Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mists of Avalon

Oh my goodness, this was a long book.   Although the word epic has become cliche, this story truly is epic as it takes place over a long period of time, it is long in itself, and it follows the legendary actions of the characters.  So, epic is fitting for this.

Let me tell you.  I missed the boat on this one.  Most people that didn't read it upon its release in 1982, read this in high school.  Not I.  I waited an extra 20 years so I could have some perspective.  In high school, I read Mary Stewarts take on the same legend.  Very good I would recommend it as well.  Currently, I am not huge on Fantasy.  I just don't get into it that much, maybe because of the cliches that Nick pointed out on a post several years ago.  I will pick some up from time to time, but always with concern.  I have been burnt by good fantasy and bad.  Considering the source material was well loved and 30 years old, I felt safe with this one. 

We all know what this story is about, it is an Arthurian Legend.  This book takes the point of view of Morgaine, Arthur's sister.  It is possibly the most widely accepted contemporary telling of the legend.  Marion Zimmer Bradley has not wowwed me in the past but this one is good. 

Plot-  It is King Arthur, we all know what is going to happen.  Or do we?  Bradley changes quite a bit.  She made it her own, dawg.  She took the frame of the legend and built her own creation on it. 

Characters-Halfway through the book I hated every single character.  The were well written, maybe a bit one dimensional, but I hated them.  A couple were redeemed later, but at one point I toyed with putting the book down because there was not one single redeaming character.  Overall it was good though.  I think the fact that she could make me despise the characters so much was because I had grown to care about them. 

Overall the book was good.  I have heard it called a feminist take on the subject and I partially agree with that.  It has strong women characters, but they are generally seen as evil or ignorant.  I think high school is about the right age to read this book, but I don't think older readers will be disappointed.  Subject matter and sexuality makes it unsuitable to a less mature audience. 

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SteveB said...

I remember reading this a back in college I think. I mean, 30 years ago, it was a pretty "feminist" interpretation of the story, though I don't think today that anyone would give such strong female characters a second thought.

There was a decent miniseries of it about 10 years ago, too with Julianna Marguiles as the lead.

TS Hendrik said...

I read it when I was 16 and huge into all things Arthurian. I remember liking it but not really much else.

Pat Tillett said...

I read this one a long time ago also. I never saw the miniseries. The book was pretty good but seemed a bit (or a lot) too feminist in nature... Still good though

Budd said...

It kind of smacks you in the face with woman power. It also bashes you over the head with anit christian sentiment (more anti catholicism really).

DEZMOND said...

I've never read the book, but I did actually rather enjoy the television mini-series based upon it from a few years ago.

Budd said...

I may have to check out the mini.