Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Review: Elric: Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock

Title:Elric: Stealer of Souls

Author:Michael Moorcock

Rating: 1/2

Recommended?Yes, if you're into fantasy and anti-heroes, but only if you're willing to read 200 very difficult pages in order to experience 200 awesome ones.

What I Have to Say:I FINALLY finished! I really should have read at least the first line of the description of this book. Then I would have at least know that I was getting myself into yet ANOTHER book of short stories.
Reading through this book was like trudging through the muck-filled, mist-covered, at times deadly Swamps of Sadness; it was difficult and long to get through and sometimes made me forget my purpose in reading it.
Which is weird, because it non-stop mega action pack and was also actually really well written.
The first half of the book was separated into short stories that introduce us to Elric, his life, and his friends. And while they were interesting, they were also predictable and seemed to serve very little purpose. They were hard to get through, but for no fault of their own. I think my biggest issue was that they were short, and there was therefore so much that should have happened that couldn't - because there's just not enough time in a short story.
The second half of the book was four somewhat longer interlinked stories that, put together, could almost form a book. Yay!
Moorcock's easy use of adjectives and fluttery language creates vivid, believable, and sometimes devestating images of a dying world and its potential savior, Elric the albino emperor of a dead race of sorcerers. Elric's character is a tortured one, torn between Chaos and the Gods of his people, and the Lords of Law and what fate has planned for him.
Unfortunately, for all his verbosity, I don't feel that Moorcock developed Elric as a believable character; it was almost as if Moorcock himself did not understand what Elric must suffer (and the true power that Stormbringer, his sword, held over him) and therefore couldn't write it into the book. Because of this, up until almost the very end, it was hard to cheer for Elric. It was hard to understand that he really might be the good guy in all of this. Elric is THE anti-hero of anti-heros. . .I guess I should probably just say that he is one of the more extreme anti-heroes that I have ever come across.
Still, in the last four stories, Elric and his sword and his world and his quests and his dilemmas captured my attention and made me glad that I trudged through until the end.


Summary (from Good Reads, yay!):When Michael Moorcock began chronicling the adventures of the albino sorcerer Elric, last king of decadent Melnibon√©, and his sentient vampiric sword, Stormbringer, he set out to create a new kind of fantasy adventure, one that broke with tradition and reflected a more up-to-date sophistication of theme and style. The result was a bold and unique hero–weak in body, subtle in mind, dependent on drugs for the vitality to sustain himself–with great crimes behind him and a greater destiny ahead: a rock-and-roll antihero who would channel all the violent excesses of the sixties into one enduring archetype.

Now, with a major film in development, here is the first volume of a dazzling collection of stories containing the seminal appearances of Elric and lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist John Picacio–plus essays, letters, maps, and other material. Adventures include “The Dreaming City,” “While the Gods Laugh,” “Kings in Darkness,” “Dead God’s Homecoming,” “Black Sword’s Brothers,” and “Sad Giant’s Shield.”

An indispensable addition to any fantasy collection, Elric: The Stealer of Souls is an unmatched introduction to a brilliant writer and his most famous–or infamous–creation.

3 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

I have seen a Moorcock book in the library...perhaps I should check it out

Belle said...

Reading your review, I'd be tempted to skip the short stories in the first 200 pages and go straight to the longer stories. I guess that's probably not a good idea, though ...!

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Probably not a read I would enjoy but WOW - How about that cover?

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