Becky Ginther's Reviews > The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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's review
Aug 07, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, arthurian-legend, adult, adventure

** spoiler alert ** I have completely mixed feelings for this book and I honestly don't know where to begin. In some ways I equate this book with The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand (hear me out here) - the potential for a fascinating plot, but the whole time it just felt a bit too preachy, like it was trying to get a message across. Nevertheless, like Rand's, I found that I just couldn't put this book down and couldn't stop reading it.

I did love how Bradley pulled in references to all the Arthurian legends, and her information was extremely accurate to what I personally knew. Because of that, I could sort of guess what might happen, but it was fascinating to see how she treated each event. At first I thought the novel was going to be a very feminist retelling, but it didn't come off that way at all to me. The female characters weren't shown as powerful, amazing women - they were shown as real, faulty human beings, and in that way they certainly were equal to men.

The novel comes from the point of view of Morgan de la Fay, though we also see into the lives of Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Morgause, and many of the knights of the round table. If I had to sum up the main themes of the novel they would be religion and sex. These two things might not sound like they go together all too well, but the characters were either exploring their sex lives or else arguing between the two main religions in the country.

One thing that bugged me was that I don’t feel I really got the message the novel seemed desperately trying to get across. It ends with Morgaine deciding that everything she did was right and worth it after all. And maybe I’m the naïve one, but it seems to me that the novel is just a series of people making really bad decisions, and if they hadn’t done most of the things that they did things would have at least had the potential to come out all right. I just feel that Morgaine was foolish and in the end the men often had the right idea (Kevin, for one, seemed right to me, and even Arthur in the beginning was only led astray by his wife).

Ultimately the novel was fascinating and drew me in, though I felt that certain parts were not written very clearly and at times it was hard to understand exactly what was going on or what the author wanted me to get out of the actions of the characters.

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