Reviews for Iron Hearted Violet, by Kelly Barnhill, Iacopo Bruno

Joriekae's review
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3.0

This book was good for what it is: a children's book. I enjoyed the story as I read it, but I didn't get very connected to the characters. There wasn't anything I disliked about the book, but it didn't set itself apart for me.

MissSophieReads's review
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3.0

This was a good, solid middlegrade book. It follows Violet who is a rather plain princess in a country set in a world with a mirrored sky. Stories are very important there, as is the art of story telling. But there is one story that is forbidden and it is about the Nybbas, and Violet, curious and reckless, wants to find out more about it.
The narrator of the book is Cassius, the castle's story teller, so parts of it are from first point of view but in a lot of places it reads like an omnicient narrator. This was probably intended to make the story feel like it's not a novel but a story told to you which kind of worked but felt a bit weird at times, especially the parts written in first person. Cassius is a character in the story but you don't really find out much about him and his story arch feels like it was stuffed in the margins. Because you don't know much about him you can't really fathom his decisions which got a bit on my nerve.
I did like the family bond and the lore and the message that you don't have to be beautiful to be a princess, that beauty in itself isn't a defining factor which I think is something girls of the intended age group should definately hear.
I liked the epic dimensions of the story, how the situation gradually evolves into a war that demands certain sacrifices. The ending was a bit too abrupt for me, but overall I still thought it was a good story.

spaceyfaerie's review
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4.0

This is a fast-paced, intriguing story of magic and myths, set in a gloriously unique world where the sky is a mirror and castles are alive. I absolutely loved it and after I started this book, I just couldn't put it down. It's most definitely middle-grade content wise, but the themes and writing will capture the attention of anyone who loves imaginative, well-written stories.

bookbrig's review
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4.0

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 about being a girl that people love (a smart girl, a funny girl, an adventurous girl) even as they acknowledge that she's not pretty or beautiful (and probably won't ever be). It's a story about what happens to a girl who thinks that when things go wrong it's because she doesn't look the way she's supposed to.

This might be a middle grade book, but this part of the story absolutely tore me apart. I couldn't help but compare Violet's story to contemporary girls confronted with a host of media telling them that if they lose that 10 pounds, dye their hair the right color, wear the right outfit, etc. etc. etc. their life will be perfect. The idea that your appearance will affect your happiness is so huge, and it's pushed so hard at girls. This book hit all the right notes for me on this issue. It explores stress, grieving, and growing and how appearance, and your perception of your own appearance, play into all those issues. Also, it's an adventure about dragons and gods and kingdoms.

It may start a little bit slow, but this book is absolutely worth the read.

Silelda's review
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4.0

Princes Violet is an only child, and not a pretty one at that. Rather she is incredibly intelligent and strong-willed and, as a result, well loved by her family and her people. Unfortunately there is an evil in the castle that plans on using her to get free by using the stories she loves so much against her. When her father leaves her and her mother behind to capture the last known dragon, everything goes downhill quickly and Princess Violet listens to the darkness' advice.

This is a middle-grade book that I picked up from a used-book store. It's definitely a book that I wish I'd had when I was younger. It's got plenty of tropes in it, yes, but I still found it quite enjoyable. I loved the fact that the evil talked to people through mirrors and played on their vanity and insecurities. I enjoyed the fact that the gods themselves admitted that they weren't perfect. Most importantly, though, I loved the fact that when Violet gets turned into what she considers the physical embodiment of "a true princess" she realizes how physically impossible it is to do anything! Floor length hair is incredibly heavy. Tiny feet make it difficult to balance. Dainty figures get tired out easily. The book continuously affirms that a true princess doesn't have to be beautiful of figure, but beautiful of heart and I commend it for that. Like I said, I wish I'd had this when I was a kid.

linneahedvig's review
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4.0

This was a completely fun book full of mysteries and dragons and confrontations with ancient evil. I enjoyed it, but it still felt like work to get through it. Not sure if it was the book or me, so I'm just giving it 4 stars cause that's what it looks like on paper.

Reader_Fictions's review
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It took me a month and a half to get through Iron Hearted Violet, not because it's a bad book, but because it's not the right sort of book for me. I'd recommend this fantasy to readers who enjoy a high concept and unique storytelling. The characterization was on the weaker side, however, so I never fully invested, despite admiring the world building and writing.

One other note: it bothered me that the illustrations (which are lovely) depict Violet, who is described as ugly or, at best, plain, as this absolutely gorgeous, perfect girl. I expected the illustrations to add to the story for me, but they ended up detracting and adding to my feeling that the character development was insufficient.

EJ Derwood's review
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3.0

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.

Giselle Bradley's review
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2.0

DNF'd 20%

Simsbrarian's review
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4.0

A very good story but it felt a bit needlessly convoluted in places.

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