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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mythical, magical, but ultimately human story
I am, perhaps, somewhat biased about this book. I've read it, probably, at least a dozen times: let's put it this way, my hardcover copy is falling apart. Clearly I'm a fan, not just of Arthurian fiction but of Marion Zimmer Bradley as well.
A life-long enjoyment of Arthuriana will teach you one very clear thing: there is no definitive story or Arthur, and therefore...
Published on July 6 2004 by Toni Kamsler

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a feminist book
People who consider this a feminist book are mistaken. Bradley's depiction of women in "Mists" is insulting to say the least. Women in "Mists" are either manipulative harpies or whining fools. All are small-minded, all are insecure, and all are incredibly self-centered.
I am so tired of this idea that to be a feminist means that you dislike men...
Published on July 27 2002 by Stephanie R


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mythical, magical, but ultimately human story, July 6 2004
By 
Toni Kamsler (Smithtown, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Hardcover)
I am, perhaps, somewhat biased about this book. I've read it, probably, at least a dozen times: let's put it this way, my hardcover copy is falling apart. Clearly I'm a fan, not just of Arthurian fiction but of Marion Zimmer Bradley as well.
A life-long enjoyment of Arthuriana will teach you one very clear thing: there is no definitive story or Arthur, and therefore all interpretations are as valid as the next. The existence of Arthur can barely be proven, and his identity is certainly up for debate. The stories of Camelot, the Round Table, and certainly of Lancelot and Guinevere are all Norman-French additions to a tale set hundreds of years prior in the Dark Ages. Arthur is an enduring legend but, as we know him, mostly a legend nonetheless.
Bradley's story, then, of the tale of Arthur through the women who knew him, is no less valid an interpretation than any of the rest, and certainly a unique one. Rich with its own legends and myths, "The Mists of Avalon" begins with Igraine, and goes forward through the eyes of Viviane, Morgaine, Morgause, and Gwenhwyfar, each with their own perspective on what truly were momentous times in the history of Britain. As Arthurian myth, it stands on its own two feet as well as any other, with its tales of war, love, religion, loyalty and betrayal spread across and repeated through several generations, closing with the end of an era and the beginning of Saxon rule over the island.
It is also, however, a tale of one human woman, Morgaine, and her life: her beginnings, her path, her faith, her love, her choices, her mistakes, and ultimately, her will to survive. The lesson of "The Mists of Avalon" that I take with me each time I read it is this: we are born to strive towards something, and in the struggle, we sometimes misstep along the way. It is our free will that gives us the ability to make mistakes, and also to accept them, later, as part of being human. It is, in many ways, the struggle that matters most, not the outcome.
This is the lesson of Morgaine's life, and it is what makes "The Mists of Avalon" a life-altering experience for me, and for many others who have read and taken it to their hearts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Turning Point of my Summer, June 28 2004
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
WOW. This book is fantastic in every way. I recommend this book to anyone--at any time--in any place. This book has changed my life and the way I look at things. PLEASE READ IT! Please make me feel as if I am not the only one who has had a part in this beautiful story of the women of Camelot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avalon views Arthur, Jan. 9 2014
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
I am now genuinely impressed.

It was a little slow to start, but it is ending very well. The theme of the book is a little unusual. It proposes to re-tell the legend of King Arthur but from the women's point of view. It is more, Arthur from Avalon's point of view.I have read at least a dozen different versions of this legend, so I know all of the major elements that are usually found in it. They are all here, in this book, but I have never seen them so well addressed and so well integrated to the story.

There are many, new, differences. For instance, there is no "sword in the stone"; that is just superstitious peasant gossip. Morgan Le Fey is usually portrayed as a twisted and villainous Evil Sorceress. In this book, she is the most sympathetic, most loved and most respected heroine. She calls her Morgaine of the Fairies. But, we can understand very well how she could be seen as the Evil Sorceress. It is as if the legend had always been told from the perspective of the Christian church. The Victor writes History.

The author also throws in all kinds of other things. She even brings in Tristan and Isolde, though she calls them Durstan and Isotte. She gives a scathing account of St. Patrick, whom she calls Bishop Patricius. We have always been told that St. Patrick rid the isle of Ireland of its snakes. I always had a problem with this. How many snakes could possibly have lived in Ireland? But, Morgaine explains that Patricius was not at all referring to reptiles. He meant the Celtic Druids. These are the "snakes" he eliminated in Ireland.

I think I will remember this book as the best account of the King Arthur legend that I have ever read. It certainly makes a lot more sense than any of the others
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, March 24 2013
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
This story was written from a woman's perspective in the times of King Arthur. Its a Mystical and Magical story to read with a interesting twist from all the other versions of King Arthur that I have ever read. I have already read this book two times and I plan to read it again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorites!, Feb. 16 2007
By 
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
It's been years since I've read this book - I just remember reading it and feeling such a spiritual epiphany.... I love magic!

The author of this great story has since passed away - what a tragic loss!

Definitely recommend this book to all fantasy lovers :)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a feminist book, July 27 2002
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
People who consider this a feminist book are mistaken. Bradley's depiction of women in "Mists" is insulting to say the least. Women in "Mists" are either manipulative harpies or whining fools. All are small-minded, all are insecure, and all are incredibly self-centered.
I am so tired of this idea that to be a feminist means that you dislike men. Since when is a "strong woman" a woman who puts down and manipulates men at every turn? I have better words for women like that.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I wonder, Nov. 18 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
I wonder how this happened. One of the mysteries of my life. How did this book get such reviews and such comments?
I'll get to the point... I read a lot of fantasy and also some science books. I've read some BORING technical books on subjects as chaos theory, but this was one of the books I had to struggle most to be able to finish.
In one word. DULL. This could have been a good book, but with 40% of the size or less. Hundreds and hundreds of pages where NOTHING happens.
The characters (or some of their aspects) are a insult to the arthurian legends. Little action happens, this book is WAY too long for what it offers.
It's kinda like a slow SOAP OPERA from a female point of view (example: many lines describing women seweing while warriors are at battle but no details about what is going on outside the castle).
Comparisions to Tolkien are a joke. What has this to do with J.R.R? Do not compare the master to a soap opera writer.
Give me a break, I'd give it 4 stars if it were a 200 page book, but it's really too long for such empty, boring characters.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yuck, April 27 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
As a teenager, I loved this book. Now I am 30, and have this to say:
- much too long - bad ending - demonizing one's opponents: the hallmark of the bad writer
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Political agenda masquerading as storytelling., July 20 2003
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
I read "The Mists of Avalon" a number of years ago and was, to say the least, underwhelmed. But I certainly understand why it became a best-seller: it was a thinly-veiled radical feminist, neo-pagan, anti-Christian screed. And I'm saying this as an agnostic, almost atheistic, Jewish woman who is certainly not anti-feminist. I'm very glad to see that a number of other readers -- though too small a fraction of the 700+ reviewers here -- share my opinion.
Others have mentioned the factual arguments against "Mists": that by the time Arthur supposedly lived, Britain was already mostly Christian; that the "matriarchy" allegedly embraced by everyone in Europe before those eeeeevil Xtians came along has been greatly exaggerated by feminist scholars; and that paganism had its own shortcomings, notably human sacrifice. Everyone knows that the Church burned millions of "witches" in the Middle Ages; fewer know that the pagan Celts often locked their human sacrifices in giant wicker cages and burned them to death therein.
I don't recall all that much about the female protagonists Morgaine, Morgause, Igraine, and Viviane, except that there was a fair amount of whining and other uncommendable behavior. I do recall, however, Bradley's malicious trashing of her male characters and also Guinevere ("Gwenhwyfar," which is the original Welsh spelling). Arthur, as someone else mentioned, is [so weak] that you wonder how such a character might have ruled a lemonade stand, let alone a feud-rent nation of disparate clans and tribes. Lancelot has about as much depth as a male Calvin Klein underwear model. Gwenhwyfar's father is the typical insensitive, domineering patriarch. And so on and so forth.
The only man I seem to remember NOT getting savaged was Merlin -- and I'm hardly commending MZB's treatment of him, as he was reduced to nothing more than the doddering living representative of the Horned God with whom the priestesses mated during the fertility festivals. From Bradley's book, you'd never know of the awe-inspiring figure Merlin has traditionally cut as sorceror, sage, and protector of the infant Arthur.
But the worst-treated character by far in "Mists" is Gwenhwyfar, who is little but stereotype: that of the naïve, narrow-minded, puritanical, high-strung, and ultimately deceitful Christian woman. Nobility and royalty are of course no guarantee of anyone's character, but highborn women of Britain and Europe (at least until Victorian times) were generally raised to command large corps of servants, oversee their many and varied duties, take charge when the men were away at war, and certainly pitch in with the work themselves. You'd think that a woman who in legend was queen for some 20 years, and whose country was in her day at the outer reaches of civilization, would have more resourcefulness, practicality, spine, and shrewdness, even if she wasn't an admirable character.
Other readers have taken Bradley to task for the incest scenes, not realizing that Arthur's coupling with his half-sister (Morgause and Morgaine are sometimes merged into one character, as in Mary Stewart's books) that produces Mordred is central to the legend. Totally foreign to it, however, is the ménage-à-trois between Arthur, Gwenhwyfar, and Lancelot, justified in their minds by Arthur's inability to impregnate his wife. Though that scene mercifully stops short before Bradley could get into any graphic detail, to me it symbolizes everything that's wrong with this novel: the legend's best-known characters, already repeatedly depicted as lily-livered, are now painted as amoral hypocrites, just so Bradley can make the other female characters into heroines for the age of political correctness.
And, like just about any book that runs for 800-odd pages and six decades, "Mists" is too damn long and rambling -- it's the "Shogun" or "War and Peace" of Arthurian fantasy. I wonder if Bradley's editor(s) simply trusted her work based on her reputation and didn't bother to examine it too closely, perhaps fearing that such a superstar of fantasy wouldn't have brooked the severe editing job the book badly needed, and just might have taken it to another publishing house out of pique.
Given all the five-star reviews, I doubt my opinion will sway any of its fans among the teeny pagan set, or among adult women who loved it *because* of its polemics. So let me reiterate what others have suggested: that they read other retellings of the story such as Gillian Bradshaw's "In Winter's Shadow" (told from Gwenhwyfar's viewpoint); Mary Stewart's Arthurian tetralogy; Diana L. Paxson's own series on the subject, as well as her novel "The White Raven" (a reworking of the Tristan and Iseult romance narrated by Iseult's handmaiden); and, finally, a book by a (gasp!) male author, Parke Godwin, called "Firelord," which is from Arthur's perspective but is highly sympathetic to "Morgana," as he calls her.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTMENT FROM A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BOOK, Dec 20 2003
By 
M. Ryan "lucy146" (MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mists of Avalon (Paperback)
I read this book a number of years ago based on rave reviews by a number of my friends. I was unable to finish it. I slogged
through 3/4ths of it before giving up. It was quite awhile ago so I can't go into too many specifics but i do remember flat,
unsympathetic, un-likable characters. The women all seemed to view themselves as victims. Strong women, even if victimized
usually don't have the time to wallow in self pity as these characters seemed to. It all became too irritating & honestly too boring
for me.
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The Mists of Avalon
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Paperback - May 12 1987)
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