books: lady of avalon, marian zimmer bradley

so i’ve been reading lady of avalon and i’m a little more than halfway done with it. it’s the first book in the avalon series beyond mists that i’ve read, and i’m a little disappointed. the writing is not as engaging, and it has a slow start, but that’s not the problem i’m having with it right now.

the plot twists are telegraphed if you’ve read mists, you know what’s going to happen because it’s all part of a cyclic grand theatre that repeats itself over and over, but really it just comes across as lack of originality, and that pretentious theatre definition might just mean the same thing. more than that, the characters keep having revelations that aren’t actually revelations. as in “she has the sudden realization, i love this man” — which is somehow shockingly different than the sudden realization that she loved this man 50 pages ago, and 50 pages before that. this happens a bunch of times, the characters are like oh! and, as a reader i’m annoyed, and think, um, no, you thought that already. is m.z. bradley senile when she wrote this? did she forget? wth?

the female characters are annoying, too. at their best they’re whiny and don’t know what they want. at their worst their psychotically manipulative bitches. both major female characters, teleri and dierna, show these qualities in greater or lesser degrees. sure each has their own history and duties and it’s all very well justified, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are being psychotically manipulative or being obnoxiously whiny. and i have a personal problem with psychotically manipulative bitches…

mists of avalon
was good because it had strong female characters with a feminist edge. the native religion of the druids and priestesses on avalon appealed to my pagan side and were well explained and well represented. the philosophy of joining paganism with christianity because it’s all part of one true religion, just different ways of practicing the same thing also appealed to my ideologies. plus, the traditional arthur mythology was described in a much more tolerable, believable way. and then there was guinivere, who was…well…and arthur was a king you could understand why people fell over each other to follow. everything wasn’t idyllic, but it made sense and it fit, and it was believable and realistic (and then there was guinivere…). i didn’t expect lady to be as good, but i didn’t expect it to be annoying.

that said, i still want to read it and it has enough in it to keep me going, i’m just annoyed by the way things are going right now. and deepak chopra’s the return of merlin, which i’m also reading w/erin and gavin and started out horribly, is actually turning out to be more interesting and engaging now…which is not really a good thing, i don’t think, since that book is annoying, too…

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