Iron Hearted Violet

By . 6 CDs. 7:22 hrs. Hachette for AudioGo. 2012. ISBN 978-1-61969-592-4. $59.99.
Gr 4–7—Known for his award-winning work with adult titles, Simon Vance takes on the role of Cassian, storyteller of the court, to narrate Barnhill's tale (Little, Brown, 2012). Violet is not a traditional princess—she's not beautiful, graceful, or obedient. She's brash and inquisitive, adventurous and loyal, and also a girl who collects and tells stories. This is how she comes across an obscure reference to a 13th god when everyone, especially Cassian, insists there are only a dozen of them. Vance manages to capture the pathos and humor as a crisis develops when the banished god, Nybbas, tries to take over. The audio broadens otherwise static characters for an entertaining experience with commentary from a sardonic dragon and banter among three ancient beings who sound something like leprechauns from a Monty Python skit. This is a timeless story featuring the conflict between an evil god and a brave, unattractive princess who manages to save the day, but not the kingdom.—Janet Thompson, Chicago Public Library. W. Belmont Branch, IL

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