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The Forests of Avalon (Avalon #2)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,525 Ratings  ·  324 Reviews
Later known as The Forests of Avalong
Inside the walls of the Forest House, in a remote part of Britain, a circle of Druidic priestesses guards the ancient rites of learning, healing & magic against the Roman Empire.
Nearby, Eilan, born to a family steeped in the Druid's lore, is ripening toward womanhood & an inner force she hardly dares dream of. Already she hears
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Paperback, 559 pages
Published 1998 by Penguin (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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El
Someone recently suggested to me when I was reading The Mists of Avalon to stop reading the Avalon series at that point. She said she had read some of the other books in the series and they were "appallingly bad". I don't know if this was one she was referring to or not, but I should have listened to her. She is wise.

I didn't love The Mists of Avalon upon rereading it now, but I did appreciate it more, I think, than I had over twenty years ago when I read it originally. There are aspects to the
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Gary
Jun 29, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written prequel to the magnificent Mists of Avalon, the story of a doomed star-crossed love between British Priestess, Eilan and a half British half Roman legionnaire Gauis, in first century southern Britain, also takes us to Caledonia (Scotland) , Germany and Rome. Gives us rich insight to and brings to life both the Roman Empire and Celtic Briton society, especially that of Druidic persuasion.
At this time the Roman are ruthlessly destroying the Druidic culture and a small b and o
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Ronda  Tutt
Jan 07, 2010 Ronda Tutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantacy
I really enjoyed this book. I was so glad to see that the book picked up where the book "Ravens of Avalon" left off.

The Arch-Druid Ardanos, Lhiannon(High Priestess of Vernemeton - the Forest House), and Caillean (senior priestess assisting Lhiannon - also Lhiannon's adoptive daughter)are characters from the book "Ravens of Avalon" who survived the fire and take over of Mona. These individuals move on to Vernemeton and rebuild the hertiage of the Priestess and Druids with the consent of the Roman
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Tish
Jul 08, 2012 Tish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would probably give this 3 and a half stars. I liked it, but had a harder time getting into it than I expected, given how much I remember loving The Mists of Avalon. That's one of my all-time favorites and one I've read several times. However, my most recent re-read was probably 20 years ago, so maybe my tastes have changed a bit since then. Or maybe this one just wasn't quite as good. Or maybe I'm just pickier now. :)

I had mixed feelings about the characters in this one; they didn't all seem co
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Tati
Jun 18, 2015 Tati rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-again, fantasy
This was a book that lost much of its magic on a re-read.

The writing style felt a bit odd, with some words thrown in that did not fit the rest of the wording. It also made the book drag a bit, even though it felt hurried (I mean, it does span the lifetime of Eilan and Gaius, but the time jumps could have been smoother).

In terms of plot, it was a bit hard to keep track of who wanted what and why. There were far too many tribes and names to keep track of. As for the main characters, they all felt
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Jo
3.5 stars
Most of the book was agonizingly slow. Each time the main characters met was a chance meeting at a festival. When a festival was coming up, I braced myself for them to meet. I am hoping that this was a set up for the next book, and that The Lady of Avalon will be better.
Kythe42
The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley is one of the books in her Avalon series. The story is set during the Roman occupation of Britain about a generation after the uprising of Boudicca. Much of the story is centered around the Forest House, which is the sanctuary for the Druid priestesses that was established after the destruction of the Druid complex on the isle of Mona by the Romans, and the woman who serve there. All of the books in this series have elements of romance, but it is a parti ...more
Avid
Jan 01, 2009 Avid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
Sep 01, 2012 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this one more than Mists of Avalon, is was more of a less-tragic Romeo and Juliet than the endless "everything Morgaine touches turns to dust and all her good intentions go awry" kind of thing. I also enjoyed the aspect of Gauis/Gawen being torn between the two sides of his heritage, British and Roman. However, toward the end it did pick back up the anti-Christian ranting and seemed to have the attitude that all men were misogynistic idiots. Another issue that continued from Mists was ...more
Mele
Mar 02, 2008 Mele rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good, but too sad/fatalistic/heart wrenching, like "mists"... at least it didn't torture me for as long, since it wasn't as long. liked learning about the druids and romans before the "mists" story, though. and i'm going to read the middle book too, but i don't expect to enjoy it (no matter if it's well-written and gripping, like the others... now that ken follett has shown me the pleasures of good historical fiction with a positive view of history... why keep torturing myself? i don't know... g ...more
Kitty
Nov 22, 2008 Kitty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleasantly surprising. Pre-dates "Mists" and King Arthur. All about the war between Romans and Druids - made me want to read the "real" history of this time period! Eilan, grand-daughter of Arch Druid, falls in love with Gauis, son of bigwig Roman.
mrs. fig
i guess because i loved 'mists' so much i expected more from 'forest house' and 'lady of avalon' and i was alittle disappointed. but the books were good, just not great.
Jen Six
Nov 06, 2008 Jen Six rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: zimmer fans
Most people don't like Zimmer's books as much as they do Mists of Avalon but after reading the Forest House I realized that all the other books enrich the entire backdrop that is Avalon. You appreciate Mists more because of the others who've played a part in Avalon's story. I liked Eilan and the role she played though it seemed very much slanted that she had very little chance for happiness. I found myself disliking the priests entirely and felt that Lhiannon allowing them so much power was tota ...more
Rosie
May 08, 2008 Rosie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
I expected to like this book better than I did since I loved Mists of Avalon. The story is pre-Arthur and as a story it had a lot of possibilities. Somehow it seemed kind of disjointed. It is the story of Eilan who is the daughter of a Druid during the time when the conquering Romans are taking over the land. I just could never really connect with Gaius, the soldier that Eilan falls in love with and whose live is entwined with hers. He was a mere human after all and I suppose I wanted him to be ...more
Charlotte
I really struggled with this book. It felt like I was reading three chapters of "The Mists of Avalon" but spread into a whole novel: with more added having-of-plot-redundant-babies. I think part of the problem was that I only liked one character and she appears quite irregularly. And there are so few meaningful conversations! The main protagonists were a bit meh. It seems like you hardly get to know them, and even though a lot of time is passing in the story, it feels like not much happens.

I did
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Caledonia
This book is a prequel to the Mists of Avalon which I haven't read yet and judging by the rest of the reviews, it's probably just as well. The historical content was what interested me most. I love the Roman era and I'm also really interested in the Druid period so it was interesting to see them clash. Originally, I liked the characters of Eilan and Gaius but as the book progressed, their actions continuously annoyed me and I wanted to smack their heads together. It all seemed pointless at some ...more
Nicole Acheson
Aug 09, 2011 Nicole Acheson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The forest house is a good book and the characters are very realistic. I realized something though while readiing this book after reading lady of avalon. The first story in lady of avalon is a continuation of the story in the forest house. I suggest that anyone who is thinking of reading lady of avalon should read the forest house first. The story has a little bit of everything in it, life and death, suspense, romance and of course some religion ie; Celtic religion, mithraism and some mention of ...more
Sharon
Apr 15, 2010 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthurian
This book was the weakest of all of Bradley's books I read. She imagines King Arthur as descended from a Celtic Priestess and a Roman soldier. I was not drawn to either of the main characters and, for a book ostensibly about the Druids there was very little detail about them. She breifly mentions the founding of Avalon, but the one detail that stands out is that the head Priestess put the least intelligent woman in charge of the kitchen. Awful! Details of Roman life were interesting but, overall ...more
Valerie
With the decline of used bookstores; it's often hard to get older books. So when I see one I hadn't seen before; I tend to grab it--in case; in the future; I might want to read it.

This has mixed results. This volume is the second part of a trilogy prequel to The Mists of Avalon.

Part of the theme of the book is that history is not forged by impeccable heroes; but by flawed and fallible humans; trying to come up with some sort of compromise solutions to often overwhelming problems.

For example; wh
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Donna
Sep 19, 2014 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great surprise, a book that was so enjoyable.
This is the tale of the Druids & the Romans, trying to live in an
uneasy peace. Also, its a love story between the son of a powerful
Roman officer & a young druid girl. Fate & love are not always kind
to us, or people in this story.
We are given a peep into the "forest house" where young maidens
come to learn, serve and become Priestesses. There are still, despite
Rome, Pagan festivals celebrated. And at them, the High Priestess, like
the Or
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Jennifer
Nov 19, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mists of Avalon is my favorite book and I had been wanting to read this prequel for years. While nothing could surpass the original, The Forest House is a very good book in its own right. I enjoyed the story of the priestesses but found the focus on both Gaius and Cynric during battles and military maneuvering less interesting. Even though it is a prequel, I could see readers enjoying it without having to have read The Mists of Avalon. A highly entertaining read with less depth than the orig ...more
Mariah
One of the prequels to Mists of Avalon, Forest House tells the story of Eilan, a British priestess and Gaius, the Roman soldier she falls in love with. It can be rather slow at times, but overall the story is still compelling, and the world well-realized. It has more of a historical setting than Mists.
If you really liked Mists, and want to know the backstory, read this and the other prequels, but don't compare it to Mists. It's pretty good in its own right, but don't expect it to be as good as M
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Jaime O'Connell
In some ways, I liked this book better than Ms. Bradley's previous book, The Mists of Avalon, but in some ways it was worse, as well.
The length was more appropriate, for one. I found I was ready for the "The Mists..." to be over long before it actually was. It also was less of a "Train Wreck" than "The Mists..." was, so it was less painful to listen to in some areas. Also, the characters were well formed throughout the book; Ms. Bradley did do a good job giving us reasons to love, hate, support
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Sam
Jan 17, 2010 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
A beautiful, but frustrating book. The strength of the women characters in the face of an increasingly patriarchal world made me both proud and upset. Character growth was phenomenal--you could feel the two main characters grow older, from an exuberant and naive youth to experienced adults forced to survive (and shaped by) the consequences of their decisions in a difficult world. I would have like more magic, but what was there was believable and satisfying.
Erik Graff
May 01, 2014 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Avalon fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
I enjoyed the Mists of Avalon for its retelling and remixing of some of the elements of the Matter of Britain from more of a female perspective. This, a supposed prequel to that series, was a bit of a disappointment, perhaps because of the greater element of invention involved. I find seeing how authors deal with literary traditions to be more interesting than reading sheer inventions, especially if there are fantasy elements involved.
Daniel D.
Jan 26, 2016 Daniel D. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
WHAT
A Celtic fantasy love story that starts off as an abridged version of a reasonable book and by the end it feels like s a synthesis of a bad one. Eilan, a priestess of the Goddess, is torn between loyalty to her people and her love for Gaius, a soldier of the Roman Empire whose military power kills and enslaves them.

TLDR
- rushed prose, undeveloped scenes and character emotions and intents
- unsatisfying ending
+ discernible and elaborated plot, more then I can say of most of the books I've been
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Maciej Sz.
If we list the best fantasy writers, next to the most famous names like Tolkien, Lewis, Le Guin or Zelazny, we also include Marion Zimmer Bradley. Her "Mists of Avalon" became a cult novel, regularly located at the top of the rankings. But the question is whether that's her opus magnum and nothing better has been created, or we should look for her other works and maybe we will find a similar hidden treasure. Such a great expectation caused a disappointment after the lecture of "Forest House". Ma ...more
Kit★
Sep 08, 2013 Kit★ marked it as to-ponder-sounds-interesting  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Almost bought this at Goodwill the other day because it sounds really interesting, but I had limited funds. Seeing as how I haven't read Mists of Avalon yet, though I own it, I dunno if I like the writing. So I put it back, though now I'm thinking I should've went ahead and got it, as it's the prequel to Mists anyway. Sigh.
Monica
Mar 03, 2014 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy this book quite as much as the Mists of Avalon, but it is still a pretty good book. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoyed the first book. If you have not read MOA you really should, especially if you are a fan of fantasy, history (especially European history), or strong female characters.
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Goodreads Librari...: Change description 2 110 Dec 08, 2015 05:49AM  
  • Ravens of Avalon (Avalon #6)
  • Return to Avalon
  • Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country (Guenevere, #1)
  • Kingdom of Summer
  • Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn  (Guinevere, #3)
  • Foxmask (The Light Isles, #2)
  • The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4)
  • The Eagles' Brood (Camulod Chronicles, #3)
  • Queen of Camelot (Queen of Camelot #1-2)
  • Twilight of Avalon (Twilight of Avalon, #1)
  • Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit
4841825
Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook.

Bradley's first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla, first published in the May 1957 issue of Other Worlds. When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Ham
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More about Marion Zimmer Bradley...

Other Books in the Series

Avalon (7 books)
  • The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)
  • Lady of Avalon (Avalon, #3)
  • Priestess of Avalon (Avalon, #4)
  • Ancestors of Avalon (Avalon, #5)
  • Ravens of Avalon (Avalon #6)
  • Sword of Avalon (Avalon #7)

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“Remain true to yourself, child. If you know your own heart, you will always have one friend who does not lie.” 2636 likes
“Rome was mud and smoky skies; the rank smell of the Tiber and the exotically spiced cooking fires of a hundred different nationalities. Rome was white marble and gilding and heady perfumes; the blare of trumpets and the shrieking of market-women and the eternal, sub-aural hum of more people, speaking more languages than Gaius had ever imagined existed, crammed together on seven hills whose contours had long ago disappeared beneath this encrustation if humanity. Rome was the pulsing heart of the world.” 15 likes
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