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Brightly Burning (Valdemar (Chronological))

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  7,254 ratings  ·  133 reviews
His name is Lavan Firestorm, a young man blessed—and cursed—with a special talent for firestarting. His legend has haunted the darkest corners of Valdemar, yet the truth has never been told. Here, at last, is his story.
Paperback, 445 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by DAW (first published May 1st 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 18, 2007 Tahariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
This book made me cry.
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!
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.
Dixie A.
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,
Jeremy Preacher
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 29, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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,
♆ 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
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
Kryss Summers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Jobe
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
Rosemarie  TheCosyDragon
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Ward Bond

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.

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
Loki (of Smartassgard)
I waited for far too long to become addicted to Mercedes Lackey. The first thing I read by this author was “The Black Swan” back in 2000, at the urging of my mother. She thought it wonderful and I agreed, but somehow never got around to reading MORE from this author. I am currently remedying that oversight on my part. :)

Her writing is addictive, nicely paced (there’s a stall here or there, but rare.) and relatable. The characters are full of life and flaws that make them human. I’m hooked.

Oct 03, 2007 hypothermya rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Tamzin Dunn
Had this book on the shelf for a good long while now. Mainly because this is the tale of a legendary hero from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar world and knew that the ending was going to be sad. The Hero Lavan is mentioned a number of times though out the Valdemar series so the outcome will be of no surprise to any of the Author's fans. That being said I found the journey of Lavan an interesting one and enjoyed the story much more than expected.
I would not recommend this as an introduction to the Val
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
Joshua Bogen
In advance of Gencon 2013 (where Mercedes Lackey was the author Guest of Honor), I purchased a hardcover copy of this book from a used bookstore. In fact she autographed my copy. I had read it in under two days, which is *very* quick for me. However, it seemed a re-tread of other stories she has written. The main character is a teenager that no one understands who finds himself becoming a Herald. The same thing happened to Vanyel, and to Talia. I felt like I was re-reading those stories again.
This book has stuck with me my whole life. One of my favorites by Lackey. It's sad, hard, and unfair. But it is beautiful.

Read some other reviews, definitely right regarding not reading this one first. Lackey is an amazing author. If you don't like this one don't let it keep you from the others.
A really wonderful book. Such a clever, well created fantasy world.
This is the first I've read from Mercedes, and it appears there are dozens more in this same world, written before and after.
But this worked perfectly well as a stand-alone, it gradually and non-obtrusively revealed how the world “worked”, without taking away the gripping personal story of Lavan.
At first I was thinking a solid 3-stars, but it had a very brave and surprising ending which cranked it up to 4.
I love Mercedes Lackey, and this book was good, but not as good as her others. But I would still reccommend it.

The main character, Lavan, is really annoying in the beginning. While it is easy to sympathize with him, he is kindof a pushover still. He gets better. The background story, with the kingdom going to war, is better understood if you have read her other books first, because those explain that part of the story. Here it is only incident to the story of Lavan and so it doesn't get much in
Denyse Loeb
The story of Lavan Firestorm, a Herald Firestarter, a merchant's son who was originally enrolled in the same school that trains the Heralds by his parents. Bullied near daily by the older students, it isn't until he releases his gift in self-defense that anyone is aware he even has a gift. He becomes chosen and trained to be a Herald, it is only during a conflict with Karse that everyone learns how truly devastating his gift can be.

Impressions: Personally I love Lackey's Valdemar books, even tho
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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 &a ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Valdemar (Chronological) (1 - 10 of 55 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)
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1) Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1) By the Sword (Valdemar: Kerowyn's Tale, #1) Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3) Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #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.” 172 likes
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