I'm sad there are only five stars possible. Maybe this sounds silly, but this was actually a life-changing book for me. I read it for the first time wI'm sad there are only five stars possible. Maybe this sounds silly, but this was actually a life-changing book for me. I read it for the first time when I was about 12, and it was the very first time I learned there was ever such a thing as goddess worship. It literally introduced me to Wicca, although at the time I didn't know it. I read it because I have always loved Arthurian legend, but I love it because of the beautiful female characters, the imagery, the description of the old religion. Even Gwenhwyfar is a strong character in her way. Morgaine and Viviane are both formidable and wise. After reading this, all other Arthurian legends, including Malory, seem incorrect to me! ...more
**spoiler alert** This was a great book, although beyond a few brief references to Avalon, I don't really see that it had much to do with Marion Zimme**spoiler alert** This was a great book, although beyond a few brief references to Avalon, I don't really see that it had much to do with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon at all. There were some familiar things, such as the priestesses wearing blue robes and having the crescent tattoo on their foreheads. But mostly, this was an historical-fantasy about Queen Boudica. And I'm good with that.
So much about Boudica has been mythologized that it doesn't seem unrealistic that she could have had some education with the Druids on Mona or elsewhere in the British Isles. The dates of her rebellion and the slaughter of the Druids at Mona are contemporary, so I like that there could be a connection between them. What we do know about her largely comes from the Roman historians Tacitus and Dio. We should take much of what they say with a grain of salt, for the Romans had a pretty hard core anti-Druid bias, even ones as relatively open minded as Tacitus was. They may not have understood the Celtic and Druidic cultures very well, either, so I'm sure there are things we think we know that are just totally wrong.
I say this because I am rationalizing the end of the book. Tacitus and Dio both state that Boudica and her daughters committed suicide. I think, however, it could be entirely possible that Boudica's daughters survived, but went into hiding. It would be foolish of them to declare that they survived since it would literally have gained them nothing. Rome won in the end and they knew it, so it would have been wise of them just to live a quiet life after the rebellion. I can easily believe that Boudica herself committed suicide, since she was a figurehead for the rebellion and if captured, would have been dragged through the streets of Rome in chains before likely being thrown to wild animals in the Colisseum. I would have preferred death as well. Also, if she truly made the Sacred Marriage to the land, her deathwould have been expected as part of her duty. But maybe her daughter(s) lived and had children. I like to think that some part of me could be a descendant of the great queen.
I definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, historical fantasy, or any example, no matter how unrealistic, of the Celts kicking Rome's ass. It's even better if the Celt is a woman. =)...more
It took me 2 months to read this book. At first I thought it was because I have a baby now and I only have about an hour a day to read anything at allIt took me 2 months to read this book. At first I thought it was because I have a baby now and I only have about an hour a day to read anything at all. But I think, now that I finally finished it, it was largely because I was kind of bored with this one. It wasn't a terrible book--how can an Arthurian book really be that bad?--but it was certainly not the most gripping read I've ever experienced. I had actually read this years ago when I was still in high school, but I had completely forgotten it, so it was like reading it for the first time again.
I will say that I definitely liked this Gwen a hell of a lot better than some others I've read, especially the pathetic and neurotic version in Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. She's a strong woman, raised to be a queen and proud of her Celtic heritage. Arthur seems to be a strong, brave and interesting character as well. Just for these two characters, I might be tempted to read the rest of the trilogy once it is released to kindle.
Overall, I think it was an okay adaptation of Arthurian legend, but not my favorite. A little plodding in parts, but not so bad that I wanted to put it down. It just took me forever to finish it....more
I do love Arthurian legend in just about any incarnation. I still haven't found one that compares to The Mists of Avalon, and likely never will. But II do love Arthurian legend in just about any incarnation. I still haven't found one that compares to The Mists of Avalon, and likely never will. But I enjoy trying to find one nonetheless.
This book was all right. Certainly not bad, but not the best I've ever read. I found the characters to be a little flat, frankly. There wasn't really enough of a new spin on anything to make it really stand out. The heroes were all heroic and damaged, as usual. The women were all gorgeous and noble, as usual. The only ones I found more than usually interesting were Esmeree, and she only had a marginal role, and Parnam, and neither were developed much. Otherwise, I found Tristan and Essylte themselves to be whiny, emo children for the most part. They both did grow up a bit by the end of the book, but not by much.
Similarly, the setting wasn't very highly developed. I found myself wanting more description of the places and people, the clothes, the food, everything. There was enough to go by, but not enough to satisfy.
Although this wasn't one of my favorite books, I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys Arthurian legend. ...more
**spoiler alert** So THAT'S how they made Stonehenge! =)
This was a fun book, although I thought it was a bit slow in parts. But I enjoyed seeing the**spoiler alert** So THAT'S how they made Stonehenge! =)
This was a fun book, although I thought it was a bit slow in parts. But I enjoyed seeing the formation of the priestesses that I loved so much in The Mists of Avalon.
I was a little disappointed that Paxson didn't really get into as much detail as I think she should have with telling us about the native tribes, the Marsh Tribe especially. She touched on their magic and knowledge, but it wasn't really fleshed out well enough. I would have liked to see it merge with the Atlantean knowledge a bit more fully, not just have it be so eventually without any real description. But maybe she was going for mystery, since Avalon is shrouded in it anyway. I can go for that.
At first I wasn't sure I liked Tiriki. I thought she was a doormat. But she really grew into herself in the marshes, and became the first Lady of the Lake as we knew the role in MoA. I enjoyed the wise woman Taret immensely and wish she had a bigger part.
Micail I don't think I really liked. He was too weak to prevent the abuse of power, too chicken to speak up when he knew he should. He did redeem himself a bit at the end, but by then I think it was too late. As a result of his inaction and weakness, his relationship with Tiriki was fundamentally altered. A good thing, certainly, and he did become Merlin, but it was more a default than anything. I don't think I would have chosen him to be Merlin if there was someone else around. Chedan would have been better, and really he was the first Merlin. He fit the role much better.
I think this one had its flaws, but overall it was still a good addition to the Avalon series Paxson has continued since Marion Zimmer Bradley's death. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or a distant link to Arthurian legends....more
Final in the Guinevere trilogy by Persia Woolley. An awesome retelling of Arthurian legend, made out to be historical fiction rather than fantasy. I lFinal in the Guinevere trilogy by Persia Woolley. An awesome retelling of Arthurian legend, made out to be historical fiction rather than fantasy. I like it best that way, because it makes it seem like Arthur could have really existed. ...more