Monday, July 16, 2012

Owner of a Lonely Heart

Expected Publication: October 9th, 2012
Iron Hearted Violet
By: Kelly Barnhill
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9780316056731

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.

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.


   Violet is a beloved princess, the only living child of her parents and they live in a kingdom ruled by tales of the old gods who created their world.  But she isn't the way a princess is supposed to be.  Violet isn't pretty, graceful or cautious.  Violet only has one real friend, Demetrius (the stablemaster's son) and she loves to tell stories about beautiful princesses and evil dragons.  But when her Father goes on a quest to find the last living dragon (not to kill it, but to learn from it) and her Mother becomes sick, she and Demetrius find a book in a hidden room.  Violet thinks the book and the creature trapped in it are the answers to all her problems.  But the Nybbas may not be all that it presents itself to be.  When her very world starts to crumble, only Demetrius and the Dragon will be able to help her stop the Nybbas from taking over the world.  Can they change the story for the better?  This book is from the point of view of the court storyteller which was an interesting departure from  the ususal third-person omniscient or first-person point of views.  At first I was really drawn into the enchantment of the mirrored-world and it's unconventional princess.  I immediately knew what was going to happen when Violet's Father went away and her Mother became ill, and it made me sad.  I loved the fact that Violet was best friends with the stable boy Demetrius.  But the fact that she is so eager to get rid of everything that made her unique and she didn't see anything wrong with it made me angry.  Even by the end of the book I felt like Violet was only sorry that things had gone so wrong, barely understanding that she was perfect the way she was.  I liked the fantasy aspect of the evil god being trapped in the Forbidden Book.  But I felt like the book was overly moralistic and it really began to annoy me by the last 50 pages or so.  The characters were interesting, but I felt like the only ones that were developed enough were Violet and the court storyteller.  The rest of them were slightly two-dimensional.  The plot was intriguing, but I feel like there was too much filler surrounding the main points of action for it to truly shine.  The fact that this book was an ARC and didn't contain the illustrations that will be in the final version also detracted from my enjoyment.  Overall, a good middle-grade, fantasy novel but not really one I would recommend to anyone over thirteen and expect them to fall in love with it.

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. It will be available for purchase on October 9th, 2012.*

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