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The Mists of Avalon

(Avalon #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  198,295 ratings  ·  6,887 reviews
Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come....
Kindle Edition, 1009 pages
Published July 15th 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published December 1982)
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Holly No, you should do as I have done:

Put out your eyes to prevent them from reading any words or seeing any objects or images that may have been created b…more
No, you should do as I have done:

Put out your eyes to prevent them from reading any words or seeing any objects or images that may have been created by evil people. Puncture your eardrums to prevent hearing speech or music that comes from someone who perpetrated a heinous act. Lock yourself away in a room to prevent yourself from having contact with objects or living creatures that may be associated with wrongdoers. Also, how would you feel if you cooked food from a recipe invented or passed around by violent criminal? It's better to have your mouth sealed shut. Let's not forget your nose, you may enjoy some aroma created by or also enjoyed by a truly bad person and you clearly would not want that! In this way you will be thoroughly protected from the evil that lurks in this world.(less)
Barbara No. I'm so angry I wasted my life on this book. Mainly because the author molested her own child for years and protected her pedophile husband before …moreNo. I'm so angry I wasted my life on this book. Mainly because the author molested her own child for years and protected her pedophile husband before he was caught, convicted, and imprisoned. Other than that the book itself is dreadfully boring, extremely long and mindlessly depressing. The characters are so astoundingly flat that I can't understand why MZB has gained any popularity at all. They're also all extremely weak, and idiotic to boot. I get the feeling that MZB herself is weak, shallow, and stupid. I absolutely hated it and I will definitely not be reading another one of her books. If you find yourself wondering when the story might improve, do yourself a favour – put the book down, or even better, throw it away.(less)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  198,295 ratings  ·  6,887 reviews

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In 2007 I joined Goodreads and wrote reviews of some of the books that had most transformed me as a reader. I have since, over the years, taken an absurd amount of geek pride that my review of this book is (I think) the most popular one. And for everyone writing "GET OVER YOURSELF" in the comments, as a response to my using my own little corner of the internet to tell a story about how my life as a writer and a Catholic and a woman was shaped by this book, there were a dozen other women respondi ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up The Mists of Avalon because I really love Nordic myths, and usually any stories about King Arthur. Everyone seems to adore this book; even my librarian told me that this was a really good Arthurian tale! Well, it's not. It's horrible.

The Christian bashing was just a tad boring, or repetitive (said as the atheist that I am). As if having one stupid priest wasn't enough, the author just had to fit in several more and call each stupider than the previous.
Yeah, there were dumb/evil pries
My final book of 2017! I did not think I would finish it before the end of the year. I started it back on October 1st and it was slow going. I often found myself not reading it for days at a time. It really wasn’t capturing my interest. But, with a week to go in 2017 and about 300 or so pages left, I buckled down and finished it at around 8:15 on December 31st!

You might think that my opinion of this book will not be stellar considering it was slow going. About a week ago when I committed to fini
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Hmmm, I would like to see the mini series to this book.

I felt it was a good book although it did get boring at times or maybe it was just me! I loved reading about the history. The most I have ever known about Arthur and the gang was through my show, Merlin.

The ending was really sad to me 😕 But it was excellent as well, if that makes any sense.

Happy Reading!

Mel ❤️
Emily May
Sep 01, 2019 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2019
Y'all need to tell me when I start reading a book by a child rapist. At least I only made it 85 pages before figuring out this was that author (warning: the later paragraphs of this post turn homophobic)... ...more
Amalia Gkavea
This is my favourite book about the Arthurian legend and I have read possibly more than I can remember. Marion Zimmer Bradley succeeded in breathing new life into the Arthurian saga, and at the same time, she didn't step too far away from the spirit of it. Placing the emphasis on the fascinating female characters that shaped the fate of Arthur and of Camelot, she created a monumental work that is now the basis on which most of us rate the works about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Tabl ...more
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK I admit, when I told my college Arthurian Lit professor that I'd read and enjoyed this book, he proceeded to give me a quick-before-the-next-class-comes-in lecture about how Marion Zimmer Bradley's "interpretation" skewed wildly from the genre.

But I don't care. It's a difficult book (long and utterly depressing,) but it takes the first in-depth look at both women and the pagan Celtic religion of Britain, which Christianity usurped around that time. Evil sorceress Morgan Le Fay is transfered i
Feb 09, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Arthur myth from the point of view of Morgaine le Fay, pagan priestess. Supposedly a feminist take on the old legends. There is one main problem with this approach: let's face it, women's lives in the dark ages were pretty boring. And rather than break out of this mold with strong female characters, Bradley talks a lot about spinning, weaving, and having babies. The female characters are either contemptible or irritating, or both. The male characters are cardboard--Arthur is as heroic as a l ...more
My favorite fantasy novel written by a serial rapist and child-abuser. Now that I think about it, I'm interested to remember that the person who recommended it to me was also a big fan of Nietzsche. ...more
Aug 05, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, arthuriana
This is one of the few books that I hate. I'm a feminist and I love King Arthur stories and The Mists of Avalon makes me vaguely nauseous. I read the whole thing hoping it would get better, and it didn't, though there are a few good bits. Overall I found it offensive to the Arthurian legends, to history, and to women, and being a 15-year-old girl who liked fantasy novels did nothing to change this opinion. ...more
Wow, this is a truly epic retelling of the Arthurian legends – epic in length at 850 pages, epic in scale at spanning three to four generations, and epic in its ambition to provide a feminist reinterpretation of a decidedly masculine mythology. I wish I could say it was an epic success. Instead, Mists of Avalon meanders too much, treading the same ground again and again, almost as if the plot itself has gotten lost in the mists. Over and over, pagan and Christian characters debate the oneness of ...more
"There is no such thing as a true tale. Truth has many faces and the truth is like to the old road to Avalon; it depends on your own will, and your own thoughts, whither the road will take you."

Again, I feel the need to put my thoughts down about some of the books that changed my life and made me into the guy I am.

Those who know me just one tiny bit also know that The Lord of the Rings is my favourite book ever. Go a little bit deeper, and you also know that Frank Herbert's Dune is high up on my
Tiffany Miss.Fiction
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Before any review, i need to put down some words. I can't understand how MZB, who wrote such powerful lines and characters, that made me feel so understood, that represented repression and gender inequality with such a beautiful, compelling and empowering novel, could have also been the abuser of her daughter. I can't understand but i am so angry and this is never something to forgive just because her work spoke to me so much. She is unforgivable to my eyes and my heart, it made me vomit as soon ...more
Well, there I go again - sniffling and crying through the last 10 pages over a bunch of fictional characters that I feel I know better then some real people. If ever there was a book to make me believe in the power of magic, then Bradley cast her spell over me when she penned this book.

What a sap I am, and what a sap I'll be again the next time I read this...

[Name Redacted]
Did you know the author tortured & sexually assaulted her own children, helped & encouraged her pedophile (ex)husband, and advocated for adult/child sexual relationships...because both she and her hubby participated in them?

Here's a good jumping-in point:
Her Daughter:
Her Son:

I didn't like this novel before -- too much misandry, revisionism, contempt for the Arthurian mythos, creepy sexual content, etc. etc. But kn
J.G. Keely
Though I am wont to blame the inescapability of genetics for various aspects of an Epicurean reading of Absurdism, I tend to pause, for some reason, in ascribing gender differences as stringently. It's difficult to say if this is simply a bias of wishful egalitarian thinking or truly an outgrowth of my understanding, for precisely the reasons that Epicureus is worthy to interrupt my many Suicides. So, when I say that women seem more than men to be capable of breaking the Tolkien Curse laid so th ...more
Feb 24, 2017 marked it as no-thanks  ·  review of another edition
Not that the blurb gives away much of this book and not that I was even remotely interested in it, but a review came up on my feed of someone blacklisting this book. Curious, I clicked the links to work out why.

Here is one which I feel is most impactful:

To summarise though, this author supports her husband who was a known pedophile. The above link shows her daughter saying the author herself molested her (the daughter). So, to all my friends who want to
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent Arthurian saga.
Written from the point of view of Morgaine, Arthur's half-sister and the villian of traditional Arthur tales.
Unique in perspective with strong female characters. It is a story of love; and quite different from any Arthur novel you'll ever read.
Marion Zimmer Bradley's best work. She paints a vivid picture, rich with depth of characters and relationships.
One of my favorites, I can read this over and over again.

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This is kind of a feminist version of the Arthurian legend (I say "kind of" for a reason; Nenia's review offers several reasons why it's arguably quasi-feminism at best). It's well-written but I got bored, and it was long-winded, and I simply didn't care about any of the characters. I didn't find any of them particularly likeable or sympathetic. I skimmed most of the second half. ...more
Former 4 star review. Just read an article from the author's daughter regarding the abuse she experienced from her abusive, apologist enabler mother and her pedophile father that calls into question the actions and relationships the occur in the book. ...more
Leah Williams
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a feminist work. I saw a few one-star reviews (from dudes AND ladies) of this saying that the women were boring or slutty or whatever coded misogyny nonsense, but let me get something off my chest: do not confuse "having strong female characters" with "female badass fetishization" because this book absolutely has the former.

The women were strong and they were complex and each one of them had this beautifully woven narrative. Feminine =\= unfeminist. Spinning, weaving, childbirth, mother
Meirav Rath
Dec 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young girls with romantic dreams an too many braincells to settle for cheap romance books
Recommended to Meirav by: A friend from university.
Shelves: fiction
Have you ever found yourself reading a book, knowing you're reading crap, but the writing style and the occasional promising plot twist kept you going?

Maybe I was fooled by Hallmark's production, Merlin, and I expected Morgaine to have a backbone to call her own. Zimmer Bradley took whatever hope I had of finding yet another female character to favore and crushed them; Morgaine is obsessed with who everyone marries and who gives birth to who as badly as the simple 'foolish' women she describes c
May 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers, arthurian scholars, young women, feminists
I read this book when I was in my mid-teens, and in the midst of an Arthurian obsession phase. These are mythical characters that have been written on so many times and by legendary figures who are almost myths themselves. It's a really hard subject to tackle without derision. I do think she filled a niche in what could otherwise be a very chauvinistic, idealized genre.

I haven't read this recently, so I don't know if I would still connect to it as much as I did when I read it all those years ag
This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog.

I’ve been actively reading and reviewing books for a year and a half now. In that time, my criteria for rating a book on the one to five stars scale has changed a couple of times. A few things still hold true. The book has to be exceptional and leave an indelible impression to get a five star rating from me. Three stars remains my meh-rating. It’s a book that I can objectively call a good one, something I might have even enjoyed re
Rachael Sherwood
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
When I was about a fourth of the way through The Mists of Avalon, I glanced at some reviews on GoodReads and was disheartened to see that the consensus of many reviews was that the book ended on a FEMINISMRULESMENDROOLSCHRISTIANITYSUX message. Thus far I had found the book to be more complex than that, but I could see that ending coming, as MZB is not always the subtlest of writers. However, at the end I happily conclude that seeing such a reductionist message from the text is a failing on the r ...more
Gregory Rabbitt
What can I say about this book? I understand that this is largely considered to be one of the great classics of modern fantasy literature. But personally, I found it to be a tedious, repetitive, grossly innaccurate affair that has little redeeming value. To be fair, I have to applaud Bradley for the sheer audacity of what she attempts to accomplish with this book: it's not an easy job re-conceiving the vast array of Arthurian legends. Perhaps she merely bit off a lot more than she could chew. Bu ...more
Theresa Alan
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been important to me for a long time. It’s billed as a feminist retelling of the King Arthur tale. What’s feminist about it is the radical notion that women should be able to learn to read books and play music, and maybe we shouldn’t focus so much on them being the originators of all sin because of that pesky eating of the apple (or pomegranate, depending on who’s doing the interpretation).

The main characters include those that were familiar to me at least in name: Arthur, Lancelo
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the author's very original take on this famous legend. Having Morgaine as a sympathetic character instead of the usual villain of the piece I thought worked very well. Only four stars from me though because I felt the story faltered many times especially with the constant repetitive bickering between characters about Christianity versus paganism. Obviously this was central to the book but there was just too much. And Gwenhwyfar was just awful. I have never had much sympathy for ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
What an excellent retelling of Arthurian legend from the women in the classic legends perspective. I don't know why I put this off for so long - it sat on my shelf gathering dust for far too long. This feminist retelling is a must read. I know, it's 876 pages long, but it's worth tackling. I've never seen an Arthurian retelling quite like this one - I particularly enjoyed how The Merlin and The Lady of the Lake are the titles of an office with multiple people fulfilling those roles. Otherwise, i ...more
DNF 28%. I had no idea going into this book that the author was a child abuser. I will not be reading any more.
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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

Other books in the series

Avalon (7 books)
  • The Forest House (Avalon, #2)
  • Lady of Avalon (Avalon, #3)
  • Priestess of Avalon (Avalon, #4)
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ancestors of Avalon (Avalon, #5)
  • Ravens of Avalon (Avalon #6)
  • Sword of Avalon (Avalon #7)

Articles featuring this book

Dragons, demons, kings, queens, and the occasional farm boy (with a special destiny, of course): Fantasy literature has it all! To celebrate...
476 likes · 289 comments
“There is no such thing as a true tale. Truth has many faces and the truth is like to the old road to Avalon; it depends on your own will, and your own thoughts, whither the road will take you.” 292 likes
“All gods are one god.” 162 likes
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