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Iron Hearted Violet

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,556 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
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 t
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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Alex I'd say this book is for fifth grade on up. With reading out loud to third grade on up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 07, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it it was ok
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
Jun 12, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, kidlit, own
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!
Arielle Walker
May 26, 2015 Arielle Walker rated it really liked it
3 stars for me
4 stars for the age group it's intended for...

Pranta Ghosh Dastider
May 18, 2016 Pranta Ghosh Dastider rated it it was amazing
Well, I won't be heartless and give Iron Heart Violet any star less. A full 5 it is.

Who am I to search for a flaw in such flawless storytelling? This story could go many places, but it kept being simple and to the point. It showed friendship, family bond, ruthless god, treachery, dragons, love, hope and many more. Written in a magical way this story became enhanced furthermore.

When all fairy tale stars with a beautiful princess, prosperous or in trouble kingdom and so on, this particular story
Apr 06, 2017 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book, ebook
Enjoyable read overal, but I did find that the story fell flat in multiple places.

Actual Ratings: 2.75
Barb Middleton
Dec 12, 2012 Barb Middleton rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jun 24, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-releases
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
Jul 31, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2012
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
Sep 22, 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
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
Mar 17, 2017 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, hbg
This is exactly the kind of book I would have been obsessed with as a kid. A dragon, an ugly princess, and the power of storytelling make for a great combination. The narrator was incredibly frustrating, especially as the book progressed, but overall it was pretty great.
Michelle E.
Feb 17, 2013 Michelle E. rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, 2014-purchases

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
Aug 30, 2012 Nafiza rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 10, 2012 Aylee rated it really liked it
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
Iron Hearted Violet is a middle grade fantasy novel that takes place in an imaginary multiverse. Only dragons can travel from one realm to the next by pressing against the thin skins of each realm until they pass through to the other side. Princess Violet lives in the Andulan Realm, which has a mirrored sky. It is believed that something lured the dragons to Andulan, and the dragons cannot escape because they are afraid of their own reflections. Violet’s father, King Randall, has been infatuated ...more
Dec 07, 2012 Pamela rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2013 Cleo rated it liked it
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
Kathy Martin
Jul 01, 2014 Kathy Martin rated it really liked it
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
May 05, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it

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
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

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)
May 10, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, arc, middle-grade
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

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
Nov 26, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it
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
Jasmine Rose
Jun 15, 2012 Jasmine Rose rated it it was ok
Shelves: listened-to
This book had basically zero lasting power for me. It's been about a month since I listened to it, and I can barely remember any of it after skimming the synopsis and reviews in hopes of jogging my memory.
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.
Ms. Library
4.5. If you're a fan of Cathrynne Valente's Fairyland or Melloy's Wildwood, you will probably love this. Also, the illustrations are lovely, though I think they made the main character too pretty in them (She's supposed to be ugly).
Dec 08, 2012 AliceAnn rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 06, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it
Very fun fairy tale. I enjoyed it immensely.
Jul 16, 2013 Alison rated it did not like it
Not that good. I think it is kinda like Harry Potter. There is alot a death and sorrow and gross stuff.
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Into the Forest: Iron Hearted Violet - Spoilers 7 15 Feb 12, 2014 04:15PM  
Into the Forest: Iron Hearted Violet - No Spoilers 6 23 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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