The Mists of Avalon: Beautiful writing, but excruciatingly slow

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review marion zimmer bradley the mists of avalonThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Mists of Avalon, as you’ve likely guessed, is a retake on the King Arthur legends, but what makes it different is that it’s written from the women’s perspectives (Morgaine, Guinevere, etc.). The first one was written by Marion Zimmer Bradley in 1983 and this was the first time this feminist technique was used in fantasy literature and it was very successful (I learned that when I took a Modern Scholar course in fantasy literature).

The Mists of Avalon is beautifully written, but slow-paced, and I often wished the story would move faster. Since the women characters are the focus, there’s not much action (except traveling). The chicks themselves aren’t fighting a lot of Saxons. Also, there’s a major emphasis on the dissolution of the pagan religion as Christianity spread throughout England. This was really interesting, but since the main character, Morgaine, is a pagan priestess, the views expressed on this topic are definitely anti-Christian. In fact, the reader gets the impression that Marion Zimmer Bradley is really pushing pagan and feminist agendas.

This is not your typical everything’s-okay-at-the-end fantasy because it’s based on the King Arthur legend (in which everything doesn’t turn out okay). Therefore, it’s a bit depressing. I think women will like this series better than men will. I’ll also mention that I have heard critics refer to this as a book for old and young, but I think the focus on the weird love rectangle(?) between Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgaine, makes this inappropriate for the kids. If they want to read about Arthur, send them elsewhere — where there’s less sex and more Saxons.

The audiobook reader, Davina Porter, is excellent — widely acknowledged as one of the best in the business.

The Mists of Avalon — (1979-2007) The Arthurian Legend from the feminist and pagan perspective. The Mists of Avalon is the original book. The later prequels were co-authored with Diana Paxson. They are listed here in order of publication, but here is the order if you want to read them in order of when the events occurred in Avalon: Ancestors, Ravens, Forest, Lady, Priestess.

Marion Zimmer Bradley fantasy book review The Mists of AvalonMarion Zimmer Bradley Diana L Paxson fantasy book reviews 2. The Forest House The Forests of Avalon 3. Lady of Avalon 4. Priestess of Avalon 5. The Ancestors of Avalon 6. Ravens of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley Diana L Paxson fantasy book reviews 2. The Forest House The Forests of Avalon 3. Lady of Avalon 4. Priestess of Avalon 5. The Ancestors of Avalon 6. Ravens of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley Diana L Paxson fantasy book reviews 2. The Forest House The Forests of Avalon 3. Lady of Avalon 4. Priestess of Avalon 5. The Ancestors of Avalon 6. Ravens of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley Diana L Paxson fantasy book reviews 2. The Forest House The Forests of Avalon 3. Lady of Avalon 4. Priestess of Avalon 5. The Ancestors of Avalon 6. Ravens of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley Diana L Paxson fantasy book reviews 2. The Forest House The Forests of Avalon 3. Lady of Avalon 4. Priestess of Avalon 5. The Ancestors of Avalon 6. Ravens of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley Diana L Paxson fantasy book reviews 2. The Forest House The Forests of Avalon 3. Lady of Avalon 4. Priestess of Avalon 5. The Ancestors of Avalon 6. Ravens of Avalon 6. Sword of Avalon


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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