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Heroes of the Valley

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  5,166 ratings  ·  695 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 483 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Disney-Hyperion (first published 2009)
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Book Power I would say tween to teen.
I read it to my children as a bedtime story when they were under 10, it was a bit too early.
Stroud is very good at scary ima…more
I would say tween to teen.
I read it to my children as a bedtime story when they were under 10, it was a bit too early.
Stroud is very good at scary imagery, something he made the most of for the Lockwood and Co. series.
While most of the book deals only with creepy rumors and hints, when it does get scary it's pretty terrifying.

Sorry you had to wait so long for a reply!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  5,166 ratings  ·  695 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
I read Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy and liked it pretty well, the writing and the originality of the book (especially the ending) impressed me. THIS BOOK I think I can sum up (at least in my humble opinion) in 3 words... "OH GOOD GRIEF".

Now I am tempted to let my one star rating and those three words sum up my feelings here and move on. I see many enjoyed this book (actually, predictably I think). I didn't, so to be fair to those who would like more detail let me add another phrase, seven words t
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jonathan Stroud simply is not a fan of innocent protagonists as pure as the newly driven snow. He has little patience for innocents as main characters. No time for guys like Harry Potter or Frodo, who find themselves thrust into dangerous situations that were not of their own making. Give Stroud a nicely corrupt kid or a wildly headstrong hero any day of the week. Having burst upon the juvenile writing scene with his breathtaking Bartimaeus trilogy, Stroud now scales himself back a little with a ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Heroes of the Valley turned out to be a good book to listen on audio. At first I wasn't sure how much I'd like it, but I ended up enjoying it immensely.

Halli is a roguish, endearing young hero who wrapped himself around my heart. Although he was quite a prankster, he was a good kid at heart. He didn't really get a chance to shine until he broke free from the mold of his family and their expectations for him. This took him on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment about his world. Everyone
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Stroud's best book.

This a fantasy set in an isolated valley above a fjord where farming and feuding are the primary occupations. The culture is based on what can be found in Icelandic sagas, complete with a heavy emphasis on legal disputes. The protagonist, a boy with a quick wit and a way with words, is fascinated by the legends of the Heroes who settled the valley and made it safe from the monsters that lived underground and preyed on the new-comers. He hopes for a more exciting life than bein
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked it though it wasn't that good in the beginning and was boring sometimes. overall though, it wasn't bad. ...more
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
So, halfway through this book I wasn't really sure I was enjoying it all that much. I could admit that it was probably a good book, but I was annoyed that it was so departed from the Bartimaeus trilogy, which I LOVED. Mostly, I think I was annoyed that it just wasn't funny. It wasn't supposed to be funny, but I wanted it to be.

The other problem was that I was having a hard time cheering for a main character that I didn't really like or relate to in any way, a foolish young boy who derides respon
Oct 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
What a great read! Spanning the edges of several different genres, Heroes of the Valley is so delightfully Stroud-esque that I couldn't put it down.

Halli Sveinsson lives in a valley founded by 12 Heroes long ago, who fought the vicious Trows for mastery of the land. Now 17 generations later, Halli questions the Hero stories he grew up with, and seeks to know the truth. Through a strong friendship, revenge, and many adventures involving courage, quick thinking (and as always with Stroud, a lot of
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short comment, 'cause I feel lazy tonight.

1) Lys <3 (as always :3)
2) My jaw is still literally on the floor because...THAT ending. I reached the end and when the plot twist was revealed I felt so stupid. I didn't expect that at all, Stroud, you evil genius.
3) Halli you TONTO.
4) This was so different from Bartimeus (read it if you haven't, people). I liked it less than Barty (because Bartimeus' ending still makes me want to go in a corner and cry like ther's no tomorrow) but more than Lockwood &c
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really, really like Stroud’s protagonists. They’re not like the others. In other YA fantasy series we have heroes like Harry(Potter) and Percy(Jackson) who are hardly responsible for the situations they get into. They are ordinary, unambitious guys who were thrown into adventure by fate. They did not wish to be famous or save the world but when the need arose they rose to the challenge. Harry survived the killing curse because of his mother and Percy got into scrapes because of who his dad was ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Well written, but somewhat unsatisfying.

One thing I always look for in a young adult book is what ideology the author is presenting to the intended young reader. This book is a cleverly written story of the progression of a restless young boy into a responsible, if adventurous, young man. The author belittles violence borne of pride and considers self-sacrifice and self-defense (even deadly) as noble and honorable. This book (similar to the Bartiemeus trilogy) certainly encourages questioning t
Mary-Jean Harris
This was an amazing book, with very likeable characters (despite their numerous faults!) and interesting events. It was written beautifully and had many elements of an old tale being told, the simultaneous legend of the "heroes of the valley" at the beginning of each chapter, and to a lesser extent, the story itself. I found the beginning a bit jumbled, since you weren't really sure who the story was about. But once it got started, I liked it more and more. The main character, Halli, seemed too ...more
Katharina Gerlach
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Nothing like Stroud's other books but just as good.

This book reads more like a historical novel set in a time where people lived rather isolated lives for there's fairly little magic involved. The mythology of the people in this tale resembles stories told about Vikings but there are no direct clues that indicate the author really meant to create vikings. I'd rather like to think that they live in their own world, a world where wisps of magic are still lingering.

The story develops slowly, focusi
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Halli lives in a valley founded by 12 Heroes long ago who fought monsters, called Trows, for mastery of the land. As the second son in his family, he’s a bit of a prankster, seeking attention from a village that would rather see him remain quiet and out of the way than have fun. But when his uncle is murdered by the arbiter of another house, Halli embarks on a quest, seeking revenge for his fallen kin. Along the way he begins to question his family’s history, the legends of the Trows, and his fe ...more
Abhishek Dafria
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you see your tale’s hero? Tall, handsome, a knight in shining armour, the one with the brains and the brawn to make things right. If you are interested in the typical heroes, then do not pick up a Jonathan Stroud book. But if you need something new, something different from the others, if you are willing to bear a protagonist who has a better chance of burning himself than achieving any of his goals, then you may very look forward to a Jonathan Stroud adventure. After having completed the ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-reads
A younger son, Halli Sveinsson rebels against his parents' and village's expectations through a series of endless (mostly harmless) pranks and escapades. But when his beloved uncle is murdered by a rival house, Halli sets out to avenge his uncle, a quest that will have startling repercussions for all of the residents of the valley.

I love Jonathan Stroud's books. He's the king of the snark, and he doesn't disappoint in this one. Halli has turned insult into an art. The dialogue brought tears of l
Ryan Mishap
Mar 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Bartemius Trilogy was a very complex young adult series--morally, in plot, and in theme--and it is good to see Stroud sticking to high standards. While this novel is aimed at maybe a slightly younger audience than the trilogy, it has enough exploration of "gray areas" to be a worthy successor.
In an isolated valley--between mountains and descending to the sea--are twelve houses named for each of the twelve ancient heroes who settled the valley and drove off the Trows--vicious underground cr
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I didn't hate this book and certainly it wasn't a badly written one but I couldn't connect with it either. I may come back and revisit the story so I could write a more proper review. But at this point I just felt that the plot was so disjointed that I had a hard time getting into it. By the time I managed to find a comfortable place to sit in the story, it was over very quickly not long afterwards. I may have picked the wrong Jonathan Stroud book to familiarize myself with his writing; I should ...more
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What makes a hero? Halli is certainly an unlikely candidate - stocky, unattractive, and decidedly non-altruistic, he spends his days fighting with his family and creating general mischief. Growing up in the shadow of the Svein, the greatest hero of the valley, is no easy task. Halli yearns deep down for the dangerous days of the heroes of yore, when fearsome Trows terrorized the land and laws were meted out with a firm fist. When his uncle is murdered by the family of a rival house, he strikes o ...more
Tom Metge
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an unusual book, with the plot driven less by action than by character building and introspection. This may be the reason why I liked it so much: I tend to enjoy the exploration of the personalities at least as much as the story itself. Take this as both a recommendation and a warning: if you want a fast-paced, action-packed book, this isn't for you. If, however, you love a good character - a realistically flawed and self-aware person - as much as you like action, read this book.

I would
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Terrific meta-legend, sort-of fantasy, coming-of-age, young adult novel. It's all about what makes a hero - how a legend is born, how it dies, and how a new legend can arise out of its ashes. There's plenty of action and a good dose of humor, but there's also a depth to it that makes it more than it might seem at first. The tone is what you might expect in a classic legend and, perhaps partly because of that, it starts a little slowly, but once you immerse yourself in the author's world, it pick ...more
Alex Jones
The first half of the book was really rather dull, so dull I was tempted not to finish it. The world was (by design) highly uninteresting and the POV character was fairly unintelligent. However, I am glad I persevered. The second half of the book was much better! Halli (the POV character) becomes intelligent and pro-active and suddenly a real plot comes into focus! The ending was genuinely surprising and enjoyable! If you have it lying around your bookshelf like I did you could do worse, but I w ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourite
This book is very entertaining with cuteness, innocence, sadness, struggle and romantic story of Halli and Aud. An adventure with stories of eye-opening. Sign to my favorite list :D
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
not really exciting ..
Wai Kok
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan Stroud is no longer as popular as he used to be, but he remains one of the few automatic-buy authors for me—if he has a new book or series out, I am on it like shit on fly—even though one would say I should have outgrown him long ago. There are still turns of phrases and words from his books that I still use in conversation to this day (e.g. "unmentionables" to refer to one's privates). When I saw a remaindered copy of Heroes of the Valley at a book sale, I bought it without any hesitat ...more
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
“They’re only stories,” he would say, “What do stories matter?” But he wasn’t stupid. He knew as well as Myrddin that in the end stories are all that matter.
--Here Lies Arthur

“The heroes, the Trows--the stories that bind us, Halli. The stories we live by, that dictate what we do and where we go. The stories that give us our names, our identities, the places we belong, the people we hate.”
--Heroes of the Valley

Story seems to be the theme of my reading lately (see here for more), and these two boo
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeremy Jackson
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jonathan Stroud always spins a good tale. This is a standalone coming of age story, its tone and the culture of its world harkening to the Norse sagas.

We follow Hanni, a second son of one of twelve noble houses in an isolated valley, all of whom worship their twelve "hero" Founders. Hanni, in turns, reveres and becomes disillusioned with his heritage as he embarks on a quest to redeem the honor of his House. Undergirding his quest is the rumor of the lurking Trow, a race of demons who live "bey
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Ricker
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My mouse hovered between four and five stars for a long time. I LOVED this book! But I'm not totally sure if I loved it because it was great, or because it just so happened to tick all the check boxes for Things Stephanie Loves with Inordinate Passion:

--Icelandic saga-inspired setting (!!!!)
--A spunky heroine who is also realistic (not a world-class swordswoman the first time she picks up a sword, for example)
--A hero who is, in fact, NOT handsome
--Witty, funny dialogue
--Frame na
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Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and youths.

Stroud grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies

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