August 12, 2008

The Mists of Avalon **

** The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1982

Two stars for the general populace. For Arthurian lore fans, three stars. I've read several books, or series, based on Arthur and Camelot. My favortie is Mary Stewart's Merlin series, starting with The Crystal Cave. I also enjoyed Steinbeck's The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Nights, Lawhead's Pendragon cycle, and amazingly enough for someone with a confirmed antipathy toward poetry, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, which is in the top 10 books I've read. You really should give it a shot.

Anyway, I found Mists in a library sale. It had been a while since I'd read any Arthurian stuff. I stuck it in The Stack and it followed me around from Texas to South Carolina to Arizona to Colorado to Hawaii and back to Texas.

It's a big book. I rank books by the size of animal they can kill if you throw it. At 900+ pages, it's in the rat-killing class and a little daunting to pick up and read, especially when you're on the go a lot. You should get credit for 2 or 3 books if you read this one! But one day I realized that the size meant it would stay open by itself, which made it the perfect book to read while working out.

It passed The Elliptical Test, but it could have been edited down by 200-300 pages without losing much except weight. What makes this story interesting is that it is told from the perspective of the women involved in the legend. There is also lots of exploration of Christianity vs the pagan religion or no religion, which is interesting for the first 400 pages or so, but begins to wear after a while.

As Lincoln said, "People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." I liked it.

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