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Iron Hearted Violet

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,399 ratings  ·  387 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 ...more
Audio CD
Published January 29th 2013 by AudioGO (first published October 9th 2012)
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George It's not marked as such. And it makes an entirely satisfactory stand-alone.
Alex I'd say this book is for fifth grade on up. With reading out loud to third grade on up.
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,399 ratings  ·  387 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's no such thing as complete when it comes to stories. Stories are infinite. They are as infinite as worlds.
When the whole world is trying to hide something, what would you do to discover what that is?

Demetris and Violet are two peas in a pod - only she's the princess of the castle and he's a peasant son - but that never mattered to them.

They are too busy having adventures, raising a ruckus and exploring the unfathomable castle.

And one such adventure will set them on a pathway neither
Hannah Greendale
Princess Violet and her best friend, Demetrius, discover a hidden room in the castle. Inside the room is a strange book that tells of a wicked creature – the Nybbas – who was imprisoned in their world. Violet has no reason to believe the story is true, until she starts hearing a voice in her head telling her to release the Nybbas.

Iron Hearted Violet touts the power of storytelling. In Princess Violet’s world, telling and believing in stories is a way of life.

Violet’s story, fittingly, is conve
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
3.5 stars. Lacking some of the charm of Barnhill's more recent "The Girl who Drank the Moon", this story took longer to engage me but I did find about a third of the way in I did want to know how things would turn out for Violet.
Interesting points raised by Kelly Barnhill about the damage stories prioritizing beauty of the girl/princess over sense and intelligence, cause incredible harm to Violet and countless others in her land. Violet does grow terrifically over the course of this story, and
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Pranta Ghosh Dastider
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
Arielle Walker
3 stars for me
4 stars for the age group it's intended for...

Kells Next Read
Enjoyable read overal, but I did find that the story fell flat in multiple places.

Actual Ratings: 2.75
Barb Middleton
Dec 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2012 marked it as flipped-to-the-end  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is what I would like to call a bait and switch. The book jacket promises me a friendship between Princess Violet and Demetrius, and it also promises me a dragon. There are a few chapters in the beginning that show their friendship, but for most of the book the two main characters aren’t speaking. Furthermore, dragon has no significant involvement for at least 330 pages. In fact, we should say that very little happens for

Other items promised on the book jacket:
Iron Hearted Violet is
C.J. Milbrandt
Violet is a princess with a storytelling mentor, a best friend (far below her station), and a wondrous castle to explore. But there are secrets that shouldn't have been uncovered ... and terrible consequences when she listens to the whispers coming from the castle mirrors.

Creation lore and multiple worlds. True stories and twisting lies. Captive dragons and captivating stories. Fears and ensnare and grief that snatches away large portions of happiness. I liked this story better than The Girl Wh
Colona Public Library
Reads like a fairy tale and is nicely layered like The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I feel like this ended a bit abruptly but I enjoyed reading this. Also the narrator to the audiobook did a fine job!

Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the problem was that I read these books in the wrong order. I enjoyed The Girl Who Drank The Moon so much - and then the Witch's Boy was honestly pretty forgettable. This one - there was so much potential, but it was never really fully realised until TGWDTM.
Rachel Joy
A fun fairy tale with unusual, non-traditional heroes.
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Michelle (Crazy Cat Lady)

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
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
A few things...this is not a traditional fairy tale, does not have a traditional princess, and does not have a happily ever after ending. Sweet, bring it on, right? Wrong. All of these things are premises that this story stands on, however the actual story doesn't live up to the premise.

I found the characters annoying, whiny, and selfish. The grass is greener on the other side could have been the subtitle to this book. All the typical stereotypes of fairy tales were used as downfalls, but it was
Jim Sibigtroth
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
An unusual novel-length fairy tale. To begin with, the princess Violet is not a typical princess. She is not at all pretty and she feels unsure of herself because of this. She is also quite clever and she really does pay attention to what is going on around the castle.

Next, the narrator is a rather wimpy storyteller who thinks he is more brave and clever than he really is. Stories and storytelling play a significant part in the book.

There is a dragon, but he is very old and somewhat crippled. He
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first thought: This book was written in 2012, by a woman, and red hair & freckles are still markers for ugliness. As someone who has red hair & freckles, may I kindly say, it's f***ing time to give it a rest!

"It was ok" sums this YA book up. I wouldn't recommend it, but I'm not going to prevent my kids from reading it, either. I'm always on the lookout for great books that feature strong female characters. This wasn't one. Violet, the princess, wasn't the typical damsel in distress, b
Kier Scrivener
"All stories are lies, until someone believes them."
I think this book is completely underrated. I loved that it explored the idea of fairy tales, expectations of beauty and identity without those being cliched. It was beautifully written and the mythology and lore of the world was so in depth and diverse in scope. I adored the humour and the writing style as well. It was all around so beautiful and the villain was creepy and realistic in this sense. I also loved the way stories were interweaven
This one didn't really catch my attention, which I'm sad about because I loved Kelly's other book The Witch's Boy. I also listened to it on audiobook, so it may have been that I kept getting distracted.
It just kind of didn't sit well with me that the main character Violet was called ugly throughout the whole book and got turned into what she thought was a "perfect princess" with long flowing hair and small feet and perfect skin.
I felt like there were tons of things going on and I couldn't keep t
HP Fan
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE this book! It is so well written and has AMAZING characters. Would recommend to everyone!!
3.5 stars.
Abby Turner
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
Great Fantasy. it is actually a bit scary but the characters are good and win out. Great world imagining, as always
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-copy, ya, genre-sf-f, 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.
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Kelly Barnhill is an author and teacher. She won the World Fantasy Award for her novella The Unlicensed Magician, a Parents Choice Gold Award for Iron Hearted Violet, the Charlotte Huck Honor for The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the Andre Norton award, and the PEN/USA literary prize. She was also a McKnight Artist's Fellowship recipient in Children ...more
“There's no such thing as complete when it comes to stories. Stories are infinite. They are as infinite as worlds.” 64 likes
“Stories have a tendency to seep across the shining membrane walls separating the universes. They whisper and flutter like the feathers of birds, from island to mainland and back again. They fall into dreams like rain.” 26 likes
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