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Brightly Burning (Daw Books Collectors, No. 1150) (Valdemar (Chronological) #7)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  8,514 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Lavan Chitward’s world is turned upside down when his mother is selected as a textile guild representative in the small rural community where he was raised. Moving to the capital city of Haven rips him away from his friends and boyhood pleasures, and nothing in Haven seems to fill that void. Unable to fit into the nouveau riche society, and unwilling to fo ...more
Hardcover, first edition, 406 pages
Published May 2000 by DAW Hardcover (first published January 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tahariel
Jun 18, 2007 Tahariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Shelves: fantasy
I absolutely love this book - it's most definitely my favourite of anything I've read by Mercedes Lackey. Not only are the characters appealing, the plot interesting and the prose devoid of sentimentality (a common pitfall in her books), but it is genuinely moving, and I have reread this quite a few times.

Definitely worth it.
Anna Pearce
Mar 01, 2011 Anna Pearce rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Probably because I've been having a bad month, I've been re-reading books from my youth and trying to determine which, if any, hold up now that I'm much older.

This one didn't hold up at all. Of course, I recall not particularly enjoying it when I first bought it on publication, so I'm not sure what it proves.

The main character of this story is Lavan who, like most Lackey heroes, is a poor misunderstood boy whose family just doesn't understand him. He is abused by someone in authority (in this ca
...more
K
Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar is a brightly drawn, vivid world, perhaps not terribly unique in its particulars, but remarkable enough in terms of its social & magical structures. Unfortunately, at least in the case of Brightly Burning, the world is populated by flat, unlikable, and inconsistent characters. Furthermore, Brightly Burning suffers from a plot that is hastily conceived and poorly executed.

Lavan Chitward's life is suffering. At the start of the book it was a struggle to determine how
...more
Xanblank
Apr 11, 2009 Xanblank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book made me cry.
Catherine
Feb 22, 2011 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this when I was 15 and absolutely adored it.

Read it when I was 25 and still absolutely adored it.

And yes, I cried my eyes out both times, lol.
Diane
I adore this book, it is one of the ones I read at least once a year. Guaranteed to make you cry, I still get choked up at certain points of the story even now. Enjoy!
Bibliotropic
Nov 13, 2012 Bibliotropic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valdemar, fantasy
(Reread in 2016 as a comfort read.)

This one's a reread for me (as were most of the Valdemar books, to be honest), and I mention that so that I can give one of my very first impressions of the protagonist: This is Vanyel 2.0. Both Lavan and Vanyel were very similar characters, not just in circumstance but also in execution. Both came from families where their parents pushed them in unsuitable directions and didn't listen to them regarding multiple instances of bullying and abuse, both became Hera
...more
pH
Sep 17, 2009 pH rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I picked up Mercedes Lackey's 'Brightly Burning' for $1 at my local library, and unfortunately after reading it I can see why they wanted to get rid of it.

The book starts off not magnificently, but interestingly enough, with the main character, Lavan, being sent off to school by his parents. Over a hundred pages cover his experience at school, where he is bullied by older students. Lackey actually deals with this section well enough, even though Lavan isn't a particularly likeable protagonist,
...more
Jeremy Preacher
Dec 26, 2009 Jeremy Preacher rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
In a way, a lot of the Valdemar books are boarding-school books. This is the only one that involves an actual school, though. The first third of the book is as much a bullying-revenge fantasy as anything, although I would very much not recommend it solely for that, as Lavan Firestorm is perhaps the most truly tragic character in a long line of tragic characters of Valdemar.

Beyond the actual arc, it's a charming book filled with Lackey's usual charming supporting cast. There's enough real drama t
...more
hypothermya
Oct 03, 2007 hypothermya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mary-Sue fantasy lovers, those interested in cross-species love
Mercedes Lackey was an author who I first discovered when I was in middle-school, and she wrote about exactly what I wanted to read about when I was that age. As a result, she's become the fantasy equivalent of comfort food. When I'm sick and laying about at home, I want grilled cheese sandwiches and gingerale; when I'm emotionally strung out and need to have an easy, comfortable escape, I read Mercedes Lackey. Sure, grilled cheese and Mercedes Lackey books will never achieve 5-star ratings and ...more
Dixie A.
Sep 04, 2014 Dixie A. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is an emotional story. Many of my favorite Mercedes Lackey stories are; she seems to have a gift with the whole abused teen genre. The bullying I went through was nowhere near as severe as Lavan's, but his struggles still remind me of my own. A little too much really; on subsequent rereads of this book, I tend to skip much of the bullying scenes, finding them too emotional to stand.

In this book, Lavan is a merchant's son who doesn't fit into the family mold. They send him off for schooling,
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 29, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Valdemar Fans
If you've never read Lackey or her Valdemar books, this wouldn't be the place I'd start. The first published is the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy beginning with Arrows of the Queen, and the earliest chronologically, and in my opinion her best, is the Last Herald's Mage series beginning with Magic's Pawn.

Chronologically, this book is set between those two trilogies, and fleshes out a mention of Lavan Firestorm in the first trilogy. The book starts out in a way typical for Lackey's books, with a yo
...more
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
This was truly a sad story for me. Laven Firestorm is a pyro - his ability is scary for many people. He's abused in a crappy school and his natural defenses take over. This catches the eyes of the Heralds. I felt sorrow in this book because we all know the ending to this story isn't going to be happily ever after. There is war and Valdemar is once again on the defense and in trouble. Laven and his chosen are the last hope. The love in this book transcends human love. Soulmates in the true sense. ...more
Amy Bradley
The ending I found really depressing, which makes it hard for me to write a review. I also haven't read anything else in the series.

Lavan is a 15-16 year old boy whose clothmaker father and needleworker mother have recently moved the family into the capital city, Haven. Lavan, or Lan, misses their rural home, and is signed up to attend a school for the children of merchants and guild members. The oldest students, having been put in charge of discipline overstep their bounds into cruelty, extorti
...more
ms bookjunkie
4.5 stars

A compelling and entertaining combination of the ordinary and the extraordinary in a bildungsroman. *bawls eyes out*
Frederick Filice
Saddest of the series.
Elaine
May 14, 2016 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valdemar-books
I liked this book more than I thought I would, since most reviewers didn’t seem to enjoy it. Lackey is on familiar ground here, writing a story about a young person growing up. The story might seem derivative as a result, but I’d rather read a retread of something I know Lackey can do well rather than just about anything else,

I will confess I have never read the entire first section of the book where Lavan is at the school. I skip to the part where he wakes up in the Healers’ Collegium and is Ch
...more
Kelcey
Mar 20, 2015 Kelcey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting departure from the usual Valdemar-verse. The story was set in a time from which there are no other stories so the characters are all "new". It is a stand-alone novel whereas most of the Valdemar books come in trilogies. (The fact that it is one book is a bit of a spoiler even without knowing a thing about the story) The main character not only possesses a very rare Gift, fire starting; it has manifested more strongly than has ever been seen before. There was quite a lot a ...more
Victoria
Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series provides one of the cornerstones of my reading history. After discovering her when quite young, I still follow new additions to the series - nearly twenty years later! I read and re-read these books over and over again throughout my youth, but I haven't re-read this series in its entirety in a long time - and never as an adult. There are some new books added to the series since the last time I read them, so this re-reading project is pretty exciting for me since ...more
TheCosyDragon
Dec 01, 2012 TheCosyDragon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

Lavan is an unremarkable young man who doesn't want to follow in his parents footsteps. Instead, his parents send him off to merchant school to see what can be made of him. Sadly, the bullying at the school is horrific, and poor Lavan can find himself getting angrier and angrier with no outlet. That anger has to find its own outlet somehow.

This n
...more
Skye
Sep 08, 2015 Skye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: easy-reading, fantasy
As usual, Mercedes Lackey managed to seriously surprise me with this story. Similar to The Last Herald Mage trilogy, I knew that Brightly Burning would be a tragic tale – it’s mentioned in some of the other Valdemar books. But, it still hooked me and took me on an amazing journey through Lavan’s short, and sad journey.

I’ve read about homosexual and heterosexual characters, and love triangles until I’ve been blue in the face, but Brightly Burning is the first story that I can remember reading abo
...more
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 Ward Bond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Brightly Burning marks Mercedes Lackey's return to the kingdom of Valdemar, and introduces us to a portion of the otherwise unchronicled reign of King Theran. The book's principle figure is Valdemar's most powerful herald, Laven Firestorm, who comes of age during Valdemar's war with its long-time enemy, the kingdom of Karse.Sixteen-year-old Laven Chitward's world is turned upside down when his mother is selected as a textile guild representative in the small rural community where he was raised.

...more
Chuck
Mar 01, 2010 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm behind on my blogging, so this will be fast.

Sometimes, when you do something the second time, you do it better. This novel is the book that "Magic's Pawn" could have been.

Lavan is a misunderstood child of middle class parents who mean well but don't "get" him. He is suffering soulfully and mightily . . . can anyone say "Vanyel" from Magic's Pawn?

But Lavan is truly picked on, and, when he is pushed to the point where he is about to be killed, maniests the ability to start fires. At this poi
...more
Megan
Feb 10, 2017 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started re-reading most of the Valdemar books, mostly for nostalgia. I forgot just how much I hate Lavan. Pol's POV sections were definitely the highlights of the book. Wish there was more focus on the difficulties with coming to terms of training young people to go off to war instead of on Lavan's self pity about everything.
Stephanie Jobe
Mar 13, 2013 Stephanie Jobe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lavan Chitward comes from a family in the cloth trade, but he has no interest in any of their pursuits. They saw him as lazy and useless. They sent him to school to find a purpose and when things went badly they assumed he was a liar. Lavan’s life will get harder before there is a chance of things getting better. Fire can be useful but it is hard to control.

Lavan as he is early in the book could be anyone. So many people secretly suffer. Even though Lavan seeks out help no one believes him. Even
...more
Kevin
Apr 03, 2013 Kevin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Merceds Lackey and of Valdemar but this book left me cold. I thought that we would get to read the story of one of the legends of Valdemar and that it would be legendary. Unfortunately it wasn't.

Instead we get another misunderstood teenage hero, with another set of parents who have unreasonable demands, the obligatory group of bullies who single out our hero and a Companion that comes to the rescue in the nick of time.

This is a similar story to the other Valdemar novels but wi
...more
Kryss Summers
Sep 16, 2014 Kryss Summers rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bookstorequeer
Apr 06, 2012 Bookstorequeer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
No matter how many times I read this book, it still has the capacity to make me tear up.

As always with Lackey's writing, the characters are relatable, talented (sometimes extremely) but still flawed and real. The pacing is really good in this book, with minor denouement to really pull the reader throughout. It's easy to feel like you're learning and growing right along with the characters (and when I was first reading this book in my teens, I probably was!).

In all, this is one of my favourite La
...more
Jo Oehrlein
When the book began I thought, "Oh, no. Another Valdemar book with an angsty teenage boy." Thankfully, it did get better.

This is very much an anti-bullying book, but there's not much solid advice on what people should have done instead of letting a bunch of bullies run the school.

The LifeBond between Herald and Companion is kind of weird. In many ways, it feels like a way to create the extra plot around Elenor loving Lan but Lan not loving her. It's superfluous to the rest of the story.

I don't
...more
Denise
Jul 22, 2010 Denise rated it liked it
The legendary story of Herald Lavan Firestorm and his beloved Companion, Kalira.

The fantasy world of Valdemar is at war with a powerful enemy--the kingdom of Karse. This kingdom is ruled by religious fanatics who consider the Companions to be white demons and who have vowed to destroy them and all of Valdemar. A young Herald-in-training, Lavan, has been discovered with the very rare (and volatile) gift of Fire-Starting. This ability is linked to his emotions (fear, hate, anger, etc) and must be
...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #1 -- Brightly Burning 1 4 Jan 05, 2016 06:07AM  
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &am ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Valdemar (Chronological) (1 - 10 of 56 books)
  • The Black Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars #1)
  • The White Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars, #2)
  • The Silver Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars, #3)
  • The Last Herald-Mage (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage, #1-3)
  • Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1)
  • Magic's Promise (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #2)
  • Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3)
  • Foundation (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #1)
  • Intrigues (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #2)
  • Changes (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #3)

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“Give your enemy a face, If he is human, do not dehumanize him. Know him and know why he is your enemy. If your enemy is within you, understand what it is and why you are afraid. Put a face on your fear. When you understand it, and it is no longer vague and shapeless, you will find that your fear is no longer so formidable.” 202 likes
“There’s no such thing as `one, true way’; the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself; leave the world better than you found it. Love, freedom, and the chance to do some good — they’re the things worth living and dying for, and if you aren’t willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race.” 31 likes
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