Brightly Burning

Mercedes Lackey, Author Daw Books $24.95 (406p) ISBN 978-0-88677-889-7
In the latest addition to the Valdemar fantasy series (Arrow's Fall; Winds of Fate), Lackey returns to the capitol city of Haven, where young Lavan Chitward has just arrived with his family. Although the move signals a higher Guild standing for his ambitious parents, Lan is very unhappy to leave his home. His misery increases when he is sent to merchants' school, where the oldest students use their job of keeping order as an excuse to bully and steal from the younger children. As Lan's fear and frustration grow, he begins suffering terrible headaches--and around him, things mysteriously start to catch fire. When at last the older boys push him too far, a huge conflagration erupts, killing four of the bullies. Lan is terrified by his newly discovered power, until he is chosen by the Companion Kalira, one of the magical horselike creatures who work with the Heralds of Valdemar. Kalira can control Lan's dangerous power, and this is vital, as Lan's power will be needed, for another war is brewing with the nearby Karsites. Lan must learn to channel his power and anger against the coming enemy without destroying his friends--or himself. This tale of adolescent anger and revenge is not only deeply disturbing but flawed by Lackey's unclear message about the destructive nature of rage and her careless attempt to work out what it means for Lan's closest friend to be of a different age, gender and species than Lan. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
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