The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
When I Read It: December 2011 I think
Genres: Fantasy; Arthurian Fantasy
Recommended For: Fantasy lovers, especially if you really enjoy Arthurian stories.
Description from Goodreads:
In Marion Zimmer Bradley’s masterpiece, we see the tumult and adventures of Camelot’s court through the eyes of the women who bolstered the king’s rise and schemed for his fall. From their childhoods through the ultimate fulfillment of their destinies, we follow these women and the diverse cast of characters that surrounds them as the great Arthurian epic unfolds stunningly before us. As Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for control over the fate of Arthur’s kingdom, as the Knights of the Round Table take on their infamous quest, as Merlin and Viviane wield their magics for the future of Old Britain, the Isle of Avalon slips further into the impenetrable mists of memory, until the fissure between old and new worlds’ and old and new religions’ claims its most famous victim.
This is a beast of a book, with 800-1,000 pages, depending on which edition you pick up, but it never really bored me. There were plenty of twists and turns throughout the story, and the writing was great. I felt like I was there, watching everything unfold around me. When I finished, even though this is one of the longest books I’ve ever read, I wanted to read it again. (I’m planning to do that eventually, now that I have a copy of my own.)
I actually didn’t even know this book existed until I bought the movie (mini-series?) on DVD about 5 years ago. I think the book was better, but the movie was still really good, so I honestly have to recommend both.