The Mists of Avalon, as you’ve likely guessed, is a retake on the King Arthur legends, but what makes it different is that it’s written from the women’s perspectives (Morgaine, Guinevere, etc.). The first one was written by Marion Zimmer Bradley in 1983 and this was the first time this feminist technique was used in fantasy literature and it was very successful (I learned that when I took a Modern Scholar course in fantasy literature).
The Mists of Avalon is beautifully written, but slow-paced, and I often wished the story would move faster. Since the women characters are the focus, there’s not much action (except traveling). The chicks themselves aren’t fighting a lot of Saxons. Also, there’s a major emphasis on the dissolution of the pagan religion as Christianity spread throughout England. This was really interesting, but since the main character, Morgaine, is a pagan priestess, the views expressed on this topic are definitely anti-Christian. In fact, the reader gets the impression that Marion Zimmer Bradley is really pushing pagan and feminist agendas.
This is not your typical everything’s-okay-at-the-end fantasy because it’s based on the King Arthur legend (in which everything doesn’t turn out okay). Therefore, it’s a bit depressing. I think women will like this series better than men will. I’ll also mention that I have heard critics refer to this as a book for old and young, but I think the focus on the weird love rectangle(?) between Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgaine, makes this inappropriate for the kids. If they want to read about Arthur, send them elsewhere — where there’s less sex and more Saxons.
The audiobook reader, Davina Porter, is excellent — widely acknowledged as one of the best in the business.