Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Iron Hearted Violet

Iron Hearted Violet

Fall 2012 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Kelly Barnhill
Illustrator: Iacopo Bruno
ISBN: 978-0-316-05673-1
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Violet is an unlikely princess. She likes to mingle with commoners and roughhouse like other kids. With mismatched eyes and tangled hair, she doesn't look like a princess and her resulting identity crisis almost undoes the Kingdom. But Violet is strong and courageous and has a fierce and loyal heart.

Iron Hearted Violet is a classic saga-it's sweeping and adventurous, tragic and heroic. There's a magical castle with secret rooms and mazes of hallways, plus an actual dragon. Cassius, the narrator, is the court storyteller and storytelling itself is a central theme, with a slightly dark twist. It's not often clear where stories end and reality begins, and the line is both blurred and dangerous.

Once upon a time there was one world with thirteen gods, but now there is a multiverse with only twelve. No one, not even Cassius, will speak of the thirteenth god, Nybbas. He is pure evil and he's been locked away for thousands of years, but by preying on human frailty-and, in particular, Violet's insecurities-he could soon be free.

Kelly Barnhill cites Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe as an influence and that should warm the hearts of science-loving parents everywhere. She is an admirer of Greene's alternate universe theory and bases her wonderfully complex thriller on his work.

But you don't need to know that to appreciate the story. The narrative is rich, the plot moves swiftly and the heroes are valiant. Iron Hearted Violet is simply a great read.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

Look for this product at:
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

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