I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The epic tale of Elric of Melnibone, albino prince of ruins, moves to it's awesome conclusion -with the whole of the natural and supernatural world in mighty conflict - the final conflict, Armageddon. Elric holds the key to the future: the new age which must follow the destruction.To turn that key he must sacrifice all that he loves and risk his very soul.
The strongest feeling I get from Moorcock’s Elric series is melancholy. I understand the lure of that state, as I get it when I read my beloved King Arthur books or at the end of a Shakespearian tragedy. But I feel like Moorcock does it with smoke & mirrors instead of through masterful story-telling. In Stormbringer (and the other Elric novels to be sure) I get this feeling from a combination of atmosphere and setting, but Elric himself leaves me cold. It’s pretty hard to root for the guy who is portrayed as the lesser evil. The details of each novel are tiresomely repetitive—Elric tries to resist using his demonic sword, Stormbringer; without it, he is too weak to be of any use in macho pursuits; he returns once again to using his soul-sucking weapon.
One simple word, repeated several times, was also jarring to me. Elric keeps saying “thanks,” which to me feels like a very modern usage and out of place in this rather archaic setting. If he said “many thanks” it would have grated less for me. Likewise, a number of times contracted words were used, when I thought that spelling out both words would have been more true to the ancient atmosphere, not to mention matching with the other language used. I guess I expect more precise language in a pseudo-archaic world.
I can’t say that I’m unhappy to be finished the Elric saga…..in many ways, it has felt like reading the same book six times.
Book 203 of my science fiction and fantasy reading project.