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.
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.
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This is one of Lackey's more annoying books. There's little plot, no challenge for the main characters at all, no growth, and Lavan is the most passive, irritating character I've ever seen in a Lackey book. He does nothing to get himself out of his problems; everything is handled for him so so smoothly and easily that I wonder why Lackey even bothered with this book. Lavan gets tormented by bullies? No problem, his Gift acts up, kills them, and he gets Chosen. He can't control his Gift? No problem, his Companion does it for him. He's accused of murder? No problem, the king steps in and kangaroo-courts the accuser into solitary confinement for the rest of her life.
All the characters are one dimensional cardboard, uninteresting and only there to constantly tell Lavan how nothing is his fault or to pity him. Tuck and his family are the worst of the lot, being horrible golly-gee-shucks stereotypes of country rednecks who are amazed at simple GLOVES. Yeah. Gloves. Give this book a pass.
This was the first Mercedes Lackey novel that I read. I feel that every person that enjoys a good book can relate to the main character and see something of themselves in him. It still holds a place in my heart as one of the best books ever written, the emotion that it brings out in the reader is astounding. It brings forth anger and hate at foul characters, sadness from tragedies, and hope from selfishness of the heroes. If you are wanting to start reading the Heralds of Valdemar series this is a great book to begin with.