And the way she treats her fellow prisoners. Not a good person at all. Then the prince shows up, pure white against the filth, and he invites Mara to accept him, which she does. He takes her out of prison, cleanses her, tells her she's to be his bride And then it falls flat.
Look, this is a romance. The greatest, most glorious romance EVER. But once Mara leaves the slave yard, all we get are object lessons. The lesson not to be distracted by pretty things that fade. The lesson to trust God in the storm. These are all true and good, but none of it grabs you and makes you FEEL the story.
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The prince is in love with Mara. He's going to marry her. But he talks like a mentor, not a lover. He rides on his horse behind her carriage instead of holding her in his arms on his steed. We need to see Mara fall in love with the prince. We, the readers, need to fall in love with the prince. He needs to do something lovable. Sure, Mara sees the scars on his back, but we're only told about it. We don't experience it like we experienced the horror of the slave camp. We see Mara's unkindness to her fellow prisoners, but after that, she and the prince travel alone.
We never witness the difference the prince's love makes in how she relates to others. Where's the fellowship of believers? Another reviewer said this story isn't compelling, and I think that may be true. The basic allegory is good, but it's underdeveloped. If you want a five-star story, you have to touch your reader.
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You have to leave her in tears of joy; and I think if this story is going to do that, it's going to need more work. This is truly an amazing story that will touch your heart and hopefully give you a fresh understanding of how much Jesus really loves us and wants all of us to walk with Him. Meet Mara and Blithe, slaves along with many hundreds of others to King Aldus and Prince Justinius, or so they think, been led to believe. Mara is tired and cut, needing to find a cot to sleep on rather than sharing the floor in the dungeon with the rats.
Mara's job is digging ditches.
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From the beginning we see Mara as being strong headed and rebellious. When she spits at the guard he knees her in the stomach and then kicks her in the shin. Mara was captured 15 years ago at the age of 12 in a rebellion against King Aldus. The slaves believe that King Druett is the true king but is he?! All the rebels are brought to the "slave yard to await their punishment for high treason: With very few teeth left and her body full of scars on the outside she no longer looks pretty.
One day the slaves are all in fear as the King has arrived but to the slaves surprise it is not the king but Prince Justinius.
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Thankfully he wants to the slaves to work as normal. When the Prince talks to Blithe she just walks away. What does the Prince say and offer to Mara? How does Mara react? You will have to read this book to find out what happens. I was hooked as soon as I started and had to finish it! How does one describe or review a book like "Avalon"?
The description didn't really tell me much about the story, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. What I read was completely unexpected. It was written in such careful detail, that I could almost feel, touch, taste, and think the same things that Mara did. Though the book is in what I believe to be the fantasy genre, the writing style, speaking, and setting seems very medieval-like. The style is almost poetic at times and very well done.
I read this book in two or three sittings and would have read it in one if I hadn't had other, more urgent things to do. The writing in general was very good. There only a very few typos that I noticed and the sentence structure was well done. There were a few times when the writing got a little confusing and I wasn't exactly sure what had just been described, but nothing that pulled me away from the story.
This book described Christ's free gift of salvation in a very unique and captivating way. The allegorical imagery makes the Bible seem more alive and vivid than it ever had before. This book touched my heart. It really shows how deep in sin you can be bound I loved comparing what happened in the story to what it compared with in real life. Like when Mara went through the storm and thought the Prince had abandoned her.
Or when she wrote to her friends about how the Prince had rescued her.
It shows how we should share the wonderful gospel with those who are still kept in that dungeon of sin. The pool of Sight we looked out on—where now, the songs, of Avalon? What remains are but tantalizing glimpses of the Apple Isle and her inhabitants—a barge full of mourning queens … a samite-enrobed arm emerging from the surface of a glassy lake, holding aloft the sword Excalibur … a paradisaical land of healing where dwelt Nine learned sisters, skilled in all manner of art, science, and sorcery.
But the essence of Avalon is more deeply impressed in our collective memory than these few tales, the mythic origins of which can be found far afield from the realms of legend and richly imagined fiction.
Where history provides us with a few direct examples, many more can be found in the realm of legend; these are significant because myths reflect the realities of the societies that birth them, providing windows into their culture and philosophy. The Roman geographer Pomponius Mela gives an account of the Gallicenae, nine priestesses who dwelt on the Isle de Sein off the coast of Brittany. Breton legend speaks of another group of nine women called the Korrigan, powerful shape changers and healers who dwelt deep in a sacred grove, and whose stories appear to reflect ancient rites of kingmaking.
In Ireland, nineteen priestesses kept the perpetual flame of the Goddess Brigid alight at the Shrine of Cill Dara—a tradition that endured into Christian times in honor of St. Brigid, herself said to have been a bandrui before her conversion to Christianity. This magical vessel is found in the Revolving Fortress of the Otherworld, where it is tended by Nine Maidens who warm it with their breath.
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These nine women have been interpreted variously as muses or seeresses, breathing in the mystical vapors of the cauldron that entrances them and allows them to speak oracular verses. Their leader is more skilled at healing and more beautiful than her sisters. She is called Morgan, and has learned the properties each plant has to cure sick bodies. She also has the power of changing her shape, and of flying through the air on strange wings like Daedalus. She can be at Brest, Chartres or Pavia whenever she wishes, or glide from the sky onto our shores.
Whether considering history, myth, or legend, it is clear therefore that there is an established tradition across the various Celtic cultures of enclaves of Holy Women living in seclusion and renowned as powerful healers, oracles, and shapeshifters.
They are keepers of sacred wells, perpetual flames, and magical vessels. They serve as initiators, teachers, and kingmakers. They appear to serve a liminal purpose, with one foot always in the Otherworld just as surely as their very memory has one foot in the shadowland of legend. Even still, they may have drawn upon a common set of spiritual traditions and beliefs, differing only in the way they manifested their service.
Similar to the way in which Catholic priests and monks comprise different ecclesiastic orders in the same religion, the existence of both Celtic priestesses and bandrui need not be redundant; indeed, the majority of Celts were not a part of the Druid caste, yet surely they had beliefs and Divinities in common. It is the exploration of the expression of Celtic British spirituality found in these sacred sisterhoods that informs and inspires the Avalonian Tradition today.
Instead, the work of the Avalonian Tradition is to reclaim the symbolism inherent in the legends of Avalon, to remember the underlying meaning of the lessons of these stories, and to reclaim them in such a way that underscores their continuing relevance for the woman of today. Myths endure because they have something to teach us.
Related Avalon: A Christian Allegory
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