Review of Out of Avalon by Jennifer Roberson

Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic & New Myths - Various, 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, Kristen Br

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.