The Mists of Avalon

I read this book because I was reading the comments on Jezebel and someone made the comment that this book makes reference to following the matriarchal line rather than the patriarchal line as that is the only way you can be certain to knowing the line of succession. Therefore, I thought that this would be a feminist dystopia. I was wrong, but not disappointed.

The story, briefly, is a female reinterpretation and perspective of the Arthurian Legends and Tales, following Morgaine, a druid Priestess, and her brother King Arthur, along with other familiar characters of the legends, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin etc.

It shows an interesting perspective of the movement away from pagan and druid rituals to that of Christianity and the clash in these beliefs and a movement towards a more male dominated society. It is also so much more than this, it is an in-depth engrossing long tale – and I do love a long book, where you experience the frustration and drives of the characters and while you do take sides this shifts (or it did for me) throughout the novel – each side and person depicted is just as flawed as another, and the author’s trick of taking you outside each character and allowing you to see them from another’s point of view adds to the depth and subtlety of the novel.

There were parts where it dragged though, where I felt nothing was happening and was wishing that something, anything would work out the way a character wanted it. It is said, when writing that you should throw everything you have got at a character so the reader can see what the character is really made of, but sometimes even a little win would be a good thing. The fact that you see the main characters from practically their birth to death lends it a beautiful roundness and I didn’t need to worry or wonder “What happened next?” – even though that can be the best part of a novel sometimes.

If you enjoy fantasy fiction, this is definitely a good choice and I know I will be exploring some more of this author’s writing!

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