Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Kelly Barnhill
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Violet is not your typical fairy-tale princess. She isn’t perfectly beautiful and only has one friend—Demetrius, a commoner. Together they love exploring the castle, sneaking away from responsibilities, and telling stories. While searching through the castle they find a secret book that has been hidden away for centuries. Against Demetrius’s cautions, Violet retrieves the book and awakens an ancient magic that could be the undoing of her entire world. Thankfully, transforming into the picture-perfect princess slows Violet down, and her new slender and weak frame keeps her from its influence long enough for the spell to break. With the help of a scared old dragon, Violet decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and save her people, but the dragon saves her, sacrificing itself instead.
This is a fantastic book. The author puts in much character development with both Violet and Demetrius. In the book is intrigue, deception, miscommunication, and the pressure to fit into a specific mold and try to live up to expectations. The relationship between Demetrius and Violet is believable, not world-shattering, and filled with as much pain as joy. The alternation in point of view from chapter to chapter with Violet and Demetrius works well in the telling of two intertwined stories. That the storyteller in the book is also the narrator makes for a delightful change of view as the reader sees that the narrators are flawed, possibly jading the truth a little. They even admit that they make the story bigger and more fantastical than it is. This books begs the question, how much is true, and how much is exaggeration?