Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When They Shine Brightest” as Want to Read:
When They Shine Brightest
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When They Shine Brightest

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A character-driven fantasy novel, exploring the theme of loss and how we try to deal with it even when there is no way to do so.

Korsak Dryshore, a middle-aged war veteran, is being held directly responsible for the invasion of his home town of Seten. Everyone in Seten, including his family, blames him for losing the last ditch defense against the aggressors. Utterly defeat
ebook, 264 pages
Published August 17th 2015 (first published January 1st 2015)
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 When They Shine Brightest, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about When They Shine Brightest

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  59 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of When They Shine Brightest
Емил Антонов
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Силно препоръчвам не само за феновете на фентъзито (в първата книга от поредицата е само загатнато), но и за тези, които харесват добре обмислени и построени фикшън светове и герои. Краят те кара да искаш вече да дойде следващата...

James Chatham
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, meh, genre-fantasy
[3.5 stars]
I was given this book from the author for an honest review.

This book is a very interesting exploration of themes of loss and not fitting into the culture of everyone surrounding you.

I thought the characterization was done well. I really cared for Korsak, our main character. I feel that Zhelyaskov writes emotion and struggle very masterfully.

I also found the world and culture he creates to be intriguing. The religion that is portrayed throughout the novel is thought out and takes influ
Петър Панчев
Светлина от фентъзи свят. Йордан Желязков поема по пътя на фантазията
Ревюто в блога ми:

Не ми попадат често ръкописи на книги, борещи се все още да видят бял свят на хартия. Борбата тук е на два фронта, защото авторът на тази книга има огромното желание да я види на англоезичния пазар (на 17.08.2015 г. това вече е факт – в Амазон: US ( и UK (, електронно издание на английски език).
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was given the book for a fair review. Korsak Dryshore has a had a bad run, The Jackal, as he used to be called, is now a shunned veteran. Reduced to an “UnEnligthened” temple guard, he attempts to remain anonymous for the remainder of his sad days.

The setting of Seten is unique, it can only be accessed one way, and the leaders of Seten had always thought that it was easy to defend the place and its inner sanctum. But when a Vanguard Krul attacked, Korsak made the decision that spared not many,
Fidelia Kosseva
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Being a fervent lifelong fantasy reader myself, I had a few prejudices about this book. Didn't really think it was going to be worth my time. But, oh, the surprise! It is good, no, it is very good.

The characters are well built, believable, lifelike with their little curiosities and habits. You read through the book and eventually find yourself strongly hoping that all will turn out well for this little girl you grew so fond of. Personally, I didn't really like Korsak at the beginning because he
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Радвам се, че имах тази възможност!^^ Беше удоволствие за мен, въпреки задължителното подхождане с недоверие към непознатото.
Чудесен свят, много добри герои. Както съм чела, че пишат някъде - "Авторът умело води читателя към един страхотен край" (а може и да не казваха точно така, но май съм близо..)

Размисли и страсти:
Радослав Бакърджиев
Нямам търпение за продължениЯТА! Браво, Дани!
Ана Хелс
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Това не е книга, която можете да си купите нито по конвенционалните, нито по апокрифните начини. Не и в момента, но съвсем, съвсем скоро ще чуете много повече за нея. Това е проект, и то изключително амбициозен и демонстриращ размаха на мечтите на един творец, който преследва своята визия независимо от разни ограничения като финанси, език или пазари. Защото Йордан Желязков финансира своята идея по пътищата на crowdfunding-a, работи активно по професионален превод на английски език, и вече е наме ...more
Brian Wilkerson
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Yordan Zhelyazkov asked me to read his novel "When they Shine Brightest". It is set in a stone age society that's vaguely Aztec in its culture and also has some minor fantasy elements. I will examine plot, character and polish and then assign a grade.


The prologue is the last moments of a battle. It has gone badly for our protagonist, Korsak, and now he's trying to escape with the corpse of his son. The bulk of the rest of the book is the aftermath of this battle. They are in two parts; the
Alexandra Rolo
Nov 05, 2015 rated it liked it
[This book was sent to me by the author, for a review.]

This is an interesting fantasy book. However, it isn't for any reader. You need patience and time to sit down and quietly reading it. This book wasn't originally written in English and any reader who's native or used to reading in English will notice it. The sentences aren't fluid and there are some words that could be changed... It is also easy to notice that this is the author's first book. The writing needs to mature a bit more, but I do
Hazel M Bear
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book felt very different, and in an overall good way. I haven't gotten to read a book translated from another language in a long time, and I could really feel the differences from culture and language. Mostly in a positive manner. Granted, some of the sentences were a bit hard to grasp until you reread them, or the grammar/word choice was awkward, but nothing that really hurt the experience of reading this novel.

The 'hero' is Korsak, a veteran who's been through quite a lot and has lost th
Tia Bach
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Since the book summary so well outlines the arc of the story, I thought I'd jump right into my review.

Sometimes I find fantasy books so detailed and descriptive that characters are lost. Thankfully, that's not the case with this story. Korsak is a multi-dimensional character with plenty of flaws and strengths. He loves his family, yet he's often sidetracked by duty and his own journey.

Even more of his character is highlighted through his relationship with a young girl. She's brought into his lif
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bulgarian
I give this novel 4/5 stars only because I am saving the five stars rating for Yordan Zhelyazkov's next book. And judging by this one, I believe he will deserve it.

"When they shine brightest" is a wonderful demonstration of skilled and intriguing writing. The fantasy elements are indeed just a few, lurking mysteriously and giving us something to wander about while we wait for the next portion. Don't get me wrong, the novel is complete and the finale wraps up everything nicely, but still leaves
Tihomir Ivanov
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"When they shine brightest" is quality. I enjoyed reading each single page of the book and I had this mixed feeling of wanting to read more and more, but feeling like I don't want the book to finish.

To be honest I was surprised by the depth of the story and the characters. Their development left me attached and when i read the last page I was already looking forward for the next book (hopefully there will be a sequence).

There are many other small things that I loved but I don't want to spoil the
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good handling of ostracisation and religion. If you have been in this situation, you can relate with Korsak. The way he handles it. I think change in Korsak's character could have been better handled but for the size of the book. But then it starts from after the battle and Korsak doesn't come out to be bloodthirsty warrior ever.
Boryana Gerasimova
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked it quite a lot. The plot is fascinating and surprising, although small in size I personally found it quite eventful and rich in content. Also, the world is very thoughtfully described, with a lot of potential for future stories. Can't wait to see more of it!
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
добреее :)
Stacie Williams
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great fantasy novel. Recommend to anyone who loves to read fantasy.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книгата ми хареса. Надявам се на продължение.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
When They Shine Brightest is a book originally published in Bulgarian and since been translated into English. The translation isn't that good (odd phrasings) and there are quite a few editorial issues as well. Nonetheless it's an enjoyable read.

With the above out of the way let's move on to the actual content. The prologue grabs you by the collar and sucks you right in the thick of it. It sets the scene perfectly for the two seperate plotlines that constitute this book and juggle the timeline a
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bulgarian, fantasy
Having the privilege of reading this book in its original Bulgarian before it's even officially out, I am very excited to write this review.

My real score is actually 3.5; I'm rounding up and thus giving it the benefit of the doubt, hoping the next book will justify it. The reason I only "liked" but not 100% "really liked" it is that it seemed to take a little too long for the ball to actually get rolling. But once it did, the cliffhangers at the end of chapters were done very well, keeping me r
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Yordan Zhelyazkov’s When They Shine Brightest has been translated into English, so I expect that most of the little weird word choices and such are an artifact of that process. There are some phrases that if taken literally can make you grimace or laugh out loud: "[H]e opened his eyes, set them on his soiled palm first, and then on the bloody one."

It’s one of those things that people who get tripped up by bad grammar will get caught on, but not every reader is bothered by grammar issues, so deci
John Napier
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable read. Set in a village, this story broadly follows a former soldier and members of his family's lives after their town and army have been conquered by an invading force.

All is not clear though, as the village's former rulers seem to have a hidden secret allowing them to apparently feel quite comfortable about the new occupation. This book explored prejudice between people, whilst also providing some entertaining action and events, and had one of t
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm sorry to say I was not that into this book. I found the plots confusing going through time lines and it just did not keep my interest. I think the author had a good idea in the book but something about it didn't click with me. I was just not captured by this book like I wanted to be. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Rumen Penchev
rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2015
Pavel Kotsev
rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2017
Diana Vassileva-ditsy
rated it it was amazing
Dec 05, 2014
rated it did not like it
Sep 12, 2015
rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2016
« previous 1 next »

Related Articles

Myths and mayhem, the fantastical and the scientifically plausible, these are readers’ most popular sci-fi and fantasy novels published in the ...
139 likes · 28 comments