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Iron Hearted Violet

Iron Hearted Violet is a middle grade/YA fairy tale novel by Kelly Barnhill.

Princess Violet has never looked like a Real Princess. Her mismatched eye, lopsided face, blotchy skin, and feral hair would never be commended or gazed upon with admiration. Her wildness and intelligence also can be give way to being less meek and graceful than is expected.

But she is a princess nevertheless.

One day she and her best – and only – friend Demetrius stumble upon a hidden room during their exploration of the palace, they find a book that feels wrong.

Trying to forget they ever found the room or the book, years pass – and Violet always feels a pull from her deep curiosity to know more about it.

Yearning to learn, Violet picks up snatches of a forbidden story of a never-spoken-of evil being called the Nybbas. A story that he is imprisoned in their mirrored-sky world.

Is it more than a story? And what does the last dragon in existence have to do with it?

Violet doesn’t know yet – but she’s determined she will

I thought Iron Hearted Violet was excellent!!!

One small complaint outside the content of the book, that I have to mention, is that the cover and inside illustrations never portray Violet correctly. It’s surprising since Violet’s unattractiveness is such a focal point that the art would never reflect that. Bothersome. In the novel itself it is one of my favorite themes – dealing with not being what is expected, being unsightly to others. So, the drawings kind of messed that up!

Moving on from that, though, I loved the storytelling of Iron Hearted Violet. It was very involving, truly feeling like a new legend or fairytale. It would be a great book to read out loud. The kind of book you can snuggle up to.

The character development felt so easy and convincing in that fable kind of way – I really, really liked it!! Not to mention, the dark depths that the novel dived into with the creepy evil and the effective loss and grief portrayed really made Iron Hearted Violet fresh, witty, scary, moving and magical all at one time.

Plus, I can’t help but adore the fact that this book is appropriate for all ages!! Doesn’t matter how old or young you are – I think you’ll enjoy it! Iron Hearted Violet is clever, intelligent, surprising, and eerie – and really provided a lovely, poetic and complete story.

It’s because it went to those less pleasant, more painful places that it held more weight. But it was still a fairytale through and through – and what’s better than a new fairytale?

*I received a review copy of Iron Hearted Violet from Hachette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.


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