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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Way Through the Woods
It's only taken 25 years but it's been worth the wait. Holdstock has finally been persuaded to write a direct sequel to his World Fantasy Award winner, Mythago Wood, and it lives up to its primogenitor. After beating about the bush in tangential titles sharing the unique mythos of Ryhope Wood - some more effectively than others ('Lavondyss', which followed MW, is a novel...
Published on 27 Aug 2009 by K. Manwaring

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, no more
I saved Avilion to read over Christmas and therefore avoided reviews and websites. Finished it 2 days ago to discover Rob had died in November. It's tragic that this is his last published work as I think he has been been one of the finest novelists writing in English since Mythago Wood was first published. Avilion, though good, for me isn't his best: I would take...
Published on 10 Jan 2010 by Faustino Beardsley

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4.0 out of 5 stars Are we all figments of imagination? If so, whose?, 27 Aug 2010
Mrs. Pauline Mardell "Pauline Lincs" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is the follow on to Mythago Wood and takes you on yet another journey into the imagination and the earth. It throws up so many questions and gives so many answers - if you can find them! Apart from this, I could not put it down until I closed at the last page.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel, 17 May 2010
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Avilion is the long awaited (25 years awaited) sequel to Holdstock's award winning Mythago Wood. Of course there have been other books in the meantime, many of which share the world of Ryhope Wood and its Myth Images or Mythagos. This, however, is the first time Holdstock has taken the original characters and brought them back to life.

First of all if you have never read Mythago Wood then you should. Not only will it bring a breath of clarity to the events in this story but it's a bloody good book in it's own right. Spoiler alert - If you don't want to know what happened in Mythago Wood look away now. Clearly it's not possible to describe the plot of this current novel without giving something away.

In Mythago Wood George Huxely and his sons Stephen and Christian live on the edge of Ryhope Wood. This place has special powers and brings to life the myths imagined by the people who enter it. Ultimately George disappears and Stephen and Christian whilst searching for him fall in love with the beautiful Celtic Princess Guiwenneth.

Avilion starts with the children of Steven and Guiwenneth, Jack and Yssobel. Guiwenneth has disappeared and Yssobel sets off to find her whilst Jack is drawn to his fathers world outside Ryhope Wood. Eventually the characters are all drawn together in a dramatic conclusion.

For me Mythago Wood and Avilion are at their strongest when the boundaries between our world and the Mythago world are veiled. That slight interaction that hints of ghosts and memories is truly powerful and was used best in Merlin's Wood (the short story collection which includes the prequel to Mythago Wood). Once unveiled the myths become less magical and the book becomes a much more standard fantasy story. Much of Avilion takes place in this fully formed Arthurian world and for me is a less powerful book as a result.

That's not to say its not well written. Holdstock's beautiful and evocative descriptive prose is fully honed and works well in describing both our own world and that of the mythagos. The plot, whilst simple at heart is interwoven with time jumps and character viewpoints which create quite a complex web of material. This is a book that requires some effort.

So for me Avilion is a good book if not quite a great book. The strongest parts of both books are the interactions between Mythagos and humans, Jack's ventures into our world are strange mysterious and powerful which makes the rest of the book slightly less powerful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AVILION FAILS TO DELIVER, 22 May 2010
I share Sarah Hardcastles review thoughts - I think the problem was that Mythago Wood is such an amazing book, the whole concept of the wood containing whole cultures, heroes etc was unique. At its heart it was a simple love story between Guiwenneth and Stephen which was threatened by the embittered older brother Christian. The interplay between Guiwenneth and Stephen was of two people in love. I breathed every kiss, i felt the same sorrow at the parting. The ending gave us, the reader, hope that they had got back together.

Moving on to the fantastic Lavondyss (the amazing Tallis and the masks through which she journeyed after her older brother) and you have two great books - i have never felt that Robert got near to reaching the same heights again - i suppose, like us, he wrote the early books when in a different place from now. Avilion just did not entrance me - i found whole passages boring - the whole Arthur part just came out of left field - dont get me wrong, i love Arthurian lore BUT i read this book to find out more about Stephen and Guiwenneth - i dont not want long tales about her daughter or about Odysseus - the story jumped back and forwards and i just could not get into it. The only part that half interested me was when Jack was out on the edge of the world and his interplay with the lay preacher. Guiwenneth turned out to be a bitter and twisted old woman who killed Christian - end of story i suppose for her but for me, it summed up a book that had no real purpose.

I am of course sorry to hear that Robert had died last year - no more books which is a pity BUT if im honest, if he had put down his pen after Lavondyss i, for one, would have been happy as the first two books reputation would have remained intact.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTING!!, 24 Sep 2009
I am, as one of the previous reviewer's put it, a 'diehard fan of Holdstock/the Mythago Wood novels' so it was with real joy when I saw that a true sequel to Mythago Wood had been written. 'Mythago Wood' deservedly won the World Fantasy Award, however 'Avilion' would not even make the shortlist.

The book is dull and repetitious and explores aspects of his other novels that are best left alone, such as Legion. We learn very little about the developed characters of Stephen and Christian despite their important roles in the book, and the appearance of the ghost/mythago George Huxley is like an embarrassing guest appearance of Michael Gambon in any future Harry Potter films.

The characters of Jack and Yssobel are flat and boring and they are unremittingly tedious in their journeys to here and there and this and that place when they really would prefer to stay in one place after all.

The only character worthy of merit was Won't Tell, but sadly he featured little and only as a few words to remind us of his presence.

For me the only other Holdstock book worthy of ranking beside Mythago Wood, and indeed winning the World Fantasy Award, is the rather over-looked 'Lavondyss' which I would certainly take as my chosen book to a desert island!
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Avilion (Mythago Wood 7)
Avilion (Mythago Wood 7) by Robert Holdstock
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