The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
This famous retelling of the Arthurian legends is a seminal work of feminist fantasy, and I can well see why it is; I just wish the writing was good enough to justify it. Bradley was certainly breaking new ground when she wrote this tome, and it is easy to understand why girls and young women devoured it. Now, however, after having read many books inspired by her genre-creation, I know that there are many better writers than Bradley. The descriptions are good, but the emotions of her characters are incredibly repetitive: "Oh, how I love him! Oh, but he is wicked and I hate him! Oh, but I pity him so, he can't help it! Oh, but I hate him, he's a traitor! But I love him!" It isn't that people don't actually think that way; they certainly do. That doesn't mean, though, that I want to read 875 pages of it... Less than stellar writing notwithstanding, I'm glad I read it, so at least I know what everyone raves on and on about, and I wouldn't not recommend it to a young girl looking to read more complex books than those labeled "young adult."