Book Review: Iron Hearted Violet

Book Review: Iron Hearted VioletIron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on October 9th 2012
Pages: 432

The end of their world begins with a story.

This one.

In most fairy tales, princesses are beautiful, dragons are terrifying, and stories are harmless. This isn't most fairy tales.

Princess Violet is plain, reckless, and quite possibly too clever for her own good. Particularly when it comes to telling stories. One day she and her best friend, Demetrius, stumble upon a hidden room and find a peculiar book. A forbidden book. It tells a story of an evil being -- called the Nybbas -- imprisoned in their world. The story cannot be true -- not really. But then the whispers start. Violet and Demetrius, along with an ancient, scarred dragon, may hold the key to the Nybbas's triumph . . . or its demise. It all depends on how they tell the story. After all, stories make their own rules.

Iron Hearted Violet is a story of a princess unlike any other. It is a story of the last dragon in existence, deathly afraid of its own reflection. Above all, it is a story about the power of stories, our belief in them, and how one enchanted tale changed the course of an entire kingdom.

I have been longing to read this book, so when I saw it at the library, I snatched it up and checked it out. I have a bad habit of returning library books unread, but luckily the Fairytale Readathon happened in March and I dug right into this one. The narrator of this book is the castle storyteller, who spends a lot of time with Princess Violet, a somewhat ugly child who clings to the idea that in stories all princesses are beautiful. And it's that idea that has her torn in the book between what is good and what is evil, blinded by her own want to be beautiful.

I found it odd at times with the narrator being an adult and often times it was a bit distracting to the story. Violet and Demetrius find their own adventures throughout the book, which gives a break from the strange narration and drives the story forward. Violet is a flawed character, which I enjoyed and she often shows the naivety of childhood but the start of who she could become underneath. I loved the dark undertones of this book and the prominent creep factor to the setting and characters. The Nybbas definitely is a sly and frightening creature who conniving ways may bring down the end of Violet's world as she knows it.

The stories of this world really built up the story and intrigued me. Overall, the only thing that didn't resonate was the choice of narrator. He was a bit of a coward and I didn't like his voice as much as the other characters.

Final Verdict: Definitely a book that resonated with me, despite the flaws and immersed me into the setting of Violet's world. Recommended to lovers of darker fairy tales.

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