J.V. Seem's Reviews > The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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's review
Mar 22, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: misc-novels, arthuriana, fantasy, historical-fiction

I can count on one hand the books I'd describe as "life changing", but The Mists of Avalon is definitely one of them.

On the surface, it comes across as a family saga, detailing the lives of the women surrounding the mythical King Arthur and his court. (Many view it as the "true" story of King Arthur, it's not a fantasy novel, but comes across as highly realistic, and seems (to the untrained eye at least) to be historically correct, as far as life in the early Middle Ages goes.) The tale is told from several viewpoints, and together it makes a detailed and believable tapestry of fates; Arthur's mother Igraine; a girl bride married off to an old man trying to escape her destiny, his aunt Morgause; ambitious and cunning, his bride Gwenwhyfar; pious and god-fearing, desperately trying to please her God, Viviane; High Priestess of Avalon, who has to sacrifice everyone she loves for the greater good, but most of all, the story centers around Arthur's sister, Morgaine, a druid-trained Priestess of Avalon, feared for her wisdom and discriminated for her faith, and her struggle to keep the old druid religion alive in Britain.
It's a novel detailing all these very different women's lives, and though the story's set in times centuries past, I still think we can all have moments of recognition throughout it.

The reason I call it life-changing, though, is because of the time in which I first read it.
I was at a point in life where I was questioning a lot of big issues, and more than anything, this is a book that makes you think beyond its pages, makes you realize that there is more out there in the world than what has been laid before you all your life. It made me realize that the choices that had been presented to me, weren't all of them at all.
It made me question religion (well, even more than I already had), what people do in its name, and how women are treated by some people (both male and female) in the name of God.
The great thing about the book though, is that it doesn't really take a side in these matters, when you stop to sum it up. As the story ends, you've been presented with a very whole and complex image seen from many different viewpoints, and I suppose the moral is that of the duality in all things; nothing is entirely good, nothing is entirely evil, everything in the world has elements of both.

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Quotes J.V. Liked

Marion Zimmer Bradley
“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.”
Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon

Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2009 – Finished Reading
March 22, 2010 – Shelved
March 22, 2010 – Shelved as: misc-novels
January 20, 2014 – Shelved as: arthuriana
January 20, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 20, 2014 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

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