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Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley

Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley

Written by Jonathan Stroud

Narrated by Matthew Cody


Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley

Written by Jonathan Stroud

Narrated by Matthew Cody

ratings:
4/5 (12 ratings)
Length:
1 hour
Released:
Jan 25, 2009
ISBN:
9781467664073
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy discusses his new novel with Matthew Cody (author of the upcoming book Powerless) that follows a young shepherd on a hero's quest. Along the way, he encounters highway robbers, terrifying monsters, and the truth about the legends he grew up listening to. Co-presented with Bank Street Bookstore.
Released:
Jan 25, 2009
ISBN:
9781467664073
Format:
Audiobook

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Reviews

What people think about Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley

4.1
12 ratings / 11 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Jonathan StroudHeroes of the Valley Halli Sveinsson is a small and young boy who takes interest in trows, or monsters. When told that the stories he were told were false, he sets out to prove everyone wrong. He meets Aud Arnsdottir who becomes a close friend and helps him through his adventure and helps him discover the truth. The cover is designed to show Aud and Halli with a holographic foil over it to give it an entertaining appearance. People who like dark and interesting stories should read this novel.
  • (4/5)
    I very much enjoyed this book. In style, it reminded me quite a lot of books by Howard Pyle and retellings of Viking legends that I read as a child. However, this book is much more morally and ethically ambiguous. It provides the reader with a lot of food for thought without handing out predigested pap on a platter. For a more contemporary comparison, it also brought to mind Ursula LeGuin's 'Gifts.'
    Long ages ago, the titular valley was settled by a group of legendary heroes. Each founded a House, and over time each house has become an insular community within the larger insular community of the Valley, which no one leaves - ever - for fear of the Trows, whom, legend has it, will attack and curse anyone who crosses the border. The houses squabble amongst themselves and think ill of each other, but are ruled in a civilized manner by a council. However, young Halli Sveinsson harks back to the age of heroes, when brave deeds were done and men still carried swords. All around him can see that his violent streak is bound to get him into trouble. Of course, it does.
    As a protagonist, Halli is a surprisingly not-very-nice person. He's not quite bad - or is he? (His sidekick, Aud, a girl from a neighboring House, is purely delightful as a character, however.) Stroud very much enjoys taking a reader's expectations for this sort of book and turning them on their heads. The 'messages' that one might presume will be delivered, aren't.
    However, in order to appreciate this, the reader needs to have developed those expectations to start with, which is part of why I find this very peculiar that this book is marketed for "10-and-up." I'm not saying that 10-yr-olds shouldn't read this, but I'm sure that at ten, I would have missed a lot of it. It's a lot more subtle and complex than many books I've read that were aimed at 'adults.'
  • (3/5)
    Halli loves to listen to stories of the old days when adventure and heroism was the order of the day rather than farming. He's a younger son and short and he's searching for a purpose in life and not finding it easy. Along with Aud the two of them discover more about the valley and the legends than they thought was possible. Not my favourite read by this author.I loved the Bartimaeus trilogy but this one didn't grasp me as well. It came across as being a bit bitty and I found it quite hard to keep reading. It wasn't a bad story but I didn't enjoy it as much as previous books.
  • (3/5)
    This young adult fantasy adventure explores the tyranny the past can exercise over the present through tradition and social convention. The story is set in a valley of villages, each led by a hereditary chief, and dominated by their shared Norse-ish culture. Between the cultivated regions of the valley and the surrounding mountain ridges, a line of burial mounds houses the corpses of past heroes whose vigilance keeps evil monsters at bay. The feel of the book is (intentionally) claustrophobic, which, since it's a coming of age story, may resonate for teens feeling out of step with family or school. Although told in the third person, the narration hews closely to the perspective of the main character, Halli -- so closely, in fact, that the rare shift to a truly third person omniscient view of Halli is jarring. Just as a matter of personal taste, I found Halli's relationship with kindred-spirit Aud annoying -- too much bickering, and not enough genuine affection. The arc of the main character's growth has a distinctly Gen-X sensibility. Halli starts callow, having absorbed years of stories -- which sound like tall tales, except that everyone takes them as gospel truth -- about honor and manly violence. His experiences deepen and disillusion him, so that by the end of the book, Halli acts out of a combination of resignation and anger, and above all, renunciation. It's a different tone than the fantasy coming of age stories I recall reading as a kid, like Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, where the proof of maturation is the ability to give of oneself to support love and community.
  • (4/5)
    well writen book about heroes, and an old world full of legends and fearfull monsters. Little slow at the beginning but it gets good later.It`s different from the Bartimaeus Trilogy, but I also enjoyed it. It`s probably written for teenager.
  • (5/5)
    Short, bandy-legged, dark and stubborn, Halli Sveinsson may not look much like the rest of his family, but he was weaned on tales of his heroic ancestor, founder of the valley and ridder of the trows, Svein. Unfortunately, a love of the heroic tales and a dislike for serious work have made Halli something of a trickster. But one prank to many played on someone important lands Halli in serious hot water - and changes to course of his life and his families forever.I'm not sure what I was expecting, but Halli's story was a pleasant surprise. Not only didn't it go where I thought it would, but I enjoyed the trip. Aud's a riot, and Halli's quite a character. It may be 500 pages, but it read much more quickly than its length would suggest.
  • (4/5)
    Hallie is a wonderfully flawed character who grows significantly in the course of the book, even though he lives in a world where people never act on curiosity, never take risks. With a sense of humor and incredibly well-developed characters, this book treats on the myths that guide our lives and decisions, and how they may or may not be serving us.
  • (5/5)
    Halli is dark and short, as unlike his family, the descendants of the hero Svein, as it is possible to be. The second son of the Arbiter is not expected to do much besides farm a bit of land while his older brother, Lief, will someday become Arbiter and his sister Gudny will make a good marriage. But Halli longs for adventures like those of the twelve heroes, maybe fighting off some Trows. All he seems capable of, however, is mischief and getting into trouble.Each chapter begins with a story about Svein, one of the twelve heroes and founders of the valley. The interplay between fact and fiction in legend, and how stories dictated what the people of the valley did was a really fun part of this story. I enjoyed getting to know Halli, and was sorry when his story ended.
  • (4/5)
    This book was a tad slow going to start with. I thought it might be the first book by this author that I would not like, but by page 60 I was thoroughly enjoying it again and it went from strength to strength.The hero of the story is Halli, a 15 year old boy in - presumably- a kind of alternate universe middle ages nordic fjord (Sweden perhaps). Halli has very short legs and is not comely, but he is born with wit and a mischievous streak that makes him an entertaining character, even if he makes an unlikely hero of legend. But through a series of circumstances he is thrust to the fore when a rival house in the valley reneges on an ancient treaty of non violence.Written with all the author's trade mark wit, and a good deal of passion, this book is a very good and enjoyable read. If it were not for the slow start I would give it 5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    marvellouss book lovin it so far will finish soon check back soon for my over all verdict
  • (3/5)
    I have had this book for quite a while and was looking forward to finally getting to read this one. I was a big fan of Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy and an even bigger fan of his Lockwood and Co series (one of my favorite series of the last few years). Given that, I was excited to read a stand alone novel by him. This novel ended up being...disappointing. I read the first hundred pages and not a lot happened.The writing style is well done, in keeping with Stroud’s other work. However the story lagged and nothing much happened. It starts out pretty promising. I liked the mythology and history of the Valley. I even like our anti hero Halli who is a trickster and a trouble-maker. The book has a very old Norse mythology feel to it.My big issue was with the pace of the story. It was just so slow and flat out boring. I thought things were picking up pace when Halli is forced to watch some sheep and one of them is mysterious torn to pieces...then just nothing. There is a Gathering Halli is forced to skip because of his shenanigans and he doesn’t really do much about his punishment. He causes a little trouble but mostly the story just kind of stops as we deal with all these different clans and their politics.In the end I kept falling asleep while I read this and decided it was time to stop. I found myself re-reading pages after my mind had wandered onto something else. This story was just not engaging or well paced.Overall parts of this book were okay but the majority was pretty slow and boring. I only read the first 100 pages but I struggled with staying awake during those first 100 pages and decided to throw in the towel after that. Not recommended; I would highly recommend reading Stroud’s Lockwood and Co series though...that series is absolutely spectacular!