For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill, Iacopo Bruno (illustrations)


13455485The 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.

Goodreads | Author | Amazon

Source: ARC provided by the publisher via BEA13


Get to the point mini review:
(I’m trying this format out so I can catalogue every book I read without writing long rambling reviews that crush my reading soul lol)

Iron Hearted Violet was a delightful tale of dragons, temptation, loyalty and how stories can shape (or un-shape) the world.

I think this book, although mid-grade, would appeal to readers of all ages, boys & girls, and would be an excellent jumping off point to discuss issues such as finding courage to do the right thing and our perceptions of beauty (particularly as it pertains to the Disney Princess image we’ve all been sold).

My one quibble would be with the illustrations. They are beautiful – but the point of this tale is that Violet is not. So it was disappointing to not see her as she is described. Our brilliant, pug nosed, mis-matched eyed, lopsided smiling Violet was made into the perfect looking princess thereby going against it’s own message.

“There's no such thing as complete when it comes to stories. Stories are infinite. They are as infinite as worlds.”
                                                                                                                                ~ Iron Hearted Violet

16 comments:

  1. SOunds fun but the thing with the illustrations...hm

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  2. I just did a similar format so I could get my ridiculous amount of reviews done -- mini is good! Sometimes all you need is a snippet. And this snipped intrigues me...

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    1. I saw that! you're a review writing madwoman!

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  3. wow this sounds so good!! i totally understand where you are coming from with the illustrations though, that is disappointing :(

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    1. Yeah - it bummed me out because the story had such a great message but I still really enjoyed it.

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  4. Oh the illustration sounds disappointing, I usually love them because ooh visuals but it seems pertinent that the artist actually be true to the character design for this book especially and they failed on that part. I am assuming the author unfortunately didn't have a say on the illustrations then. Still the book sounds lovely and I love a good middle grade so I will pick this one up ^_^.

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    1. I think you would like this one Sandy. It was adorable.

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  5. I'm surprised that they didn't illustrate her that way. She sounds like it would have been a wonderful character to draw. Oh and the book sounds pretty good. Love the quick reviews. :)

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    1. The story is great even with the minor complaint about the illustrations.

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  6. I am surprised the illustration didn't at least match her somewhat. That would have been disappointing. However the story sounds like it was really good!

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    1. It looks like her but....for example she does have that long red hair from the cover but it's unruly, wiry and sticking up everywhere - not smooth and flowing.

      The illustrations are gorgeous - just a little disappointing since the message of the book is that Violet should be herself - not the traditional beautiful princess. She's beautiful how she is.

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  7. Sounds so good, but I agree that the illustrations would ruin the point. Great review, Karen!

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  8. I would skim this for the illustrations but i think this will fly over my head because it's written for MG readers. However, I think I can read this to my nephew, maybe that will make me appreciate the story better through his eyes.

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  9. Sounds like a great read! Dragons! But that illustration issue is odd and disappointing!

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  10. Ah, I've had the ARC for over a year and have somehow never gotten around to it. I always think it's interesting when the interior illustrations or cover jacket don't match the heroine, too. :/

    Have you read Tess Gerritsen's thrillers, btw? They are so good, but very serious and different from the Rizzoli and Isles tv series. Jane Rizzoli is supposed to be pretty plain (and of course, it informs some of her character and relationships), so my jaw absolutely DROPPED when they cast Angie Harmon.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  11. Seems like they missed a great opportunity with the illustrations. I also love your new format and hope it helps to not crush your reading soul. : )

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