Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Brightly Burning (Valdemar, #8)” as Want to Read:
Brightly Burning (Valdemar, #8)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Brightly Burning

(Valdemar (Chronological) #18)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  9,430 ratings  ·  183 reviews
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

Published August 8th 2002 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Brightly Burning, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Connie Yes,this is a stand-alone book. You can read this story by itself, but it is part of Mercedes Lackey's series about Valdemar.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,430 ratings  ·  183 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jun 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 rated it did not like it
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
D Dyer
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, fantasy, 2019-reads
3.5 stars.
This entry in the Valdemar series tells the story of the firestorm much referenced in many of the latter books. If you’ve read any of those books you should already know that this is a tragedy. And while Lackey does a great job of bringing us back into the fantasy world she’s created, including some of the tropes one becomes familiar with when reading her books, this isn’t the best of her novels. LAN is a little too similar to some of her other characters, a boy with a big power and a
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
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This book made me cry.
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic, fantasy
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
May 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 22, 2011 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.
Sep 17, 2009 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,
Oct 03, 2007 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
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
Dixie Conley
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 29, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
A somewhat strange entry in the Valdemar saga, about a boy who can start fires telekinetically. An object lesson in why one should not play with fire.
Amy Bradley
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Chris Presta-Valachovic
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
This is only the second Valdemar book I have ever read, after 'To Take a Thief', but I found this book easy to get into and readable. Even if you haven't read other Valdemar books, the author puts in just enough information about who is king, and the system of Heralds and Guilds to give the reader a good picture of what Valdemaran life is like.

Lavan is easy enough to like and sympathize with, especially given the character of his mother. Him figuring out a temporary solution with the bullies and
Courtney Gear
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't mind reading this book, but it's not one that stick out in the Heralds of Valdemar series. Lavan is a likable character whose inability to fit in among his family relates to us all in some way. His time in school before he is chosen is kind of far-fetched in my opinion, but that may be because I can't relate to his situation. However, once he is chosen the story picks up and it's neat to see its connection to the other books about the Karsite war and what is going on in Valdemar. Things ...more
Dorothy Lloyd
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lavan Firestorm and Kalira finally get their tale told

I've been waiting to hear this story for a long time. It certainly didn't disappoint. It's a lovely written book. The characters are so well written that I felt like they were friends. So many sad, but also happy moments in this book. I must admit to using a few tissues, but also had a few good laughs. You won't regret reading this one!
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Valdemar series was one of my first fantasy worlds, and it remains one I always enjoy returning to. With this installment, I think Lackey found a good balance of being able to flesh out the story of one of the pivotal figures in Heraldic history, and the constraints of Lavan's story/life being so short kept the story focused and manageable.
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read this one before but still enjoyed reading it again. I had forgotten how short and intense Lavan's story is. It's only a few months from start to finish, but they are really dramatic months! The only sad thing for me about this book was the number of editing mistakes I ran across. It kind of threw me out of the story multiple times.
I am sure I had already read the book, but did not remember it.
It is always a pleasure to go back to Valdemarfor me, but I must admit that I am no longer the target readership.
Godd book for teenagers or young readers, who would not want a companion, despite all the difficulties?
Kathy Mac
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Brightly Burnt-out

I read Mercedes Lackey’s first books published in the late 1980s. At that time I wondered if she was in fact a consortium, since new books came out in such rapid-fire fashion. The protagonists invite empathy, and the world-building is impeccable. But they were never my favourite fantasy novels. As I read “Burning Brightly” in 2019 (originally published in 2000), I rediscovered the abjection of the protagonists which, in the end, is just a bit creepy. Lavan Chitward overcomes h
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Lan discovers that he has a terrible gift when he is bullied at the school that his parents sends him to when he shows no interest in any trade. He will bond with the Companion Kalira. Soon the pair will be trained to use Lan's gift in the forthcoming war.
This is such a sad book, but the journey is always worth it. It's amazing to me that Mercedes Lackey manages to cram so much character development into such a short book, and to do it without any of this feeling rushed. The ending is, as always, a gut punch.
ms bookjunkie
4.5 stars

A compelling and entertaining combination of the ordinary and the extraordinary in a bildungsroman. *bawls eyes out*
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: magic
Thoroughly enjoy the Valdemer series. LOTS of stories!
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Very rushed. The character was very built up in preceding novels, and this feels like a let down. Should have been a trilogy.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite from Mercedes Lackey!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #1 -- Brightly Burning 1 5 Jan 05, 2016 06:07AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Fantasy may be YA Elemental Magic [s] 5 33 Sep 29, 2014 10:15PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Valdemar Companion
  • Elvenborn (Halfblood Chronicles, #3)
  • Tiger Burning Bright
  • In Celebration of Lammas Night
  • The Quartered Sea (Quarters #4)
  • If I Pay Thee Not in Gold
  • King Kelson's Bride (The Histories of King Kelson, #4)
  • Power Play (Petaybee, #3)
  • Exiles' Return (Ghatti's Tale, #3)
  • The High King's Tomb (Green Rider, #3)
  • The Legend of Nightfall (Nightfall, #1)
  • The Dragon of Despair (Firekeeper Saga, #3)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Valdemar (Chronological) (1 - 10 of 36 books)
  • The Black Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars #1)
  • The White Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars, #2)
  • The Silver Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars, #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)
  • Redoubt (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #4)
“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.” 209 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.” 33 likes
More quotes…