Book Review: Fairy Tale by Stephen King
Book Review: Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake

Book Review: Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill

Love transforms our fragile cowardly hearts into hearts of stone, hearts of blade, hearts of hardest iron. Because love makes heroes of us all.

Iron hearted violetI stumbled upon Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill one day in early November when I wanted something fun to listen to. It was on an “available now” search in Libby and I thought, well…a Kelly Barnhill story narrated by Jim Dale (who also narrated the Harry Potter audiobooks)?


And I was not disappointed.

The Violet of the title is the only daughter of a king and queen in a lovely kingdom. Violet is not traditionally “princess pretty” but she is smart, curious, adventurous. Her best friend, Demetrius, is not a prince, but he joins her on all of her adventures exploring the castle, which is seemingly limitless in what it contains. One day they are exploring and come upon a room with paintings of dragons—long missing from the land—and a book that is clearly something they shouldn’t touch, let alone read. They leave it in the room but it continues to haunt her.

I loved this book like I loved Nettle and Bone (which is a high compliment!): it is clearly a fairy tale but it isn’t a retelling of any one story. The main character is spunky and atypical and uses humor to deflect attention from the wound in her psyche. That ache is the thing that pushes her to go (widely) out of her comfort zone. She discovers people who can love her for who she is. And she becomes a stronger version of herself as the story goes on.

I read a few reviews of this book after I finished, and the negatives always said something about how the illustrations don’t match the descriptions (Violet is cute in the drawings), and that some chapters are very short. Since I listened (and haven’t looked at the print version), I obviously didn’t have that problem.

In fact, maybe because it is based in fairytale tropes, and they are a part of the oral tradition, this is a perfect book to listen to.

And I loved and adored the (good) dragon.


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