Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
Category: YA/Children's (Category Completed 6/9/09)
Halli who is dark and short is unlike his family, the descendants of the hero Svein, as it is possible to be. The second son of the Arbiter is not expected to do much besides farm a bit of land while his older brother, Lief, will someday become Arbiter and his sister Gudny will make a good marriage. Halli longs for adventures like those of the twelve heroes, but all he seems to do is get in trouble.
A fun, well-told fantasy by the author of the Bartimaeus Trilogy (which I loved). I liked the characters, especially Aud and Halli. The book seems to be a standalone, but I wouldn't say no to a sequel. :-) 4.5 stars.