’ by Emily Martha Sorensen

TITLE: TWENTY-FOUR POTENTIAL CHILDREN OF PROPHECY

AUTHOR: EMILY MARTHA SORENSEN


Henina tends to irritate people. She can’t help it — she’s bad at shutting her mouth. So when a prophecy is made that someone will stop the war, she figures she’s the worst possible choice.

Too bad.

The Fates have their sights set on her, and it will take all her cleverness and quite a lot of offending the king to foist the prophecy off on somebody else instead.

But she can do it. After all, there are a lot of potentials to choose from.


The Author

Emily Martha Sorensen writes young adult, middle grade, and clean new adult fantasy. I must admit, it is a bit of a breath of fresh air to start reading a book and when my young teen niece asks what it’s about; and is subsequently intrigued; I have no qualms at saying she can read it when I’m done! If you’ve hung around here for any length of time, you’ll know I have a soft spot for the gory, the gruesome and the downright grotesque; but sometimes a light, witty and easy to read tale of skullduggery is what’s​ needed!

I was delighted when I recently received an email offering the chance to review an ARC of this, her latest* book, and quickly got stuck in.

[ * Boy! She works fast! In between arranging to review this and reading it (in the space of less than a week!) , Emily has also released her next book Trials of a Teenage Werevulture  ]


The Book

We join the story on Prophecy Day, a monthly event where the King’s personal soothsayer and fortune teller impart what The Fates purportedly have in store for the kingdom in the coming weeks. The marketplace is heaving as whilst the general population usually aren’t too interested, the prophecy last month led to the King throwing silver coins into the crowd and so all are eager to attend just in case there is a repeat performance.

We meet Henina, a mouthy young woman who apprenticed to her father, wants to live her life her way, without the constraints of ‘normal’ married life and children. She is bolshy, and argumentative, and I adore her. 

Then a prophecy is made that changes everything…

“The days of the war are numbered.  The one who will end it now stands within this square.  You will know her by the mark of the star she bears on her hand.  She will rule the kingdom with wisdom and grace.”


No-one seems to care when she argues that it is a scar from a recent burn that she bears rather than a mystical mark, or indeed question the scratches or even drawn on stars that the other potentials show.

All Twenty-Four are escorted to the castle to begin their training whilst the court awaits the revelation of The Fates’ chosen one.

The following days are spent with Henina trying, through a series of ever more outlandish schemes, to thwart any possible plans which The Fates may have for her.

The main characters in Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy are marvelous. Henina especially is wonderfully annoying. She clearly has no ability for internal dialogue and just blurts out whatever she is thinking; making for truly amusing exchanges with those, whom she meets along the way, who then have to suffer her infernal chattering; constant questioning & complaining. The other twenty-three are a varied lot, everyone from the four-year old daughter of peasants; to Anna Khordoa, the haughty niece of the King; and Henina’s uproarious interactions with them all as they vie for position as THE Child of the Prophecy are hilarious.

Each person she meets is quickly dubbed with a (not always flattering!) nickname, thus the King’s haughty neice Anna is known as The Spoilt Brat and his Fortune-Teller becomes The Self-Important Charlatan; whilst Helga , fortune-teller and one of the Potentials, is referred to as The Fortune Teller (or indeed, The Fortune Teller who is not called Helga – it makes sense, I promise!!)

Henina’s attempts to thwart The Fates become more and more outlandish as the story progresses, and each idea seems to backfire as both coincidences and consequences start to pile up.

  • Who is the real Child of the Prophecy?
  • Will Henina escape The Fates?
  • Will she find her Grace?
  • Will they stop the 50 year war?

You’ll need to read the book to find out!!


Another amusing touch is the way the chapter titles (& contents!) relate to the chapter number:

Chapter 3: Three Silver Coins That Smell Like Feet      

Chapter 7: Seven Influential People I’ve Offended Today   

Chapter 10: Ten Impossible Things for Breakfast 

Chapter 13: Thirteen Griddle Cakes and a Greedy Sister  

Chapter 16: Sixteen Possible Traitors, and One Maybe

…. and so on.


Rating and Recommendations

I wholeheartedly rate this witty read with 5 out of 5 stars and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone, aged 10-100, who enjoys a fantasy novel with a historical slant and a large dose of giggles.This book is a perfect melding somewhere between classic Greco-Roman tragi-comedy and laugh-outloud modern sitcom. It really is an extremely wittily & cleverly woven tale. I can’t recommend it highly enough; and I cannot wait for the release of the sequel, Fifty-Three Assassins with a Head-Cold .


For more information on Emily and her work, visit EmilyMarthaSorensen.com , where you’ll find links to her books, giveaways and the opportunity to join her mailing list (and receive a copy of Six Shiny Silver Coins and the Ridiculous Ruckus They Caused a free short story which is the prequel to Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy.)


Disclosure

I received an e-book copy of this book, direct from the author and free of charge, in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, 

Crafty xx