This book is very poignant, very powerful, and somewhat depressing. Mercedes Lackey is a fantastic writer and this is one of her best works. It really draws you in and involves you in the tale, and you really feel for the characters. It is not necessary to know everything about the Valdemar Heralds and their world to read this book, although prior knowledge does help. If you are looking for an emotionally-charged story, look no further!
My favorite Valdemar tale. A young boy with the gift to start fires with his mind goes from a bullied student to the hope of the kingdom.
Most of the Valdemar series is written in trilogies, but this one is an exception. Also, it is placed in between the Last Herald Mage books and the Arrows of the Queen books - so there aren't any familiar characters. Lavan Firestorm becomes a legend, and experiences many firsts within the Valdemar world. He goes through many hardships, but manages to come out a hero in the end.
I loved this book very much, but it is definetly aimed towards women - as are most of Mercedes Lackey's books. It is a very worthwhile read.