Book Review: Elric: Song of the Black Sword

Elric Cover

This is the fifth book in the massive Eternal Champions series of books White Wolf published back in the 90s.  This one focuses on Michael Moorcock’s most famous creation, the anti-hero Elric, last of his decadent race, albino, drug addict, and wielder of the demon blade Stormbringer.  Moorcock has always been very, very hit & miss with me, and this omnibus really brings that home.

As I’ve reviewed the three novels contained within the book, I won’t go deep into them now.  It starts with Elric of Melnibone, our introduction to the character and his world.  Then there’s The Fortress of the Pearl, which I just didn’t like, and seems weirdly out of place.  Then we come back around with the very cool, ultra-weird The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, which really ramps up the out-there Fantasy ideas, and almost feels like it could live alongside Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser.  Of the Elric novels I’ve read, the latter is definitely my favorite. It also introduces Elric to the greater themes of the Eternal Champion Multiverse, and to a few other incarnations (including my favorite, Corum).

Rounding out the volume are several shorter stories, The Dreaming City, While the Gods Laugh, and The Singing Citadel.  I thought there would be more build-up to the events of The Dreaming City.  It seems like it should probably have been the capper of a 6 or 10 book series, not a short story in the first volume.  But hey, surprises are good, I suppose. 

I’m going to work my way through more of Moorcock’s stuff in the coming months and years.  I’m definitely going to revisit the Corum stories. I’ve been reading him off and on since I was a kid, but I’ve never been able to get a grasp on him, and I’m not sure I can call myself a fan.  Still, when he’s on, he makes up for the times when he’s not.

 

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