“Lancelot: Morgaine, Morgaine – kinswoman, I have never seen you weep.
Morgaine: Are you like so many men, afraid of a woman’s tears? (…)
Lancelot: No (…) it makes them seem so much more real, so much more vulnerable – women who never weep frighten me, because I know they are stronger than I, and I am always a little afraid of what they will do.”
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is a fantastic, engaging and brilliantly written piece of literature. A retelling of the classic arthurian tale, this novel follows the females who played an important, but hidden role in the original story. Morgaine, the fairy-woman with abilities beyond comprehension, Gwenhwyfar; the pious and fragile queen, Morgause; the beautiful and ambitious aunt to Morgaine, and the powerful, but ageing Lady of the Lake, Viviane.
This novel- narrated by Morgaine primarily, with a healthy amount of input by the lovely ladies mentioned just then, and more- focus’ on the battle between Christianity, and the religion of Avalon (paganism, I believe) and the effects this battle has on the people. All the tales of heroism by the knights of the round table and Arthur are told throughout the novel, but they take place in the background as we focus on the women. This novel is a story of love, power and religion with more than a dash of medieval feminism at it’s finest.
(though let’s be real for a sec, there is no such thing as medieval feminism, it just sounded cool and I’m leaving it in. Any complaints can be directed to the email address Idontcareletmelive@itscalledcreativefreedom.com.au thanks)
I feel like it’s obvious by now, but I really like the book. At least, most of it. But good first, then the bad.
- Writing- The writing is quite lovely, with well written descriptions and nicely paced story telling. The writing almost has a Shakespearean quality to it, with the twisting and flipping of sentence structure, and the formal, ancient way they speak.
“All the tears women shed, they leave no mark on the world…”
- Characters- This is probably one of the reasons that, after I started, I couldn’t stop. The characters were well developed, interesting, in depth and well written. They drew me in, make me cringe, laugh (in my head) and want to cry. They were relatable, in an odd way. After all, we all know those who are religious zealots, like so many of the characters, we see people who are ambitious and cruel, and we all want to be Morgaine.
I mean, some parts of her life are a bit undesirable. (remember the time she had sex with…. oops, spoilers ;D)
- Plot- Similar enough to be familiar, but with enough differences you don’t get bored. Filled with romance, murder, plots and war, it’s sure to keep you on your toes. Normally, I’m not a goer for romance, but when it’s an ever-changing subplot, it’s difficult to roll your eyes and groan with frustration. Which I normally do with romance. Mentally, at least. But, The Mists of Avalon nicely dilutes the romance with much more interesting things, like all the bloody wars, and cheating, and moral struggles.
HOWEVER- This book is not perfect.
For one thing, it’s very big. Forewarning y’all (ew), if you struggle to read big books…uh, then, um, goodluck. My copy is 1009 pages.
Also, it’s got a bad cover. I know, but you know what they say about books, and covers, and judging.
My main issue with this book (I only have 2) is the religious prattle.
nOW. I don’t have an issue with religion (that sounds like the “omg i tots can’t be racist, i have, like, tons of black friends” mentality, oops) No, but for real, I don’t have an issue with religion. You do you, boo, but this book kiiinda talks about itallthetimeomgshutup. There is a ton of discussion about laws regarding Christianity and the Pagan religion the ‘old people’ follow. There’s lots of “my faith is better than yours” hooha, which gets very dull, very quickly. The way the writing is (yes I gushed about it before, but whatever) means that this kind of talk is roundabout and dreary, repeating the same junk over and over.
now i think about it that could be the point maybe?!?!?!???
My other issue is the characters.
Many of them.
This is the best character map I could find, and it’s a bit overcomplicated. Here’s the link so you can zoooom in if you want
There’s not much to say, it’s fairly self explanatory. There’s a TON of characters with complicated backstories. The easiest one to remember is Kevin. Yes, among the Agaiwaines, Lyoness’, Iseults and Mordreds, there’s a Kevin.
ANYWAYs, it’s still a wonderful book, I do recommend it, but only to readers with stamina and/or determination. and glasses (the print is very small).
Over all, 4/5 planets. I’m doing planets, cause I can. I might do it differently next time, I might not. You’ll just have to wait and see.
So, I hoped you found this educational, informative, amusing or… just something to read when you’re bored. Drop a comment below or ‘like’ this, cause I spent a few hours on this, plus I had several scares when I thought it deleted. Please say if you liked this, agreed/disagreed, have some kind and constructive criticism, have a suggestion for a different book to review or just wanna say hi! This is my first real blog/post (I still don’t know the lingo oops) and I’d appreciate it a ton if you supported me!
Till next time,