Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
Younger son Halli of the House of Svein, one of twelve heroes who settled the valley after driving murderous Trows to the hills above, is shorter and swarthier than his parents and siblings. Halli is both more adventurous and mischievous than his older brother, heir to the house, and sister. Confined to the house as punishment for knocking his brother into the dung heap, he resents missing his first Gathering of Houses, especially since his house is hosting the event. Leaving the house secretly and wandering through the orchards, Halli meets Aud Ulfar’s –daughter, of Arne’s house, who has a refreshingly irreverent attitude to stories of heroes, battles and legendary deeds. Halli has an unpleasant encounter with the heir of Hakon’s house, beginning a series of events that lead to the murder of Halli’s uncle. Determined to avenge his uncle’s death, Halli sets off on a quest, eventually returning home with a new appreciation for his family and members of their house. When Aud comes to spend the winter, she and Halli plan to set off on their own adventure, including investigating the mystery of the Trows. Other events delay them, including a surprise attack by Hakon’s house.
Written by the author of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Heroes of the Valley creates a whole world similar to Norse legends, including mythical heroes, villains, supernatural beings and vivid characters.
Reviewed by Ellie Goldstein Erickson
check out more about the author Jonathan Stroud here!