Book Review: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Details from Amazon:

  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (May 12 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345350499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345350497

    I read this book about 14 years ago for a course in Science-Fiction and Fantasy at Memorial University. The Mists of Avalon by the late, great Marion Zimmer Bradley is one of my favourite books. It has everything I wanted in a fantasy book, action, intrigue, political (and literal) back-stabbing, sex (even an orgy) and a unique take on the Arthur and his knights of the round table.

    Not to brag but even though this book was over 900 pages I read it in 4 days, I couldn’t put it down (and like lots of Arts students I had the time Smile I also studied it for the course so I learned a fair bit about it. This is a feminist book as it is told entirely from the point of view of the female characters, this doesn’t take anything away from it and in fact enhances it in my opinion.

    What I liked:

    Everything! It’s a wonderful book. It is filled with interesting characters, great plot twists, magic, action, sex, religion, basically you name it and it’s in there. The plot occurs over a 20-30 year period (if I recall correctly) so a lot happens. Arthur is born, finds Excalibur and takes the throne but plenty more happens both before and after this point.


    One of the parts I really loved was when Lancelot finds the Holy Grail at the end and is blinded by it. he is a monk by this point at tremendously different than he was when first introduced. By the end of the novel religion itself changes as pagan worship dies out and is replaced by Christianity. The ending is not all sad though as Lancelot does have a final battle (and kicks some ass!) and he doesn’t eventually run off with Guinevere. Mordred does get what’s coming to him and only Sir Galahad is pure enough of heart and spirit to see and touch the Holy Grail. For such a huge book I’m summarizing a tremendous amount here, you really owe it to yourself if you are any kind of fantasy fan to read it (unless you are very sensitive to different religious ideas of course).

    The language, the atmosphere, the attention to details, it’s all here and wonderful. I give this 10/10, I was sad to see it end and I would have read more. Morgan Le Fay is a beautiful, sexy, strong, smart and ultimately tragic character. You ride an emotional journey with her throughout the whole novel.

    p.s. in case you were wondering I gave “Merrick” (from the last review) 7/10 for reasons I went into in depth.

    p.p.s. this is turning into a review blog but that’s fine with me Smile



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