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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1: Rocannon's World / Planet of Exile / City of Illusions / The Left Hand of Darkness / The Dispossessed / Stories (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 87/1100 pages
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 195/346 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 3/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 236/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
Heroes of the Valley - Jonathan Stroud 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 being a tenant farmer and has a talent for making mischeif and a set of ideals that eventually leads him away from home and into an adventure like and yet unlike those in the tales of the Heroes.

Stroud brings the humour of the Bartimaeus books and the seriousness of The Last Siege together and blends them excellently to give us a sympathetic yet flawed protagonist, whose dialogue is a delight and whose journey is as much about self-discovery as learning the true nature of the society he lives in. The story is unpredictable, with an ending I would never have guessed and is about stories themselves: how legends form and our relationship to them. Excellently realised, thought-provoking and fun.