• Heroes of the Valley

  • By: Jonathan Stroud
  • Narrated by: David Thorn
  • Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-27-09
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Listening Library
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.6 (131 ratings)

Regular price: $35.93

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Publisher's Summary

Halli Sveinsson has grown up in the House of Svein, listening to the legends of the heroes as all his forefathers did. His is a peaceful society where the violence of the past has been outlawed and disputes are settled by the Council. But young Halli has never quite seemed to fit in with the others. For starters, he was not at all handsome or tall, like his attractive blond siblings. He's stumpy and swarthy, with a quick mind and aptitude for getting in trouble. Bored with the everyday chores and sheep herding, he can't help himself from playing practical jokes on everyone, from Eyjolf the old servant, to his brother and sister. But when he plays a trick on Ragnor of the House of Hakonsson, he goes too far, setting in motion a chain of events that will forever alter his destiny.
Because of it, Halli will have to leave home and go on a hero's quest. Along the way, he will encounter highway robbers, terrifying monsters, and a girl who may finally be his match. In the end, he will discover the truth about the legends, his family, and himself. Jonathan Stroud's new work is a hero's saga and coming-of-age, as well as a surprising look at what bravery really means.
©2009 Jonathan Stroud (P)2009 Listening Library
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 01-03-13

She had a voice that loosened earwax.

He secreted himself, Your apology is threadbare and She had a voice that loosened earwax are just a small example of the creative language used in this story. I found myself listening just to hear how things where described. JS is a master of the English language.

The book starts out with this line, Listen Then, and I'll tell you again of the Battle of the Rock. The book is filled with several of these stories and the main story is a story being told to children. The book started with the promise of being about Heroes fighting what I thought they said was Trolls. The hard copy spells it Trows. It ended up being mostly a story about a coming of age Prince? who wants to be a hero, only he is very short and squat. He is not exactly hero looking or princely looking. With out giving the story away, let me say this does not stop him or slow him down.

I liked the character development, the main story, the humor and the vocabulary. In the middle it did get a little boring and there was not as much exploring out of the valley as I would have liked, but I found I did enjoy the book has a whole very much. Not quite enough to give it a fifth star, but enough to want to read more Jonathan Stroud. There is also a strong female character in the book, sometimes stronger then the hero.

This is supposed to be a young adult, but that is only because it does not have sex in it. I believe because of how well it is written that adults will like it more then kids.

Narrator does an excellent job.

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18 of 18 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jefferson on 01-16-11

To Emulate or Escape from (Swinish) Heroes--

This is an entertaining, fresh take on the pseudo-Icelandic saga fantasy genre, filled with believable and very human characters (even the "villains"), unexpected plot developments, suspenseful and yet funny scenes, and a well-realized world. Author Stroud deftly adapts that genre to the young adult market, depicting an appealing young underdog protagonist struggling to find his place in his world: short, stubby, swarthy, homely, brave, clever, resourceful, and witty Halli. The relationship between Halli and his girl friend Aud is wonderful, for they are well-matched and feisty with and loyal to each other. Aud is a great female character: independent-minded and at least as intelligent, spunky, and humorous as Halli. The interplay between the scary, comical, and imaginative heroic legends that begin each chapter and the real world heroism that Halli must learn and attempt is fascinating. I listened to the book with a delicious sense of not knowing what would happen next but being sure that whatever did happen would be interesting and just right. There is at one point, for example, a brilliant showdown featuring a fever, a lost voice, a revelation, and a fight to the death with a poker, crockery and food-stuffs, a pair of skewers, a fireplace, and tapestries that is worth the price of admission alone.

Reader David Thorn is perfect, reading the story with a rich, dry, almost tongue in cheek tone that makes it feel as if a favorite uncle were telling you exciting legends by the fireplace. All in all a pleasurable and rewarding audiobook.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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