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At the heart of Ryhope Wood, Steven and the mythago Guiwenneth live in the ruins of a Roman villa close to a haunted fortress from the Iron Age, from which Guiwenneth's myth arose. She is comfortable here, almost tied to the place, and Steven has long since abandoned all thought of returning to his own world. They have animals, protection and crops. They also have two children, a combination of human and mythago. Jack is like his father, an active boy keen to know all about the outer world'; Yssobel takes after her mother, even to her long auburn hair. But this idyll cannot last. The hunters who protected Guiwenneth as a child have come to warn her she is in danger. Yssobel is dreaming increasingly of her Uncle Christian, Steven's brother, who disappeared into Lavondyss, and Jack wants to see 'the outer world' more than anything. Events are about to overtake them.… (mais)
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Exibindo 4 de 4
I'm not sure if this was Holdstock's last book, but it was certainly his last book about Ryhope Wood, the first being the justly famous Mythago Wood. It's interesting to compare first to last. Mythago Wood starts off as science fiction, or at the very least with a character who is trying to understand mysterious phenomena in the ancient woodland next to his home scientifically. Before Avilion is over it seems like nothing but magic can explain all the bizarre goings on. Mythago Wood is very much about mythic archetypes. Avilion is very much about specific characters from myth/legend. There's a big difference between a warrior who unites a kingdom and Arthur who dies fighting Mordred; the latter is a specific instance of the former. Mythago Wood is about a family that breaks apart self-destructively. Avilion is about a family that despite separation, remains a strong, healthy unit. Mythago Wood is about outsiders entering an alien realm. Avilion is about people who have an inside perspective of the same realm. This latter-most point is worth elaborating:

When I think back over the several Holdstock works I've read, I notice a common theme of writing about broken families - families that have become physically or emotionally separated (or both), families where internal abuse of power occurs. Families that either struggle to repair themselves or dissolve into anger and hate or get their members hopelessly lost to each other in space or time or emotional distance. Interesting then, that this final Mythago book lays heavy emphasis on hope for the family that have been central to the entire saga. Unfortunate that it does so too heavy-handedly, at the end. Also unfortunate that the plot sags before the denouement, taking too much time to move the chess-pieces (aka characters) to their correct spots. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

At the end of Mythago Wood, we left Steven Huxley waiting for Guiwenneth to return from Lavondyss. Avilion is a direct sequel — the story of what happened when Guiwenneth came back. She and Steven have lived happily together for years and have two children, Yssobel and Jack.

Unfortunately, though, she’s not exactly the same woman she was before. Her ordeal with Christian has changed her and she and Christian (now leader of the time-travelling army called Legion) still haunt each other. Yssobel dreams of Christian and is intrigued by him, causing strain in the mother-daughter relationship, and perhaps danger to herself and the family. So Guiwenneth sets out to find and destroy Christian, Yssobel leaves home to find her mother, and Jack goes to Oak Lodge (where the Huxleys used to live) to try to find out how to track down Yssobel.

That sounds simple enough, but nothing is simple when it involves the strangely changing Ryhope Wood, recognizable characters who are mythical or legendary archetypes and not necessarily real historical figures (e.g., the Morrigan, Peredur, Odysseus, King Arthur), and Robert Holdstock’s out-of-sequence storytelling and dreamy style.

The result is, as usual, an enchanting story with lots to think about, but lots of confusion, too. Avilion brings in some of the seemingly disparate elements found in other Mythago Wood books, but inexplicably neglects to mention people or events that have previously been important. The entire Mythago Wood series, but Avilion especially, is patchy and vague, like a dream sequence. In this novel there’s not much plot and it’s written in several shifting points of view, so though I enjoyed the ideas, the inventive use of familiar mythology, and the overall effect of the style, I was not as engaged with Avilion as I had been with Mythago Wood and Lavondyss.

Jack is an agreeable new character and I enjoyed the chapters written from his POV, but Guiwenneth is now completely unlikable, Yssobel is hard to relate to, and Steven, who was an admirably bold and energetic man in Mythago Wood, is now weak and fretful. The story, unlike its predecessors, is filled with more depression than wonder.

It’s hard to fault Mr. Holdstock for doing again what he does so well, but most of the charm of Mythago Wood was its inventiveness. Avilion will be incomprehensible to someone who hasn’t read Mythago Wood, but those of us who have read it have “been there before.” Without engaging characters or much plot to hold it up, Avilion just doesn’t work as well. Those who want to know how the story ends (does the story ever end in Ryhope wood?) will want to read Avilion, and will enjoy being immersed in Holdstock’s dreamy world, but they shouldn’t expect to have their minds blown again. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
This sequel is a disappointment. Some sort of mix up between the myths of Odysseus and Orpheus, which actually sounds intriguing, but isn't elaborated so it's clear enough to believe or comprehend. Far less inventive than Mythago Wood, far less allusive than the spiritual and difficult Lavondyss. ( )
  malmorrow | Feb 20, 2014 |
Exibindo 4 de 4
All we can know is that Avilion matches the grandeur and the invention of the Cycle at its best, and if there has to be a last word this is as good as we could hope for.
adicionado por sdobie | editarSF Site, Paul Kincaid (Jan 15, 2010)
 
Mythago Wood was a seminal expression of British fantasy, and Avilion, though lacking its predecessor's narrative drive and intensity, is an enthralling reworking of myth and a haunting vision of love and loss unmatched in contemporary fantasy.
adicionado por andyl | editarThe Guardian, Eric Brown (Jul 4, 2009)
 

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At the heart of Ryhope Wood, Steven and the mythago Guiwenneth live in the ruins of a Roman villa close to a haunted fortress from the Iron Age, from which Guiwenneth's myth arose. She is comfortable here, almost tied to the place, and Steven has long since abandoned all thought of returning to his own world. They have animals, protection and crops. They also have two children, a combination of human and mythago. Jack is like his father, an active boy keen to know all about the outer world'; Yssobel takes after her mother, even to her long auburn hair. But this idyll cannot last. The hunters who protected Guiwenneth as a child have come to warn her she is in danger. Yssobel is dreaming increasingly of her Uncle Christian, Steven's brother, who disappeared into Lavondyss, and Jack wants to see 'the outer world' more than anything. Events are about to overtake them.

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823.914 — Literature English English fiction Modern Period 20th Century 1945-1999

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