Henry (Jared Gilmore) and Violet (Olivia Steele Falconer) visiting New York in the Once Upon a Time episode "Only You."

Book Review: ‘Henry and Violet’ by Michelle Zink

Once Upon a Time’s latest companion novel, Henry and Violet, saw a May 8, 2018, release last month and it continues the trend of filling in gaps in the show’s lore.

Henry and Violet cover courtesy of Barnes and Noble.

Once Upon a Time returned with its seventh and final season last fall, but its return came with a rather large time jump. When we leave the titular Henry in season six, he is young and dating Violet, but when we return he is an adult in love with another woman: Cinderella. The seventh season premiere opens with a flashback to Henry leaving home after graduating high school:

But how does his relationship play out with Violet, and why does he decide to leave? That’s where Zink’s novel comes in. With Violet’s name only being mentioned a single time in season seven, hardcore fans often questioned her absence.

However, this middle grade novel provides much needed answers. Rather than being an action packed adventure, Henry and Violet takes a psychological look into the teenagers’ minds – especially Violet’s. Her father was from our world – which the book calls the Land Without Stories and the series calls the Land Without Magic – but ultimately found himself in Camelot. He returns to our land with the rest of Camelot’s citizens during Emma’s Dark Curse in the fifth season.

Because of this, her father, Sir Hank Morgan, has been forced to transition to a new lifestyle twice, and Violet has been forced to become acclimated to our world, and high school, as a thirteen year old. She was trapped at Camelot court in Fairy Tale Land and then in small Storybrooke after being brought to our world. When would she be able to explore and discover who she is as a person?

That is precisely the direction the novel takes. As a fan of Once Upon a Time it is wonderful to see the likes of Emma Swan, Mary Margaret, Killian Jones, and Isaac Heller again, but it’s even nicer to see the psychological insights into Henry and Violet. The novel’s plot is extremely straightforward and linear, but this simplicity allows the psychology of it all to shine.

On an adventure to New York City, Violet learns that she needs to leave Storybrooke to find her independence, and a similar resolution dawns on Henry. This, combined with his family all having fairy tale stories, instills in him the passion to find his own fairy tale adventure – hence why he leaves Storybrooke and marries Cinderella.

The story ultimately does end with the duo breaking up, which is no real spoiler considering where the continuity goes after the book ends. The two remain amicable toward each other and finish their trip to New York as friends.

Ultimately, this is a nice middle grade book. To someone unfamiliar to the series it might come off as slow (with no fault to the author, who does an amazing job working with a pre-established canon), but with the context of the show the book becomes this wonderful piece of insight into the minds of characters we already know and love. The dialogue used in the book even sounds like dialogue that would be spoken on the series. You can tell serious love and thought was put into Zink’s writing.

With the series over, if you’re looking for once last piece to the Once Upon a Time puzzle, this book is for you. The book can be purchased on Amazon here, and author Michelle Zink can be found on Twitter here.

Are you loving these companion novels as much as we are? As always, comment below and tweet us @Fuzzable with your love for all things Henry and Violet!

Written by Preston Smith

capricorn, coffee addict, cat owner

twitter & instagram: @psm_writes


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