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Archive Book Review: Iron Hearted Violet

Iron Hearted Violet


Archive Book Review: Iron Hearted Violet

I loved the concept, and the cover art was lovely

Book Review Date: March 25th, 2013

Written by: Kelly Barnhill

Cover Copy

In most fairy tales, princesses are beautiful, dragons are terrifying, and stories are harmless. This isn’t most fairytales.

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.

Iron Hearted Violet


I wanted something lighter after the dark story I read last, so I of course went to the section of my “to-read” shelf where all my younger reader stories are. I will tell you, though I read this one slowly for me {seems like I never have enough time these days} I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the concept, and the cover art was lovely. The illustrations done inside were also nice. I think my favorite thing I took away from this book was that no matter how flawed we feel, no matter how many things we find “wrong” about us, if we change those things, we aren’t really us.

No one in the book fails to notice that Violet has mismatched eyes and a pug nose and a crooked face. Especially Violet herself. She isn’t beautiful. Everyone says so. But by the end of the story, you want her just the way she is. And that is what makes her beautiful. I think that’s a good message. I love that the story was written in such a way that it makes the reader root for that. And hey, it makes me sit back and rethink some of my “flaws” {that stupid top lip} and think, if I changed that, it might seem prettier to me, but it wouldn’t really be me and something of me would be lost. That, along with many others in the book, is a really good message to take away.

Iron Hearted Violet

First Line

The end of my world began with a story.

Favorite Lines 

  • Even in the Great Hall, where there were abundant fires and bodies to cheer us, our breath clouded about our mouths and hung like ghosts, before wisping away.
  • They knew this, and the knowing was heavy and sharp at the same time.
  • [He] tried not to think about it, in hopes that by intending not to think about it, he actually wouldn’t.
  • Most battles are won by changing minds and turning hearts. Sometimes that’s all the bravery you need.
  • Each absence felt palpable and crushing. A terrible weight. A gift gone wrong.
  • But we must try. Even when hope is lost, we must still try.
  • Pray, pray, pray … And hope without ceasing.
  • I should have known that every secret has a sting.
  • A strange simultaneity setting a disturbance in my soul.
  • It was a very brave and very stupid thing to do.
  • 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.
  • Do not ask what you do not care to know.
  • Her skin tingled, and her stomach flipped. Her heart urged her to turn, to stop her ears, to run away. But she resisted. After all this time wondering, she had to know.
  • A moment later, from that harsh, tight silence erupted an anguished cry — the sound of loss, and grief, and love broken to pieces.
  • What kind of power can a story gain when people forbid its telling?
  • And we all had to resume our lives, all cognizant of a loss, a gap, something that should be there but wasn’t.
  • I certainly remember it, but memory is tricky business, after all. Memory invents itself.
  • There is no gain without loss, child.
  • He would, [he] told himself firmly, keep his voice steady and his eyes dry.
  • [He] worked hard, avoided sleep when he could, and tried to prevent himself from thinking. Thinking, he discovered, was dangerous and led to fruitless worry that did nothing but fill him with a sense of impotent rage and despair.
  • Indeed, my dears, why? It was a question that I myself was troubled with, and if it had not been for the necessities of our respective circumstances, perhaps [we] would have been able — but no. No. The damage was done.
  • [He] shook his head, but instead of clarity, he only felt the lack of sleep and the worry and the fear rattling around his head.
  • I am not interested … in the looks of things. I am far more interested in the way things are.
  • But I couldn’t bear the weight of knowing.
  • We live … in a world of our own choosing, child. We will insist the world is as we say it should be, until the world convinces us otherwise.
  • My voice was a cold, dead thing, and my heart was a stone.
  • Intelligence does not mean infallibility, nor does it mean immobility. Intelligence means the ability to learn.
  • There is no hope without risk.
  • And, indeed, their hearts — those weak, delicate, breakable things — may be their biggest strength after all.
  • I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave you at all. I tried to leave you — truly I did. But love held me back.

Last Word

  • again

Reader, Author, Bookstagrammer, and Mom; Alexis runs Nerdy Post, a fandom artwork box as well as serves as chief editor and writer on Drop and Give me Nerdy.

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