Hello, hello, hello! Today I’m talking about The Moth Keeper, releasing TOMORROW, March 7th (yay!), and I’m happy to be sharing my review for this gorgeous middle-grade fantasy graphic novel about passion, duty, and found family. Today is only Day 1 of the TBRandBeyondTours book tour for The Moth Keeper, so make sure to check out other stops as the week goes on!
Anya is finally a Moth Keeper, the protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year. Her village needs the flower to continue thriving and Anya is excited to prover he worth and show her thanks to her friends with her actions, but what happens when being a Moth Keeper isn’t exactly what Anya thought it would be? The nights are cold in the desert and the lunar moths live far from the village. Anya finds herself isolated and lonely. Despite Anya’s dedication, she wonders what it would be like to live in the sun. Her thoughts turn into an obsession, and when Anya takes a chance to stay up during the day to feel the sun’s warmth, her village and the lunar moths are left to deal with the consequences. K. O’Neill brings to life a beautifully illustrated fantasy world about responsibility to yourself and your community. The Moth Keeper is filled with magic, hope, and friendship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
K. O’Neill is a self-taught writer and illustrator based in New Zealand. O’Neill is interested in nature and all kinds of creatures, mindfulness and mental health, and the magic of every day life. To date O’Neill has published three books, which have won Eisner, Harvey and Dwayne McDuffie awards for children’s comics, as well as being Cybils Award finalists and featured on the ALA Rainbow List. Outside of work O’Neill loves tea and food, plants, transitional seasons, reading, walking and listening to podcasts.
My Review-4.5 Stars
Content Warnings for The Moth Keeper: Depression, trauma, burn out themes, abandonment (historical, shown on page through flashback), ableism (historical, minor)
The Moth Keeper is a gorgeous middle grade graphic novel about responsibility and resilience, community and co-existence with nature, and finding where and what you want to be in life–and being present in that space. I won’t say much summary-wise about The Moth Keeper since the synopsis is right above, so let’s get into my thoughts!
Since I started working at children’s bookstore–almost two years ago now, wow–I’ve been reading so much more middle grade and have really loved it. I’m glad for that reading now because it made it easier for me to appreciate how great The Moth Keeper was! The art was stunning, and some of the paneling that spread pages was beautifully laid out and took my breath away. O’Neill’s style is also distinct, and not only did I love it, I also felt it meshed with the story seamlessly and this format worked for the story so well.
Another aspect I appreciated was the themes presented in this novel. I’d say The Moth Keeper is more introspective and character-driven than plot-driven (though the last third of the novel really packs in a lot), and yet another facet of middle grade fiction I’ve come to love is when deep conversations are held about what it means to be a person, what it means to be a friend or partner or family member, what it means to be part of a community, and what responsibility your community has towards you. The Moth Keeper approaches these themes with care and love, and while they are presented in an approachable way for younger readers, never does it dumb these ideas down or act like younger readers can’t/don’t understand these topics. There were many aspects of these themes that I really appreciated, but one of the biggest takeaways I loved was the idea conveyed about the importance of not letting any one person shoulder burdens alone; community exists and is at its best when not only joys and successes, but hardships and loss are shared.
If you’re looking for a novel with gorgeous art, magical creatures, and a captivating and poignant story about the importance of community and its healing power, you don’t want to miss The Moth Keeper!
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