Friday, October 28, 2011

Review: _Brightly Burning_ by Mercedes Lackey

Being tormented by bullies in schools has led to several tragedies in recent years. The importance of preventing this is one of the central themes of Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey. This is a stand alone tale in Mr. Lackey’s Fantasy world of Valdemar. It is the story of Herald Lavan Firestorm. The book is an entertaining different addition to this world because of its characters, plot and themes.

Characters in the book are well drawn and three dimensional. Lavan Chitward is the son of cloth makers. He has no interest in the family business and is a sixteen year old adolescent in search of a purpose in life. Ms. Lackey describes his problems and character very well. She adds other characters that flesh out the story. There is Herald Pol, a middle a Pged man that becomes Lan’s mentor. Kalira is Lan’s Companion who gives Lan a stable, loving focus in his life. All of the characters help the plot move along quickly.

Ms. Lackey develops an entertaining plot for this book. Lan’s parents send him to a school so he will not languish at home. He is subjected to cruel bullies at school that torment him and make him sick with terrible headaches. His suffering leads to the awakening of his dangerous fire talent. Later, he gains his Companion Kalira and begins his training as a Herald. War with Karse looms on the horizon, providing Lan with new obstacles in his life. The author deftly manipulates the plot elements to create an interesting tale of adventure.

Lastly, the characters and plot combine to give emphasis to the important themes of the book. Lan suffers at the hand of bullies that en Kds in tragedy. He must deal with his hard to control gift through the adversity of coming of age. Along the way he faces persecution from an obsessed enemy and then must confront a war. The themes have resonance with things adolescents must face in our modern day world. These themes are presented in a subtle, appealing way by the author.

Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey is an entertaining addition to the Fantasy world of Valdemar. Readers learn about a time not covered in the other books. Ms. Lackey weaves sympathetic characters, an interesting plot and timely themes into a sad tale with life affirming values. Sentimental readers should keep a box of tissues by their side while reading this book. It is well worth the time spent in the effort. The story of Lavan Firestorm is memorable. Check it out if you get the chance.

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