It was the first fantasy story I read. It was the book that made me cry like a baby, ache all over from heartbreak, hope against home and yes, dare to dream. This book spoke to me on so many levels and more than that - it taught me so much about myself.
I was a teenager at the time and I had just started to branch off into wanting to read something other than Star Wars novels - and after some searching online and through the piles of books my father had around the house, I came across this book.
I can still remember the feeling of excitement flooding through me the moment I had it in my hands after I pulled it out from the shelf above my dad's bed. I held it tight and raced down the hallway and curled up in my bed to read.
From the first page, I was hooked. I was drawn into an entirely new world, a world I could clearly picture in my head as I read - and I began to connect with the main character, Vanyel, on a level I had never connected to a character before.
His story pulled me into a vast new world where I could see clearly that he was struggling - just as I was, to figure out who he was. He was struggling to break out of the rules and expectations he had grown up, and he was struggling to find out where be belonged as a young adult.
It isn't until he leaves his home to stay with his Aunt Savil, that his life begins to change in many ways. The biggest being his bond with the charming 'Lendel (who stole my heart just as quickly as Vanyel did, to be perfectly honest).
We see their friendship begin to form - 'Lendel slowly beings to coax Vanyel out of his shell and Vanyel begins to drop his walls that he had so carefully built up to protect himself. We see their friendship begin to grow into something more - and the night they are together - let me tell you, my heart melted.
'Lendel is now getting to know the real Vanyel, just as we are.
Unexpected tragedies strike.
Somehow, Vanyel pulls through - but it isn't an easy road. He fights it. He's lost. He's heart broken, damaged beyond belief and doesn't know how to live his life - a life he had just thought he had put back together once he had his 'Lendel.
It was this single quote that hit me with a ton of bricks, and there have been countless times over the last ten years that I've come back to this quote:
“The great love is gone. There are still little loves - friend to friend, brother to sister, student to teacher. Will you deny yourself comfort at the hearthfire of a cottage because you may no longer sit by the fireplace of a palace? Will you deny yourself to those who reach out to you in hopes of warming themselves at your hearthfire?”
Vanyel, in every way, is struggling to put the pieces of his life back together. Not only is he grieving and lost - but now he's faced with the fact that he's got this immense power he has to learn to control, another burden that he has to handle. One that at first, he isn't sure he even wants to handle - because it is the same kind of power that stole the life he was beginning to know from him.
We see Vanyel being to harness his power, and learn to live this new life he has ahead of him. We see him pick up the pieces as hard as it is and live. He lives to the fullest extent possible, and the ending of this book only proves that no matter what you face and go through - you can still make it out on top.
There are so many things I can say about this quote, but I want to leave you with this:
No matter what happens, no matter what kind of heartbreak or loss you face, you can still learn to love again. It hurts, it does, I've been there. I'm still healing - but there's always the "little loves" - your friends, your family - you can't lock yourself away and refuse to love again. When you do that - you begin to lose yourself.
When you begin to lose yourself, you run the risk of never being able to open yourself up to love again - and with love, anything is possible.