Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Iron Hearted Violet, by Kelly Barnhill; First Page and Cover Analysis by Matthew MacNish
I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Barnhill when I was in the Twin Cities a few weeks ago. We had true Neopolitan Pizza at Punch in Highland Park, with Steve Brezenoff, Bryan Bliss, Sarah Ahiers, and Hannah Kincaid. Kelly was the only Middle Grade author there.
It was a blast. Unfortunately, like a fool, I did not get a photo.
Anyway, as you may know, I'm a fan of Kelly's work, having reviewed The Mostly True Story of Jack for Project Mayhem before, so I was very excited to jump into IRON HEARTED VIOLET the other day.
The cover is absolutely fabulous, what with the gilded, hand drawn lettering, the ominous gray background elements and the pale moon, and the sharp lines. Did I mention there's a little girl, riding a dragon? I don't see how it could get any better, to be honest.
As for the opening page, well, this is where things really get going for me. You can't necessarily tell this from just the first page (and I don't quite yet know where all this is going, as I'm still reading), but this is one of those fascinating tales in which the narrator is actually a character in the story, and it says some very interesting things about point of view.
That said, what really makes this page shine for me, and what would have still made me buy this book had I simply been browsing, is the strong, undeniable sense of character. I cared about Violet the instant I met her, and as the narrator says, it all begins with a story, and Violet's story was not one I'd have been willing to miss.
For what it's worth, the line that ends that paragraph, which didn't quite fit on the first page, is "...wanting. She was the type of child whom a person wanted to impress."
I mean couldn't you just die? Is there anything you wouldn't do for this girl? Not I. I must know how her story ends.
As a bonus, here's a bad photo of the map (I couldn't find it on the internet):
Maps make everything better.