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on January 26, 2002
While others build mere worlds, Moorcock has built the multiverse. While many use his ideas, these days, he was the first to conceive the idea as it is used throughout fantasy fiction. Just as some of his books slowly unfold to show you ideas from different angles, so does he slowly reveal the multiverse. Read this and the three books in the War Amongst the Angels series and you will see what I mean. Moorcock was also the author who predicted Black Holes and a whole different cosmology to go with them, he spoke of the multiverse in terms of branches or branes on a tree, and science has continued to prove him right throughout his career. Moorcock is far more than a writer of fantastic adventure stories, but neither does he reject his own relish for the stuff and as a result he gives us books which, as adult, we can enjoy more and more. The literal minded consumer of mass production fantasy is probably going to need a lot more explanation than Moorcock provides. You just have to trust him, jump in anywhere, and let him carry you on a wild tide of adventure, character, philosophy and more! The ending of this sequence is famous. So it should be. There is nothing else as good, at least since Melmoth the Wanderer! (Actually, it's better than Melmoth the Wanderer).
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on April 30, 2001
I totally disagree with the previous reviewer. For me the later Elric books show maturity, wonderful writing, and deeper understanding of Elric's character. Revenge of the Rose has beautiful prose, much of it rhyming when you start to realise it! I found Fortress of the Pearl a little disappointing -- but it sets the scene for the new Dreamthief's Daughter, which if anything is the best Elric since Stormbringer. It also develops and matures its themes. Of all popular and prolific writers only Moorcock and King seem constantly to be engaging with the modern world through their fantasy stories, maturing their own world views, offering us their consideration. You don't get that from many big-selling popular writers and we should be deeply grateful for the ones we have! There's scarcely a writer in the genre who doesn't acknowledge Moorcock's influence and his extraordinary and constant originality (I know because I have my own debt to him) and many of us thought it rather belated of the World Fantasy Convention to wait until last year to make him a Grand Master, since the genre owes as much to Moorcock as it does to Tolkien. And Moorcock offers a rare maturity only found in a few writers like the outstanding Gene Wolfe, whose work is equally interesting, equally ambitious. Most of this stuff, like LOTR, was written before there WAS a fantasy genre and to a degree it has been buried under its imitations. In my view Moorcock is an incredibly underestimated writer, except in his literary fiction, which continues to get great reviews in England but which we hardly ever see over here.
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on April 26, 2001
I like the cover of this edition! Elric's inner torments are far more subtly shown than in some of the frankly crude pictures I have seen which give the impression that Elric is some sort of skinnier Conan. Elric is a complex, sensual man -- someone who has gone through unknowable torments simply to learn the sorcery he possesses -- a genius and a warrior -- but also a man trying to come to some understanding and moral balance within himself. This is all reflected by his internal struggles and the struggle with his living sword, which leads him into places he doesn't want to go! This is about every kind of adventuring and, for all its kind of formalised violence, it is Moorcock's humanity which blasts through all the vast cosmic landscapes and mighty tragedy and makes this deservedly one of the great classics of its kind. It deserves its place with Tolkien and Peake and is, with them, one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy. Like Tolkien, this is high adventure, with quests and dragons, but like Peake it is the story of tormented individuals looking for understanding and meaning in a seemingly chaotic environment. Start anywhere -- but save Stormbringer for last! Multiples of everything seem to be Mr Moorcock's stock in trade! TT
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on April 11, 1999
This book finishes the Elric saga wonderfully. Moorcock is in top form here as all the various themes of the stories come together here in one gloriously painful coruscation of words. Elric is THE dark fantasy series and this proves why.
Here's an analysis of each story individually:
The Sleeping Sorceress: Continuing the line of events set into motion by "The Singing Citadel," Elric searches for Theleb K'aarna for revenge. Also sandwiched in here is Elric's view of the quest of the tower of <insert long impossible-to-remember name here> with Corum and Erekose. This view of it has much more impact on the Champion in question than it did on Corum, and makes for some wonderful character and plot development. Overall, the diverse elements synthesize into one fascinating whole. It even has Tanelorn, and that can't be bad.
Revenge of the Rose: This is much, much more recent than the rest of the Elric stuff, but it still fits in seamlessly. This is the best side-story Moorcock's ever written, which is saying a lot. It develops Elric's growing discontent with his current solutions to his problems and sets it against a rather amazing adventure story and a tasty bit of Melnibonean background. Combining that with the trademark bits of philosophical food for thought (and, for the less cerebral parts of our minds, cool battles and spells), this story wonderfully fills in a gap in the saga that we didn't even know existed before we read this.
The Stealer of Souls: Compared to the longer, more epic stuff, this isn't as great, but its still a nice little Elric story with some good developments, including a meeting we've been waiting for: the other Melniboneans.
Kings in Darkness: This is probably the weakest story in the book, and just as well that it's pretty short, but the ending and the storyline with Zarozinia is worth the rest of it, as it does give the one thing we all wanted him to have to Elric, for at least a little while.
The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams: This is a prelude to the end, setting up the idea that all isn't as nice and cozy as it seems. As a prelude, its not as good for the actual story as what it hints and sets up, but as that it's quintessential.
Stormbringer: This is the point of all the rest you've read. Everything hoped for and feared comes to pass, and then some. All the @#$% hits the fan in this one and the Balance gets thrown out the window in this narrative. The internal and external conflicts finally get resolved, one way or another, and Elric takes part in one final quest that you would never have thought of, but it makes perfect sense. This is a darkly shining piece of literature, a true triumph, and this sums up everything the Elric Saga stood for. The imagery, characterization, and plot are all as good as Moorcock ever was then. I sat awe-struck for fifteen minutes after the final pages, too moved to move(that's a bit awkward, but oh well).
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on January 10, 2002
I was told by a friend that you had to trust Moorcock. Not only do his stories unfold rather like life, with new information coming in from new angles all the time, but they march towards the greatest dramatic conclusion in all fantasy. And this is where you'll find it, in STORMBRINGER, the final volume. You will be mightily rewarded with one of the most powerful literary fantasy stories you've ever picked up. And once you start reading him, it becomes fascinating -- because no writer has written so much at such a high level of literary ambition. Read his Jerry Cornelius stories, his Pyat novels or books like Mother London and you will know why Moorcock got the Grand Master award and why he has been winning prizes since his career began.
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on April 14, 1999
When I read the last page of the series as a teenager many many years ago. The only thing I could do was throw the book in the air and roll off my bed. I lay there in a mind expanding daze for at least an 30 minutes! The ending took me totally by surprise, yet it fits the entire theme of the book and makes perfect mind boggling sense. This series is a must read. Elric is a tragic hero which rises to the level of the ancient Greek classics. This series will transform your worldview and shake the very foundations of your being.
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on January 1, 2000
There are some books that, once you've finished, you have to put down and ponder the moment upon. This is one of those books. I find myself flipping through those last few pages, reading again what excited me so much. I think it would be a waste for anyone to have read the first half of Elric's tale and miss out on the ending to it.
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