Nikki's Reviews > The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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Jul 28, 11

it was ok
bookshelves: arthurian, historical-fiction-alternatehistory, fantasy, based-on-myth-saga-etc, for-class
Read from August 25, 2010 to July 28, 2011

As a scholar, I find The Mists of Avalon very interesting. What it does with the story of Arthur is fascinating: Arthur's story is always used to the author's own ends, and Marion Zimmer Bradley is very conscious of that. Her emphasis on feminine power is well done -- I loved the opening part, with its insight into Igraine's thoughts and feelings, her fears, her hopes. This version of the story is driven largely by the women, and it isn't the vision of steel and lances and damsels in distress that the more traditional Arthurian court promotes.

I enjoyed what she did with the ideas of the Lady of the Lake and the Merlin: even in traditional stories, there are a lot of different aspects to them, and the idea of them as positions rather than single people works reasonably well. The whole story line with Kevin is interesting.

But.

I didn't read this book in its entirety. I skipped and skimmed. I just couldn't settle down and enjoy it, because it felt like nothing happened, and that it was wholly invested in a kind of spirituality that doesn't say much to me (my religion doesn't have so much as a creed, let alone a set of rituals or any set scripture). It seems to take forever to get anywhere.

I am going to have to do more than skim it, eventually, if I want to write an essay on it, during my Master's degree. For now, feel free to take my review and rating with a pinch of salt.

(Initially, at least, rating it two stars, "it was okay". I enjoyed the ideas, the way she chose to spin the retelling, but not the execution. The ideas may bump it up a star or two if I do read it later.)
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Reading Progress

08/30/2010
10.0% "I'm going to try and use status updates to keep me on task with reading longer books. So far I'm interested but wishing things would happen faster."
08/31/2010
15.0% "Hmmm, things are getting moving. I like that Arthur's called Gwydion as a child -- not sure I've ever read that before, but I like the name. And I should probably look it up and find out."
09/20/2010
15.0% "Urgh, haven't been in the mood for this for a while. I do want to read it soon, though. Dropping it back to my to read list for now, though."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Susan I wound up listening to in on CD because I had the same problem "getting into" the book...


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