Heroes of the Valley review

heroes-of-the-valley Without the recognizable name of Jonathan Stroud one might overlook Heroes of the Valley.  The title and the cover are not especially engaging, which belies the story within.  This is The Sagas of Icelanders written for young readers looking to escape the confines of typical hero stories, much like the main character.  Halli Sveinsson belongs to the House of Svein and believes all of the legends of that great hero, which makes his life as a second son all the more mundane.  Halli yearns to be a hero like Svein but doesn’t know where to begin, as the peaceful rule of law in the valley has rendered swords obsolete.  In true Norse fashion, Halli occupies his time with pranks instead.  When one of his pranks goes terribly awry Halli gets the chance to learn the truth behind the legends and what it means to be a hero.  The ho-hum title also takes on more meaning as Halli uncovers the history behind the legends.  Readers familiar with Stroud know to expect the unexpected and will still be caught off guard by the hazard Halli braves and the revelation that results!

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