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review 2014-10-10 03:28
Review of Return to Avalon by Jennifer Roberson
Return to Avalon - Jennifer Roberson

Return to Avalon edited by Jennifer Roberson is an anthology of Arthurian short stories. With the exception of Lady of Avalon(not to be confused with the novel by the same name), none of these stories have anything to do with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon. Lady of Avalon is set some time after the events of The Mists of Avalon and tells the story of the current high priestess being captured and turned into a slave by a Saxon king. It was a pretty good story and I enjoyed reading it. Most of the other stories I'd rate as three stars with some four star ones scattered throughout the book. Of the other stories there weren't any that stood out as particularly good or particularly bad. One thing that was curious is that a lot of the stories in the book I would hesitate to classify as Arthurian fiction. There were many that had more the feel of fairy tales to them and didn't seem to have anything to do with Arthurian legends as far as I could tell. There was also one Shakespearian short story that seemed really out of place. I thought it was a good story and I did enjoy it, but it just really didn't seem like it belonged in this collection. Overall I'd say this book was an ok read and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Arthurian and medieval fiction, though I think I liked the Out of Avalon anthology better. To anyone wanting to read this book just for the Lady of Avalon story, it's probably only worth it if you can borrow the book or get it for a low price unless you are a really big fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series.

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review 2014-07-31 03:44
Review of Out of Avalon by Jennifer Roberson
Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic & New Myths - Diana Gabaldon,Mike Resnick,Eric Van Lustbader,Michelle Sagara West,Rosemary Edghill,Judith Tarr,Jennifer Roberson,Marion Zimmer Bradley,Diana L. Paxson,Nina Kiriki Hoffman,Laura Resnick,Samuel R. Watkins,Katharine Kerr,Adrienne Gormley,David Farland,Tric

Out of Avalon edited by Jennifer Roberson is a collection of Arthurian short stories by various authors. One story entitled The Heart of the Hill is set in Marion Zimmer Bradley's version of Avalon and takes place sometime in the middle of The Mists of Avalon during Morgaine's training to be a priestess. This story was the sole reason I purchased this book and I definitely enjoyed reading it. It should be noted that none of the other stories in this collection have anything to do with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon, which I was aware of before reading this collection. Many of the other stories are retellings of familiar Arthurian tales, though sometimes the focus is on original characters within those tales. Other stories are merely inspired by Arthurian legends and that particular time period.

 

Of course some stories I enjoyed more than others, but I would rate most of them as three or four stars. Besides The Heart of the Hill, I also particularly enjoyed The Secret Leaves which is about a young girl that becomes Myrddin's(Merlin's) apprentice and lover, and The Mooncalfe which is about a child with strange abilities born of a human mother and an otherworldly father. The only story that I really didn't care for at all was Me and Galahad which was a search for the holy grail story taking place in an American Western setting. I enjoyed this collection overall, but at times it was a bit confusing just because the stories were all written by different authors, and as such there were many details that were inconsistent from story to story. It was mostly things like differences in character's names and differences in how characters were related to each other, but of course there were even plot details that varied from story to story. After the first few stories though, it was easier for me to go with the flow and not worry so much about the details. I'd definitely recommend this collection to fans of Arthurian or medieval fantasy.

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review 2014-07-17 17:13
Review of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is an Arthurian tale told from the perspective of women, including King Arthur's mother, aunts, sister, and wife. The story tells about their lives and their struggles, hardships, and romances both before and after the birth of King Arthur and the various ways they plot and participate in shaping the future of their kingdom. This is a very long and slow paced book, but I didn't find it at all tedious to read, which is more than I can say for other books in this series. I enjoyed nearly every minute of reading this book from start to end, and when it was over I felt such longing wanting to read more. I thought that most of the characters were very well done and had lots of depth to them. I especially connected with the character of Morgaine, the narrator and King Arthur's sister, and felt she was a kindred spirit, or as much of one as a book character can be. I also really connected to the spirituality of this book and many of the pagan beliefs described resonate closely with my own eclectic spiritual beliefs. This is definitely one of my favorite books and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Arthurian fiction or medieval fantasy.

 

It is not necessary to read any of the other books in Bradley's Avalon series to enjoy this book, though the other books do give a lot of background history to Avalon and even to some of the characters in this book. If you want to read the other books in the series and want to read them chronologically as I did, then The Mists of Avalon should be the last book you read. If you prefer to read the books in publication order, then start with this book and work your way back chronologically.

 

I re-watched the made for TV movie after I finished reading the book and thoroughly enjoyed it despite the fact that there were many changes. I would say that the movie stayed fairly true to the first half of the book, but the movie changed and left out a lot of things from the second half of the book. Also some of the characters were altered and were nastier than they were in the book and things like that. There were a lot of instances where I could see why things needed to be changed or removed for the movie format, but there were some parts of the book that I really wish had been included in the movie. I suppose if they had included all of the stuff they left out, the movie would have been twice as long as it was. It's still a great movie though and I'm able to enjoy it in and of itself.

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text 2014-07-13 14:43
Reading progress, 46%
I, Morgana - Felicity Pulman

I had really high hopes for this, but it's heading towards about 2.5 stars.

 

I understand now what some reviewers have said about writing reviews to warn people about really bad books. Harumph!

 

At least the editing is 90% good. A few words pushed together is the worst I've seen. This is a popular author, I really expected it to be good! What a disappointment. Details in review soon.

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