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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Audiobook Review: Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill

TITLE: Iron Hearted Violet
AUTHOR: Kelly Barnhill 
NARRATOR: Simon Vance
PUBLICATION DATE: January 29, 2013
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 7 hrs and 22 mins
GENRE: Fantasy
ISBN: 9781619696006
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 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.


I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

This book received a nomination for the 2012 Andre Norton Award.

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 with dragons his entire life and keeps detailed notes on all of his findings. He desperately wants to find a way to save the dragons, even though none have been spotted in over a century.

Violet is the only child of King Randall and his beautiful wife, Queen Rose. Despite the Queen having had many pregnancies, she was only able to bring one child to term. Unlike her mother, Violet is not beautiful. Sadly, people speak of her ugliness with no concern as to how their comments will affect Violet. She thinks that she is “not like a real princess,” who should be beautiful with long, luscious hair just as they are in fairy tales. Instead, she has a mass of unruly red curls and two mismatched eyes. The lonely girl makes friends with the stable master’s son, who is the same age as she is. The royal advisers are against Violet making friends with a boy of lower social class, but Violet’s parents do not see the harm. Violet and Demetrius spend their days exploring the castle’s many secret passageways and hidden rooms. They come upon a hidden library with a book that talks about the thirteenth god of the multiverse. This god is never spoken of, and his name is not even known. There have been rumours of his existence, but the elders deny it. Violet and Demetrius have stumbled upon a secret that will change everything if it is revealed.

I enjoyed this tale of magic and mystery, and I am sure that children will become enchanted with it. I like that Barnhill made Violet with less than perfect physical characteristics. I love children’s books that teach a moral lesson, and Violet and the townsfolk learn that beauty is not always what it appears to be.

Simon Vance is always a delight to listen to, and his narration was spot-on! He is a master at the art of storytelling.


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it. A big thanks to AudioGO and Audiobook Jukebox for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as: 

#18 for my 2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#18 for my 2013 Read-a-Latte Challenge
#2 for Task #7 for my 2013 Global Reading Challenge    
#15 for my Monthly Mix-up Mania: 2013 to 2015 Edition     
Letter I for my 2013 A to Z Reading Challenge  
#2 for my 2013 Colorful Reading Challenge
#2 for my 2013 The Color Coded Reading Challenge

#5 for my What An Animal Reading Challenge VI 
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