First off, I did enjoy reading The Mists of Avalon immensely. However, there were some issues that could not allow me to give this fantasy novel above three stars.
Let's begin with a few aspects of the story that I really enjoyed.
1) The plot of TMOA is fantastic. The idea of taking the well known Authorian legend and telling the story from the women's perspective is brilliant.Bradley did a fantastic job of describing the people of Avalon and Camelot in new and interesting ways.
2) Morgaine is a wonderful heroine. She is very human while also embodying the goddess. She makes plenty of mistakes throughout the novel but you can't help but love her and become invested in her well being. Additionally, the "Morgaine speaks" portions of the novel are by far the best prose Bradley writes. They are beautifully done.
However, there are some things that I didn't enjoy about TMOA.
1) Bradley needed a better editor. This over 800 page book is just way to long! It starts off so strong and sort of loses its way halfway through the novel and struggles to gain momentum toward the end of the story.
2) The reason why the story couldn't gain momentum is because Bradley is very one-sided in her beliefs and decides to beat her readers over the head with them. The novel very much focuses on the premise that Christians are bad and the pagans are good. There is just no middle ground with this topic. When I started reading TMOA I LOVED reading about the priestesses in Avalon, the druid rituals and beliefs, and their religious and political pull throughout Britain. It is very fascinating! But by the middle of the book the religious aspect of the book becomes boring and annoying. I cannot tell you how many times the same conversation takes place between characters arguing about Christianity vs. Paganism. Trust me. We got it about half way through the novel. Additionally, there is not a single Christian character with any redeeming qualities. All of the priests are described as stupid and close-minded.
3) Most people that love this book hail it as an epic feminist story. However, in some ways I disagree with that. Most of the female characters mope and moan over unrequited love throughout the entire novel! Gwenhwyfar is a very one-sided character and there is nothing redeeming about her.I understand that the author is trying to show the differences between Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar which ultimately shows the differences between Christians and Pagans. However, the author making Gwenhwyfar the scapegoat only implies the same old story of a woman being the downfall leading the world to chaos.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a character driven epic fantasy.