Saturday, February 11, 2017

THE SWORD OF ALDONES









The Sword of Aldones, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ace Books, 1962, 164 pp
 
 
Because I read and loved The Mists of Avalon back in the 80s, I decided to include Marion Zimmer Bradley in My Big Fat Reading Project and read all of her novels in order of publication. The Sword of Aldones is the first book she wrote in her renowned Darkover Series.
 
There are two schools of thought regarding how to read that series because, like Star Wars movies, they were not written in chronological order. MZB provided a numbered chronological list before her death and some people read them that way. She also recommended reading the books in order of publication, so that is what I am doing.

The Sword of Aldones was written when she was 16, so while she had clearly done her world building in her mind, not all of it comes across smoothly. It is mostly an action tale, there are many characters, and the magic, of which there is plenty, doesn't all make sense. 

I liked it anyway, as a tale of two intergalactic civilizations in conflict. Terran is on a path to take over as many planets as possible for trade purposes. Darkover runs on magic and myth. It is a theme of hers and of many other writers, both speculative and historical. I found that theme in Mary Renault's two historical novels about the legend of Theseus (The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea.) It is also the major theme of The Mists of Avalon

The writing and plotting and characters are all a bit sketchy and suffer from her inexperience but her voice is there and the promise of what became a fascinating series.


(The Sword of Aldones is out of print but can be found at used book sites and in audio and ebook versions. Happy hunting!)

10 comments:

  1. I haven't read The Mists of Avalon yet but have been meaning to for years. I'll probably read that one before trying any of her other books, but the Darkover series does sound interesting.

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    1. The Mists of Avalon is probably your best bet. It is historical due to the King Arthur story while the Darkover series is definitely sci fi/fantasy.

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  2. Interesting. Both of my daughters loved The Mists of Avalon when they were teenagers, but somehow I never got around to reading it. Maybe I should. It is fascinating, isn't it, to see the development of a writer over the years, especially one as young as Bradley was when she wrote this one.

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    1. I reread The Mists of Avalon about 10 years after the first time and it was not quite as magical for me but I still loved the story of Christianity taking over from the pagans and all the conflict there. And seeing the development of writers is something that just really pleases me for some reason.

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  3. I look forward to the rest of your reviews on the other books in the series to see how the saga and the writer evolve.

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    1. Those reviews will come trickling in as I move through the years of My Big Fat Reading Project.

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  4. 16, wow! She started early. Somehow I missed The Mists of Avalon but want to read it. I will put it on my list. thanks.

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    1. She was one of those 60s and 70s feminist sci fi/fantasy authors. Part of the tale!

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  5. Wow, so young and so gifted. I have never heard of her. My God, that's a challenge (to read all her books).

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    1. Well, you know I like a reading challenge!

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