Impossibly High Expectations: Jonathan Stroud edition

Early reviews are beginning to pop up for Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley (his first book since Ptolemy's Gate, the conclusion of Bartimaeus Trilogy, came out in 2006), and they're very positive. Here is the Publishers Weekly notice:
"Witty and cinematic storytelling propels Stroud's engrossing novel, set in a medieval world that recalls Norse epics—no gods, but plenty of heroes to go around. Twelve Houses control sections of a valley. Halli Sveinsson—at 15, the youngest child of the rulers of the House of Svein—goes against tradition when he sets out to avenge the death of his murdered uncle, and his actions result in warfare among Houses for the first time in generations. Halli, “a cumbersome stump of a boy,” is a quick-witted, appealing underdog and troublemaker (“Leif needs no sabotage from me,” he quips. “If he manages two sentences without tripping over his trailing knuckles he will have exceeded my expectations”). Smart, funny dialogue and prose, revealing passages about the exploits of the hero Svein, bouts of action and a touch of romance briskly move the story along. Offering more than just a grand adventure (which the tale certainly is), Stroud (the Bartimaeus Trilogy) explores the consequences behind legend-worthy acts of glory and the power and peril of blind faith and hero-worship. Ages 10–up."
Sounds pretty great... but having endured Stroud's idea of "romance" in his last book, I'm not holding my breath for a happily ever after for these characters.
Posted by: Julianka


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