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The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Mists of Avalon (1982)

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,176266279 (4.08)2 / 630
When Morgan le Fay (Morgaine) has to sacrifice her virginity during fertility rites, the man who impregnates her is her younger brother Arthur, whom she turns against when she thinks he has betrayed the old religion of Avalon.
  1. 134
    Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey (cataylor)
  2. 102
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (krasiviye.slova)
    krasiviye.slova: Similar decline and fall of the matriarchy theme, with different spins.
  3. 50
    Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Very similar subject on mythology, Celts, Druids, and Matriarchy.
  4. 30
    The Language of the Goddess by Marija Gimbutas (CurrerBell)
  5. 30
    Confessions of a Pagan Nun: A Novel by Kate Horsley (fyrefly98)
  6. 41
    Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (alchymyst)
  7. 20
    The Song of Albion Collection: The Paradise War, The Silver Hand, and The Endless Knot by Stephen Lawhead (charlie68)
    charlie68: Also a fun blend of early British myths.
  8. 20
    Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray (legxleg)
    legxleg: I am pairing these two books together because both have a thread of female-centric religion struggling to survive.
  9. 21
    Queen of Camelot by Nancy Mckenzie (lannabrooke13, wordcauldron)
    lannabrooke13: I personally thought Mckenzie's version was much more realistic and engaging!
    wordcauldron: My favorite retelling of Arthurian legend. Period.
  10. 10
    Hild by Nicola Griffith (kiwiflowa)
  11. 10
    The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley (AniIma)
    AniIma: Fantastic, mythical, Arthurian Legend. Wonderful and skillfull storytelling by the author, Marion Zimmer Bradley.
  12. 11
    Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (ktoonen)
    ktoonen: Similar writing style, with strong feminist themes in epic fantasy.
  13. 11
    The Wolf Hunt by Gillian Bradshaw (cataylor)
  14. 11
    Bulfinch's Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch (charlie68)
    charlie68: Another fun group of myths.
  15. 00
    Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw (MissBrangwen)
  16. 00
    Votan and Other Novels (Fantasy Masterworks) by John James (LamontCranston)
  17. 00
    The White Mare by Jules Watson (al.vick)
  18. 01
    The Circle Cast by Alex Epstein (Bitter_Grace)
  19. 12
    The Black Chalice by Marie Jakober (lquilter)
    lquilter: Like Bradley's Mists of Avalon, Marie Jakober's The Black Chalice has similar patriarchy-superseding-matriarchal-magic themes, but with Germanic mythology. Beautifully written.
  20. 02
    Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (charlie68)
    charlie68: Also a tale of knights.

(see all 20 recommendations)


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English (248)  Dutch (9)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  All languages (265)
Showing 1-5 of 248 (next | show all)
  5083mitzi | Apr 24, 2020 |
One of the best re-tellings of the Arthurian legend, from the perspective of Morgan Le Fey. ( )
  MollyMouse | Mar 22, 2020 |
So, this book took me about a month to finish. It was enjoyable, for the most part, but it was also somewhat exhausting, which is why it took so long.

My biggest question is: Why on earth is this called "feminist literature"? Is it because Morgaine has a personality and does what she wants now and then? Does that make this book qualified to be "feminist"? Because I really don't think it was at all. Gwenhwyfar was one of the most anti-feminist, irritating, ridiculous characters I've ever had the misfortune to read about, and while Morgaine and Viviane were strong characters, I definitely wouldn't call them feminists.

Gwen was a nasty, simpering fool and the entire time I was reading this book, I was wishing she would either run away or die. Unfortunately, her ending felt very rushed to me, and I didn't feel that she received the development or the redemption that she deserved.

Arthur...Arthur was kind of a disappointment. He seemed like a nice enough fellow, but he was so weak willed, he allowed himself to be controlled by everyone around him. I expected more of him than that. I definitely didn't expect him to be so easily manipulated by Gwen.

Mordred was also a disappointment to me. The character who began as a very intriguing young boy ended up being a bit flat in the end, no more than a villain. I don't really understand why he did what he did. Not for Morgaine, not for Morgause even, and certainly not for himself. So why? I'm very clear on this within all other Arthurian works I'm familiar with, it just seemed as though the author expected us to be familiar with the legend and know that he was going to kill Arthur, rather than giving us his motivation herself.

Morgaine and Viviane's interpretations of the Goddess as opposed to the Christian God were kind of...frustrating, to me. Most of the time, I went along with what they were saying, but sometimes they were so hypocritical, it was infuriating. They criticized the Christians for controlling their women, robbing themselves of happy sex lives, and being "slaves" - all good points. Meanwhile, the priestesses themselves were slaves to the Goddess, doing her will regardless of all of the misery it caused them, and even dying so that her will could be done. I don't see the difference here. They're doing the same things.

By the end of the book, I was happy with where Morgaine had ended up. I thought the ending scene with Lionors was beautiful and was what Morgaine deserved by that point.

This review was typed in a hurry while I'm doing other things, so I apologize for the rushed quality of it. Overall, I give this book 4 of 5 stars. ( )
  Midhiel | Mar 18, 2020 |
A long time fave ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
This was a much slower read than I remember from before. It started to get more gripping half way through, but it was definitely interesting to learn so much about all the women in Arthur's life. I look forward to seeing how Avalon adapts in the next books. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 248 (next | show all)
In ''The Mists of Avalon,'' Marion Zimmer Bradley's monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends, the story begins differently, in the slow stages of female desire and of moral, even mythic, choice. Stepping into this world through the Avalon mists, we see the saga from an entirely untraditional perspective: not Arthur's, not Lancelot's, not Merlin's. We see the creation of Camelot from the vantage point of its principal women - Viviane, Gwynyfar, Morgaine and Igraine. This, the untold Arthurian story, is no less tragic, but it has gained a mythic coherence; reading it is a deeply moving and at times uncanny experience.

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marion Zimmer Bradleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bralds, BraldtCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herranen, PaulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ohl, ManfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sartorius, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"...Morgan le Fay was not married, but put to school in a nunnery, where she became a great mistress of magic."
— Malory, Morte d'Arthur
First words
Morgaine speaks...In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen.
a land ruled by priests is a land filled with tyrants on Earth and in Heaven
the faith of Christ is a fitting faith for slaves who think themselves sinners and humble
What of the King Stag, when the young stag is grown?
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The French edition is divided into 2 volumes.
The Brazilian and Spanish editions are divided into 4 volumes.
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Average: (4.08)
0.5 9
1 71
1.5 14
2 162
2.5 37
3 598
3.5 106
4 1109
4.5 136
5 1557

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