Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Book Details
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Hardcover, 912 Pages
2000, Del Rey
ISBN: 0345441184

This is the tragic tale of the rise and fall of Camelot - but seen through the eyes of Camelot's women: the devout Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's Queen; Vivane, High priestess of Avalon and the Lady of the Lake; above all, Morgaine, possessor of the sight, the wise, the wise-woman fated to bring ruin on them all.

The Mists of Avalon is a beautiful, enchanting, dare I say majestic, retelling of the Arthurian legend. Most know the legend of King Arthur, but The Mists of Avalon, with its strong feminine perspective looks at the story in a whole other light.

The Mists of Avalon follows Morgaine, Arthur's half sister - more commonly know in these types of stories as the evil Morgan Le Fey and Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's queen - usually known to be the innocent and easily swayed by true love Guinevere. We see a lot of religious struggle as the old ways of the Druid priestesses clash with the new Christianity.

The Mists of Avalon depicts the women as the power behind he men. While Arthur is the leader, Gwenhwyfar is the one who plants ideas in his head. The Priestesses are powerful in their own right and while that is known, they must still hide away in Avalon.

The book is long, telling an epic story - one that spans Morgaine's entire life. A variety of unseemly, even disturbing, topics are touched upon. There are no sugary happy endings here, just vivid emotions and a deep look at both religion and feminism without preachiness coming into play.

I absolutely love this book. The Mists of Avalon is epic fantasy at its finest. Truly a modern classic.



  1. I read this book ages ago--it might have been right after it released or maybe after the mini-series aired (can't remember). I loved them both--the book and the mini-series. It was just such a well-told story!

  2. Glad to hear you liked it. I have not read it but I have read The Forest House and moving towards Mists Of Avalon. Can't wait to read it.

  3. I remember seeing the movie of it - it lasted like 5 hours, so maybe it was more of a mini-series - and I thought it was awesome.

    Now you have made me want to check out the book.

  4. My husband's very favorite book, and one I too adore. We give a copy to all our nieces, nephews, and younger cousins when they turn thirteen. It's always wonderful to read a glowing review of a book you love. Thanks!

  5. Love this book too! It's in my top ten favorites of all time. Great review!

  6. I am going to have to add this one to my wish list. It is outside of my "normal" genre and I have been trying to venture outside of my comfort zone.....

  7. I read this years and years ago but remember being enchanted by it. It was neat to see the Arthur legends being told from a female point of view. It was really well done.

  8. Well, I'm hopping on the this book! I think I need to re-read's been a while. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. I haven't read this one, but I have read another book in the series. And I have to agree with you. I guess its a common thread in her books, the female perspective, religion and bitter sweet endings.

  10. I love love love this book too...AND I own the DVD, you should check out the movie if you haven't seen it!

  11. This is one of my favorite books ever! *sigh* I am glad you enjoyed it!

  12. I love this book and recommend the rest of the series (although this is the best). I read it just before I got my cats Morgaine and Merlin ;) Her book The Firebrand about the fall of Troy is excellent as well.

  13. @Felicia - I read it about 8 years ago and immediately ran out and had to buy the mini-series. Both were amazing.

    @Rosey - I'm reading them in publication order rather than chronological order. I think your way will be more enjoyable as I find that I miss the deep complexity of Mists in the later books. Leading up to this one sounds much more satisfying.

    @AnimeGirl - The movie was a mini-series and I loved it too, but the book definitely goes into more depth with the story.

    @Alexa Adams - What a wonderful tradition! I managed to get my husband to watch the mini-series but he felt it was girly (this coming from a guy who LOVED The Notebook).

    @Michelle - It's definitely way up there on my list too!

    @Julie P - I hope you do and you love it! I was so intimidated by the length and it was far outside of my comfort zone when I read it too, but once started, I couldn't put it down. I've found that most of my favorite books of all time have been ones I didn't want to read at first.

    @Jenners - I agree. I never considered the other side of the legend until I read this book. It was totally thought provoking.

    @Kathy - You're welcome!

    @Kah Woei - I haven't read any of Bradley's books apart from this series, but the Avalon books certainly all include those.

    @Vampires and Tofu - I own it and probably watch it every other year or so. Love it!

    @Monica - Mine too!

    @Rhinoa - I'll have to check out firebrand. I have avoided her books other than this series because I thought they were more straight fantasy rather than the retelling of historical legends. I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of Bradley writing about Troy.

  14. I loved this one when I read it, but it's been quite a while ago.

  15. @carolsnotebook - It's such a good book!