Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Halli Sveisson is a member of the House of Svein, one of the twelve ruling houses in the valley each named for a long-dead hero. He’s at a tough age right now (14) because he’s too old to play with the children of his family’s land and too young to do ‘manly’ things; it doesn’t help that he’s very short, either. During the yearly Gathering, Halli witnesses an arbiter from another house kill his uncle before leaving. Vowing revenge, Halli leaves his house and travels the valley after the evil Hord Hkonsson and his brother Olaf.
Part of the life of those who live in the valley is the sharing of stories about the heroes. The most notable stories are those that describe the twelve original heroes’ battles with the Trows (vicious beasts who live up on the hills beyond the family cairns ). Aud, a girl he meets first at the Gathering and again later on, disbelieves these stories and, as Halli spends more time with her, he grows more skeptical of them himself. However, when Halli and Aud find themselves up on the hill in the dark, they begin to think otherwise.
This is a fantastic book! It has everything a good book should have; action, adventure, fantastical elements, snarky humor, and great main characters. Suggest this to both boys and girls looking for
a great tale of bravery in the face of thieves, warriors, and monsters.
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