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Iron Hearted Violet

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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  811 ratings  ·  195 reviews
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 r
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Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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The Lost Prince by Julie KagawaFinale by Becca FitzpatrickThe Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinDestroy Me by Tahereh MafiBreathe by Sarah Crossan
October 2012 YA & MG Releases
35th out of 47 books — 92 voters
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Middle Grade Novels of 2012
135th out of 343 books — 603 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Monica!
Last weekend I had to drive across the state to a bachelorette party, and so I grabbed an audiobook copy of Iron Hearted Violet to keep me company in the car.

And, okay.

There were good things and bad things about this book.

I personally really disliked the narrator and his constant “Oh woe is me beloved though I truly am a masterful storyteller I can hardly stand to think about my actions” refrain, and wasn’t particularly moved by the ending, where (view spoiler), illuminate
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TheBookSmugglers
Ana’s Take:

The end of their world begins with a story – and with a birth. Princess Violet was born to supportive parents and a loving kingdom. She is smart, loves telling stories and enjoys adventures with her one friend Demetrius.

But, as it just so happens, Violet is not a True Fairytale Princess (TFP) because as we all know, TFP are impossibly beautiful and Violet is no such thing. With her mismatched eyes, lopsided face, blotchy skin and unruly hair, she is far from perfection. Still, nobody
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Jessica
How did I not know this book existed until a month ago? It's been out two years! It has a dragon and a little red haired girl on the cover! And it's wonderful! A fascinating and unusual fantasy, like a fairy tale, or a story by E. Nesbit, with strange and wonderful dragon lore. A must read for fans of dragons, magic, and adventure!
Nafiza
My attention was immediately captivated by the synopsis of the novel. I mean, how could I or anyone resist an outspoken and plain princess, her best friend and a mean dragon?

Iron Hearted Violet was a different book than I had imagined it would be. Oh it had all the elements I expected it to but it had something more, something that I hadn’t thought it would concern itself with. Substance. I thought it would be an adventure story that would leave me delighted, and it was, but there are heavier th
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Andrea
Oct 11, 2012 Andrea marked it as flipped-to-the-end
This story is told via the device of a court storyteller (one who keeps addressing the reader as "my dears"), and has a strong fairytale air, mixed with an epic fantasy plot. It is the tale of both Violet and Demetrius, as well as the storyteller.

Violet is an intelligent, lively, curious, mischievous princess, born to loving parents after many miscarriages, who happens to have very curly hair, uneven skin, an average sized body, mismatched eyes and a not precisely symmetrical face. She's not exa
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Barb Middleton
Pug nose, blotchy skin, mismatched eyes... meet the ugly princess. Now that's an interesting premise. Ignore the illustrations that make ugly Princess Violet look cute. Obviously, the artist didn't get the theme in this enjoyable fantasy. Violet has a strong personality, quick mind, and mouth. She's likable and strong-willed with a best friend, Demetrius, whom she explores the castle with on a daily basis. The castle is alive and has corridors that grow, shrink, and move making their adventures ...more
Amanda
Sometimes, you just need something simple. Something somewhat predictable, charming and just downright classic. That's what I needed when it came Iron-Hearted Violet, and it fit the bill perfectly. Simple. Charming, and just adorable.

Violet isn't like most princesses -the storybook kind, that is. She isn't pretty. She isn't fragile. And she isn't anywhere near graceful. And in the stories that Violet enjoys telling so much, the princesses are always beautiful and the dragons are always evil. But
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Michelle E. Kobus ♡ HAPPY HALLOWEEN! ♥
*CONTAINS SPOILERS*
****TURN BACK NOW****

I was prepared to love this book. I ordered it a week after I discovered it here on GR. I counted the days until it arrived and quickly sunk my teeth into it. But alas, 'twas not meant to be.

IHV containes elements of Tad William's Shadowmarch series and the movie Dragonheart; but this book is not nearly as intriguing as either.

It resembles Shadowmarch in that there are also small human-like fae (for lack of a better word), and IHV has a god who lives deep
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Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Violet is a beloved princess, the only living child of her parents and they live in a kingdom ruled by tales of the old gods who created their world. But she isn't the way a princess is supposed to be. Violet isn't pretty, graceful or cautious. Violet only has one real friend, Demetrius (the stablemaster's son) and she loves to tell stories about beautiful princesses and evil dragons. But when her Father goes on a quest to find the last living dragon (not to kill it, but to learn from it) and he ...more
Aylee
In short: If I were to describe Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill in one word, it would be Charming.


Middle Grade fantasies featuring strong and charismatic protagonists and creative world building are among my favourite kind of books to read and I had a feeling Iron Hearted Violet would give me exactly what I wanted - and it did. Kelly Barnhill has crafted an adventurous and unconventional story with a completely endearing protagonist. And what's more, there was SUBSTANCE here in the themes
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Susan
Fairy tales usually end with happily-ever-after's.

This one doesn't.

Beautifully deceptive and filled with dark intrigue, this is a story of power, wonder, and fear. Kelly Barnhill fills her pages with unique wisdom, charm, and most important: the power of belief. Iron Hearted Violet is a story that will stay with reader's as they traverse the pages and immerse themselves into a world unknow, a world unlike any other told in the rich span of fairy tales. It's deeply forbidden and dripping with
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Emily
This is one of those good ol' fantasy books, filled with princesses, dragons, and a fight to save the kingdom. Even better, there is absolutely no romance! Princess Violet is not beautiful, and she's surrounded by stories where all the princesses are beautiful. She has come ot believe that to be a real princess she must be beautiful, like her mother was. This is the first fantasy book I've read where the heroine isn't perfect and actually slips over to the dark side for a while. Though Violet is ...more
Cleo
Iron Hearted Violet is a recently published middle grade fantasy. It is the story of Violet, the intelligent but not-so-beautiful princess. When she is thirteen, her world begins crumbling. Nybbas, the thirteenth god, has risen again, and is bent on the destruction of everything that Violet loves. She and her best friend Demetrius, and a scarred dragon who's afraid of his own reflection, may be their only hope of saving their kingdom and their world.

Interestingly, the book is narrated in the fir
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colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
2.5

A decent little adventure story which explores, a bit, the power of stories to shape people's perspectives - both for the good and ill.

The titular Violet is an ugly princess who, early in the story, is told that "real princesses" have to be beautiful. At least in stories. But when things start going wrong, she starts thinking that maybe it's because she's not a "real princess".

Overall the story reminded me a bit of the Care Bears movie - the part where (view spoiler)
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Pamela
Dec 08, 2012 Pamela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Alice Ann
This was rather a surprise. A spur-of-the-moment checkout at the library based mostly on the cover (which is a very silly way to pick books, as a rule, since a lot of really insipid books have really pretty covers). However, this one was surprisingly, wonderfully deep, thoughtful, and poetic.

The titular Violet is the last princess of her realm. She doesn't look like a princess "should" look, at least according to the stories told by Cassian, the story's narrator. She's got crazy hair, lopsided e
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Bridget
This book started out fine, and the premise of an unpretty princess who knows that all the princesses in stories ARE pretty was enough to keep me reading. And the more I read the more interesting and sad and wonderful the story got. But it didn't totally win me over until the ending. Violet won me over at the ending.

I think kids will enjoy the story and the adventure and the way fairytale elements get presented, but as an adult this book had an unexpected effect on me. Part of this story is abo
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Kristen


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
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Elevetha


So I had some pretty high hopes for this one, most of which were dashed on the rocks of indifferent-ism. It just looked so cool.....

I was expecting something from the dragon, who turned out to be a one-dimensional side character.

Violet was two-dimensional. More there and yet....really not. She actually sorta annoyed me just a little bit.

Demetrius (awesome name) was just like every single other boy-side-character-that-is-best-friends-with-a-nontraditional-princess.

The Nybbas. As a villain, not
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Wendy
While this was, for my tastes, too long by half, I enjoyed it a lot. Especially, I liked the considerations of beauty and plainness--though the very pretty girl shown in the pictures irritated me. (It's one thing that she doesn't look like a classic fairy tale princess; we see that girl in the appropriate illustrations later; but would it have been so hard for the illustrator to at least show uneven eyes in the real princess's face?) I liked the multiverse concept, and the setting, and kept bein ...more
Liz
Very fun fairy tale. I enjoyed it immensely.
Phoebe
Barnhill is the author of The Mostly True Story of Jack, which impressed with its depth and detail. She falls a little short in this tale of a princess whose ordinary, even homely looks make her a little self-conscious, since of course, princesses are supposed to be beautiful. But Violet is precious because her parents waited so long for her and could not have more children. She is wild and adventuresome and her favorite occupation is to listen to the stories told by the court storyteller, Cassi ...more
Kathy Martin
Rich, textured language fills this tale of a girl, a boy, a dragon, and an old god imprisoned who now might have schemed his way to being free. Violet is a princess. But she is not the typical fairy tale princess with clear skin, long hair and gorgeous eyes. Violet is plain, has mis-matched eyes, unruly hair, and blotchy skin. She knows she isn't the perfect princess but she is also clever and stubborn.

He best friend is Demetrius. He is the son of the stablemaster and he becomes Violet's closest
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Taking the Waters
Iron Hearted Violet is one of the more lyrical MG books I’ve ever read. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the author is a poet, although I don’t believe that lyrical writing can only come from poets or that all poets are lyrical. Barnhill whisks you away into this world with sentences that flow together, kind of like you’re floating down a lazy river at a waterpark. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the story and not notice the sun setting and that your eyes are straining to read th ...more
Amanda Harris
Violet, the not-so-pretty princess, is soaring through the air on top of a dragon with an arrow in her chest. They are on a mission to break the mirrored edge of the world before the Nybbas regains its heart. What's a Nybbas? Do they accomplish what they had set out to do? You'll need to read it for yourself!

This book was pretty good. I felt like it was kind of draggy until it reached the end. There was definitely a build up to the climax and I feel like I wasn't that disappointed. The pacing wa
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Caitlin Persin
I loved this book. It was charming and adorable. It would have been perfect for a younger version of myself. It had a kick ass princess with an amazing friend who cares for her no matter what. I pretty much liked everything about this book. There are even some pretty profound questions posed within the reading (and it's a kids book). The author did hit you over the head with the fact that Violet was not pretty, but that was really the only part I didn't care for about this book. I really enjoyed ...more
Roselyn - bookmarkedpages
I find that a lot of books take themselves too seriously. They try to follow all the conventions and include all the right elements. But they lose something, something critical. Something that should be the number one priority of every book – to tell a story. I don’t want a collection of perfectly placed words and emotions. I want to be told a tale. To lose myself in a fantastical land narrated by a powerful voice. I didn’t realize how much I craved this until I read Iron Hearted Violet.

Iron Hea
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Ashley Kempkes
Actual Rating: 2.5
While I did like this book, it took me longer than it should have. I picked up this book thinking it would be a quick read, and I think it still be for most people, even though it wasn't for me.
bookczuk
What happens when the princess in the story is unbelievably homely, an old god is bent on destruction and the world is about to fall apart?

I picked this up to read before Kelly Barnhill's new book comes out. There's much hype and anticipation based on her earlier works (this one included) so I thought I'd take a test drive.

I liked it. Really. The main narrators were quite good, and the story well plotted and thought out. I liked the interweaving of some stuff from our mythology and folk tales, a
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AliceAnn
Dec 22, 2012 AliceAnn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anne, Diane
Recommended to AliceAnn by: Pamela
Thank you Pamela for recommending this utterly amazing book to me. *beams* I'm currently trying not to look too closely into any mirrors...just in case!
Chris
It's been awhile since I've finished this now, and I really meant to update this sooner.

Simply put, I really enjoyed this book. Admittedly, my fantasy readings have tapered off, both in adult novels and for the younger audiences, but I had a ton of fun with this one.

All of the characters are very wonderfully crafted, complete with flaws and quirks and complexity. Even more, the narrative tends to play with what the traditional fairy tale/princess roles, which made me love it even more. The tone,
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Into the Forest: Iron Hearted Violet - Spoilers 7 13 Feb 12, 2014 04:15PM  
Into the Forest: Iron Hearted Violet - No Spoilers 6 21 Feb 06, 2014 04:59PM  
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I'm a writer, a mom, a wife, a dog owner, a reader, a thinker, a hiker, a friend, a runner, a teacher, a listener, terrible gardener, a lover of nature. Sometimes I'm all of these things at once.

I'm also a former bartender, former park ranger, former waitress, former church janitor, former kosher meat slicer, former wild-eyed activist, former wildland firefighter, former coffee jerk, former phon
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“There's no such thing as complete when it comes to stories. Stories are infinite. They are as infinite as worlds.” 35 likes
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