A posthumous recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, Marion Zimmer Bradley reinvented - and rejuvenated - the King Arthur mythos with her extraordinary Mists of Avalon series. In this epic work, Bradley follows the arc of the timeless tale from the perspective of its previously marginalized female characters: Celtic priestess Morgaine, Gwenhwyfar, and High Priestess Viviane.
©1982 Marion Zimmer Bradley (P)1993 Recorded Books
“[A] monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends...” (The New York Times Book Review)
I first read this book more than a quarter century ago as a college student. I had very fond memories of it, but hadn't reread it until I found it on Audible last month. Not only that, it was narrated by Davina Porter, who has become my favorite narrator through her reading of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series.
I find Marion Zimmer Bradley's characters to be very real, and their interactions genuine. I love the general sweep of the story, and the elegance of the prose. And Porter's narration brings that depth of character development and storytelling to a new intensity.
One thing, if you are looking at the four-part "series" of this book, note that "The Mists Of Avalon" is the collection of the other four (Mistress Of Magic, The High Queen, The King Stag, and The Prisoner In The Oak). The full book costs one credit, and the parts also cost one credit. Save yourself three credits and buy the complete version at once.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
The point of view of this novel comes from the females of the legend. From the first fifteen minutes, I am enthralled. We know the plot, we know the legend, or do we? Bradley offers a credible and interesting perspective that brings many possibilities to light that breathe life into this story.
Davina Porter makes narration a fine art in this story. Her voice brings this tale to life and she is the perfect fit.
This is a rare listen to a fantasy legend. Little is know about the real Arthur. Was he a king or a general? I offer highest praise. Please make room for this on you listening list. It is an investment at 60 hours. Also for you people who listen at 2X, you know who you are, slow down and take it all it a 1X. I give a big thumbs up.
I absolutely loved Davina Porter's reading of this series. I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I purchased the Unabridged version of "The Mists of Avalon," I had purchased all four books of the series using just 1 credit. Other reviewers had not commented on this, so I thought I would share and suggest that you do the same as the rest of the books are interesting. The story comes to life in this reading and it is well-researched. Zimmer Bradley conducts a fantastic feminist reading of the Arthurian legends.The production is equally fantastic- featuring Davina Porter who is one of the best audiobook readers.
If you are interested in Porter's reading of this, you might also enjoy her reading of the Outlander Series (though a completely different type of historically-based drama).
She particularly excels in her Scottish accents.
Davina Porter takes you through the days of Arthur and his court with her usual talent and emotion. I love a long story and Ms. Porter never gets boring with her characterizations.Marion Zimmer Bradley is a wonderful weaver of tales. If you like this genre - it is a Great Choice. These women can take you out of this world and into theirs like magic. Take your time and enjoy the " The Mists of Avalon."
I am in love with anything Davina Porter narrates, but in the Mists of Avalon, I am also re-captivated by the story of Camelot as told through the eyes of the key women. It is refreshing and thought-provoking in ways I would not have expected; an aspect that only adds to my enjoyment!
I love switching back and forth between reading and listening.
Well performed and as immersive as the book I read in college.
The old ways, magic, and the lore are endearing....bringing each of the characters to life. You will feel for each of the women as they make their own destinies.
I laughed and cried all the way through as when oread it, but s somehow returning to it after all these years reminded me why it's valuable to re-read and re-listen to great books. So much is richer when you bring decades of experience to it.
This performance is like scene great show, but one which lasts 36 hours.... like great season of drama.
One of the better audiobooks since it is an old favorite.
The reader, Davina Porter. She is one of my favorites.
She is able to mix and match the voices without making all the men sound like idiots.
I guess my strongest reaction is just a real comfort with the story - I strongly associate with the crossover elements to other literature on the Arthurian legends.
Highly, highly recommend.
Yes, It is just a good story and Davina has a pleasant voice.
I've read this book three time over 25 years, I passed it on to family and friends after first read and it spread like wild fire.
The Narrator was absolutely amazing!
Morgain. She comes off as a tragic character but is essential like any person trying to navigate great changes while trying to keep her faith alive.
Never have but I adore her voice and the spirit inwhich she worked.
Yes. Oddly I did find myself becoming extremely sorrowful by an unsettling incident that happens in the book.
If you like fantasy formed by REAL concepts of faith and real magic then you'll love this. This showed magic closer to its real nature but still managed to show the awe of it and took no power away from it though it ceased to be played out like the ridiculous
magic systems of Harry Potter or most fantasy books. Simply put: it comes off more real than most fantasies.
I should start by saying I really, really wanted to love The Mists of Avalon. How could I not, when it had so much potential? A “feminist” retelling of Arthurian legend set in the late 5th to early 6th century, the peerless Davina Porter as narrator, and decades of praise from critics and readers alike; added to the fact this 50+ hour audiobook combines four separate books into one -- I didn’t think a credit could be better spent!
Reluctantly, however, I find myself forced to admit that none of those things can make up for the fact that this book got lost in its own grandiosity. Ms. Bradley’s heavy-handed treatment of themes such as fate vs. free will felt like an emotional bludgeoning with her don’t-you-see-the-point-yet sledgehammer as we, the listener, are subjected to hour upon dragging hour of unrequited love, foolish pride, grating piety, and constant self-absorption from characters you want to like but can never really identify with. The protagonist, Morgaine, devolves into a rambling bore; her counterpart, Gwynhwyfar, is weak and irritating; and the plot twist revealed at the very end by the “villain” Morgause is given such short shrift I wondered if it was added-in as an editorial after-thought. And the men? Arthur is a one-dimensional “hero,” Lancelet is a sexually confused martyr, and Kevin is simply tragic. Strangely, I liked Mordred, although by the time he enters the story I was mostly over it.
That said: Do I regret buying this audiobook? No. Would I listen to it again? Probably not. Would I recommend it to others? Possibly. Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator, the time and place are well-researched and extensively detailed, and the premise is still unique. However, the story lags and the characters are emotionally exhausting. If you are going to give this book a chance, I would recommend having something a little more light-hearted on hand so you can switch between the two books. [Think Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” Mark Tufo’s “Zombie Fallout,” or Kresley Cole’s “Immortals After Dark” series.]
Oooh. Top ten, I think. Counting all the Sherlock dramatisations as one.
Mostly for the length (don't be intimidated, it's a really easy listen) - you get a *lot* of book for your £7 credit (and it downloads in parts, so each part doesn't take ages).
I had been working my way through Tolkien, Susan Cooper (Dark is Rising) and the Alan Garner books - the last two authors fond memories from childhood, listened/bought for old times' sake (still good!). I was looking for other things based on folk tales/Arthurian/Norse/Celtic mythology (in a bid to get away from traffic jams and checkout queues) and this was a "other listeners bought..." suggestion by Audible.
Well done Audible, and many thanks!
Content - it's a retelling of the Arthurian legend (in accessible language) but with a slightly different focus - re-told from the perspective of the women in the tale (Morgaine, Igraine, the Lady of the Lake). The writing and language is good (no glaring anachronisms) - convincing but accessible. Some books you get to the end of a sentence and cannot remember what the beginning was about - not so with this one.
The setting and history of the characters is good - a lot of the characters make much more sense to me now (although it isn't dry like a factual book). The juxtaposition of the demise of paganism (feminist/matriarchal society) and rise of Christianity (masculinist/patriarchal society) provides a good historical background and context for struggles.
You do get transported to another world (exactly what I'm looking for whilst cleaning the bathroom).
So far, the Uther and Igraine scene. You know, if you've watched Excalibur (not in a rude way though - there's no toe curling stuff).
Narrator. Absolutely brilliant. Have had a few dud ones recently but Davina Porter is great - will look for more books narrated by her.
If you like Philippa Gregory, Ken Follet, Bernard Cornwell, Jean Plaidy, Tolkien and you are willing to listen to a different take on a legend, you might enjoy this.
"Family and friends. "
At the moment the length of story is a bit daunting. But it puts a new spin on this legend. You also need to watch for all the twists and turns and remember that people had different views, beliefs and maybe morals than us. Good book and good narration.
"The best version of the Arthurian legends"
It will make you think about many topics and question your understanding.
The fact that's is such a long story yet the narrative keeps it interesting to the end.
This story is written from the point of view of the women of the legends, roles are reversed and deserved homage is given to the 'old' religion and it's tolerance of 'new' religions.
"Fantasy at it's best"
Absolutely loved this book when I first read it many years ago. In fact I'm onto my second copy as my original has fallen to pieces. I loved this audio version too, like the book completely compelling.
"Enter into another world"
The story and the brilliant reader.
Morgaine. Much misrepresented in other Arthurian stories as the villainess, here she is a woman in the grip of fate she did not make, and its consequences. A believable well-rounded character, not an archetype of the wicked witch.
I would like to listen to more. She is one of the best readers I have come across, and it really does make all the difference.
No, I have read the book, so I know the story. I wanted to savour this, and I know I'll listen to it again.
If you want to dive in to Arthur and the Celtic imagination, here would be a good place to start.
Heartbreaking, empowering, well-crafted
The Once and Future King, for its masterful retelling of Arthurian legend that brings the timeless tales into a new light.
She really gives voices to all the characters - I never felt uncertain about who was speaking. She also keeps my attention amazingly.
The one downside is that I found the ending quite anti-climactic, and I also questioned some of the characters' actions, finding them out of character.
"Mists of avalon"
What I liked best about this book was Davina Porter's narration.She is very good in bringing the characters to life and making each character unique. Male or female each character was accented and toned
What I didn't like about the book was that it told the story from the women in Arthur life points of view. Also on Arthur getting the sword and the holy grail were vague.I would very much prefer it if the book w as told from Arthur s or even Merlin.When Arthur went out in battles or his knights on quest there were only mentions of It.
The most interesting bits were when Arthur and his his knights were involved in the book.
Davina Porters narration was excellent and could not be faulted in any way.
I don't think this book was worth the listening time as he rambled on things that at times did not matter to the book .If it wasn't for the narration I think I would have given up listening to it.
If you would like to hear about the legendary King Arthur from another point of view .Then this is the book for you.
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