Blog Tour Review: The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill

Hello, friends! I’m back with a blog tour review for The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill. Special thanks to the TBR & Beyond Tours team for organising the tour and including me in it!

Thanks to Random House Graphic for providing a digital ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the fantastic bloggers on tour!

The Moth Keeper
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Publication Date: 7 March 2023
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy Graphic Novel

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)


Being a Moth Keeper is a huge responsibility and a great honor, but what happens when the new Moth Keeper decides to take a break from the moon and see the sun for the first time? A middle-grade fantasy graphic novel about passion, duty, and found family.

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 prove her 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.


Depression, trauma, burn out themes, abandonment (historical, shown on page through flashback), ableism (historical, minor)


TL;DR: If you’ve read anything by K. O’Neill before you’ll know that their stories are not only beautifully depicted through wonderful graphic illustrations, but their stories are full of heart and leave you feeling warm inside. The Moth Keeper is no different and despite the brevity of the story, it brought me joy, made me misty-eyed, and gave me a strong feeling of hope. This is a heartwarming story about community, found family, and belonging and I’d recommend it to everyone who loves folk tales and a good story!

I am a big fan of O’Neill’s artwork and it was wonderful to dive into a new world and a new story through the illustrations they create. As the story takes place in a community that worships the moon, most of the panels had cool, night-time tones which made the contrasting tones of the day-time scenes, as well as the warm tones of the lantern Anya uses to protect the moths, stand out wonderfully. What I love best about O’Neill’s illustrations is how they are able to infuse the characters and the setting with so much life! The character expressions and how everything from the dialogue to the colour palette to the way elements are illustrated always complement each other beautifully.

Although the story is very much about Anya’s journey as the new moth keeper, this had a really strong sense of community that I really enjoyed. No community is perfect and this was clearly illustrated by the plot and how, despite all the positive things the community provides, sometimes duty and tradition can get in the way of building a sense of togetherness. I really appreciated the way O’Neill brought this to light through Anya’s experience. She was a wonderful main character who was easy to sympathise with and root for. There’s definitely an underlying sense of heaviness as we follow Anya on her journey as the new moth keeper and as she works through her overwhelming feeling of isolation and desire to belong. It was kind of heartbreaking to witness her extend herself to such extremes because she feels the only way she can contribute and bring light to the community is through this new role she takes on. Honestly, a few of the scenes towards the end really had me tearing up! Don’t worry though—this has a satisfying, heartwarming and happy ending.

However, there were also great moments of joy in this story. I particularly loved Anya’s friendship with Estell, who I absolutely ADORED! 😍 She was such a wonderful and caring friend who left my heart feeling so happy and full every time she appeared on the page—I literally wanted to scoop her up, stick her in my pocket and keep her forever! I loved how she never gave up on caring for Anya, even when Anya wouldn’t open up about her struggles, and how much she cherished their friendship. I also liked Yeolen and Aimoss and I’d 100% read a story about them and Yeolen’s journey to becoming the moth keeper before Anya (please)!

Overall, this is definitely a story I would recommend for those who love a heartwarming tale of community and belonging, folktale vibes, and fantastic illustrations to accompany an equally beautiful story.

I am a self-taught writer and illustrator based in New Zealand. I’m interested in nature and all kinds of creatures, mindfulness and mental health, and the magic of everyday life. To date, I have 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, I love tea and food, plants, transitional seasons, reading, walking and listening to podcasts.

Author’s Socials:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Have you read The Moth Keeper or is it on your TBR?

10 thoughts on “Blog Tour Review: The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill

  1. DINI THIS REVIEW IS LITERALLY THE COOLEST EVER AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT OKAY?? im not the biggest ever fan of graphic novels (THERES SO MUCH FASCINATING ARTWORK I FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT TO CONCENTRATE ON THE CURRENT PANEL AND END UP JUST. READING EVERYTHING AT ONCE. the only solution ive figured out is TO STAY AWAY) but look you make this sound intriguing. BECAUSE EXCUSE ME BUT “cool night time tones” and a story dealing with community AND FRIENDSHIP AND ALSO “FOLKTALE VIBES”??? I NEED PLEASE.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The enthusiasm in your reviews always brings me so much joy! 😂 Thanks, Anoushka! It was definitely gorgeous and I totally get what you mean about being distracted by the amazing artwork that you might end up missing the story. I love illustrated stories though and I love this author so I’m glad this one ended up being a win for me too 😍


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s