Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Heroes of the Valley

A Book Review by Magdalen Aithne Arkwright

I think the theme of this book - written by Jonathan Stroud - had something to do with taking responsibility and maybe the true meaning of honor.  Rick Riordan's comment of the book describes the setting as "an alluring Viking world".  I'm not sure how he got the impression that it was a "Viking world", but perhaps that was the closest comparison he could find.  It certainly holds some of the, say, "uncivilized" ways of life that a Viking colony might live, but I was unaware that Vikings had castles.

Overall, I was not impressed with the book.  Although Stroud's writing style was commendable, the rest of the novel does not deem notable mention.  I will say that the plot was... well, somewhat confusing.  A reader may find it easy to follow, but exactly why the Trows were attacking people before Svein died is beyond me.  Furthermore, it was rather gruesome to think of characters you knew fairly well getting torn to pieces by the the Trows.  It wasn't right for Halli to maliciously lead his enemies into the valley with the intent that they get torn to pieces by the Trows, especially when the battle was his fault.  And Stroud's depiction of the dead spirits apparently remaining and eternally "sleeping" in their graves is rather pessimistic and discouraging.  Stroud demonstrated a mastery of English vocabulary, grammar, and storytelling, but not of moral principles or of writing an alluring story.

I consider it good, but not excellent, and I rate it for teens only.


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