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4.4 out of 5 stars129
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 October 2002
At its absolute best, this book is just plain fun and appeared in my life when I was discovering interests in both Arthurian legend and paganism.

Told through the experience of the women of King Arthur's court, the book takes a unique look at the familiar legend and embraces most, if not all, of the female characters involved in the tale in a manner and depth not found in more classical renderings. This beautifully fulfills the ultimate aim of any fictional re-telling of a familiar story: to light a faded tapestry to show threads of a more brilliant hue, thus drawing the eye and satisfying the heart with heretofore unrecognised hidden depths.

The main character, Morgaine, classically known as Morgan le Fay, is traditionally presented in the simplest terms as the nemesis of King Arthur. In The Mists of Avalon, she is portrayed in a rather more forgiving and heroic light. Convinced by what she interprets as the inexorable erosion of her native mystic-Celtic tradition to the tide of Christianity sweeping the land, she calls upon her childhood training and deeply held beliefs to battle what she sees as the death of her culture, to ultimately find that the only absolute is change and the only firm ground upon which to stand is love.

The voice of the book is not limited to Morgaine, also represented are Gwenhwyfar, Morgause, Igraine, Vivian and Nimue, all contributing their own often humourous, often heart-rending, maddening and unforgettable accounts of reality in their own thoughts and words. This book forges a feeling of having re-discovered nearly every woman you have ever known and realise you never really forgot.
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on 22 July 2002
Anyone who has any interest in anything pagan or pre-christian would definitely love this beautifully written and cleverly crafted book. It is very much a tale of enchantment and magik. Marianne Zimmer-Bradley takes you on a mystical and at times whimsical journey through the changing times of England from before the reign of Arthur to after his death. The reader is taken through the realms of faery and across the mists to the isle of Avalon which is forever under threat as a result of the narrow minded, ever punishing christian priests. The main character, Morgaine le Fay, through whose eyes we see all this is portrayed in a very sympathetic light in comparison to most other Arthurian tales who tell of her as an evil temptress continuously plotting for Arthur's downfall.
This is a truly magikal book and i doubt i shall ever read another book like it.
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on 4 January 2005
I first read this book when I was 13 years old. It made an enormous impression on me. I had never read a book like that!Since then I have re-read it several times and it will remain my favourite book of all time.
I made me think different about a lot of things in my life. I was brought up Catholic, but after reading MOA, I started reading other books and learned a lot more. It was also my first encounter with 'feminisme'. I felt connected with Morgaine in a lot of ways, and it made me stronger.
This is the book that opened a whole new world for me, and I do not mean Wicca or any other religion.
I now realise I read this book at a crucial age in my life, from child to young woman. I have recommended the book to several friends and they all agree it is something very special.
I am expecting my first child now, and if it is a girl, I will certainly give her my book and tell her all about it, when the time is right.
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on 18 July 1999
This book was what started my obsession with all things relating to King Arthur. I read this book faster than I've ever read any book, and after I'd finished it, I read it again! All of the best known (and some of the not so well known) ledgends are there. Marion Zimmer Bradley causes you to feel sympathy for all of the characters- even the ones that we are told are evil. This is one of the most engaging books I have ever read.
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on 23 May 2005
This book is an absolutely fabulous retelling of the Arthurian saga. It is wonderfully written (Bradley is a genius anyway - I recommend strongly 'The Forests of Avalon' and 'Lady of Avalon') and really resonates deeply with you. She makes the characters totally relateable but at the same time forces you to question them on several occasions. I simply couldn't put it down. The emotions run like a silver thread through this book and the sense of desperation makes it pull at your heart. Excellent, wonderfully crafted and loaded with beautiful imagery. An absolute must for anyone, but especially fantasy lovers.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 September 2006
This book re-tells the story of King Arthur and his knights, from the perspective of the women. This is partly what attracted me to it - as another reviewer described, it is unashamedly female - but the other aspect of the book's attraction for me was the description of how Christianity and 'paganism' collide. Due to personal changes in my life, as I have grown into womanhood, I have become more and more interested in Goddess religion / wisdom. For me, Christianity just does not have the same respect for what is female. Having now finished THE MISTS OF AVALON, I can easily say that the book did not disappoint. I found the way Zimmer Bradley wrote about Christianity and the Goddess truly inspiring. I loved the way she presented an alternative way to live a religious life, detailing different ways of performing ritual, and detailing differences in religions see certain behaviours, or acts. For example, how the expression of sexuality differed - from the Christian perspective we are told that woman is responsible for the original sin in the Garden of Eden, while from the Goddess perspective, sex is not a sinful act, but sacred.

This book was truly a breath of fresh air for me, I think I shall treasure it, and I shall certainly make the time to read it again in the future.

Highly recommended.
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on 30 May 1999
The Mists of Avalon is a wonderful piece of writing that really has to be seen to be believed. Yes I know it's a bit airy fairy, but at least she stuck to the story! Written for once from the point of view of the femmes of Camelot it makes a change for it not to be a boys band bash about. The only problem that I really had with this book is with Kevin. What on earth prompted this character name when the others have groovy ones like Taliesin, Igraine, Uther....and Kevin. Still can't stone a man for his mother's mistake. A brilliant book well worth a read.
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on 14 January 2013
This is a long book and not really for the faint hearted.
A very clever retelling of the Arthurian legend,told solely from a female perspective.
It is much cleverer than the usual scenario of... Morgaine bad...Arthur good.
It is indeed a battle for power...but not so one dimensional as a battle for the throne,but more a battle for the hearts and minds of men.
If the author does go off at times on a tangent,then she more than makes up for it,by offering the reader a story which is rich in imagery,character and mythology.
A really good read.
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on 13 February 2013
I chose to give this book a five star rating due to the fact that aside from taking a completely different view on a classic story the book that you are buying is not just the first book in the series but actually all of them. This means that this product is great value for money!

The story is also very well crafted and intelligently written with deep characters. It focuses mainly of the lives of the women of the court of King Arthur starting with his mother, aunts and wife but mainly the life of his sister, Morgaine who is traditionally the villain in the story. With this retelling of the story you really find yourself empathizing with all of the characters, especially Morgaine and Gwenyfar.

This story is above all a story of love that ends in tragedy and is perfect for anyone who has an interest in fantasy or history and can appreciate this epic story.
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on 20 November 2014
A real gem of a book. The Mists of Avalon is entrancing from start to finish. I don't deny, it's tough going at times because of its length, but I'm 16 and I managed it without much difficulty. It's the sort of book which makes you see the real beauty of the world, as well as giving a fascinating retelling of the Arthurian legend. I have read reviews about it in the past which were written in anger by people who thought the book was an irrational scorning of men and Christianity and not worth the read. I mention this as I disagree entirely. There is conflict between women and men, between Christianity and Druidism most definitely. But I think, personally, that people who criticised the book on this front clearly were not reading the end properly. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever had doubts about the goodness of the world which we have been blessed with.
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