Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is some epic awesomeness.
I'm an absolute sucker for the grand sweeping personal quests to gain more and yet more magical power in the service of rescuing your one true love, casting aside morals, the greater good, your own health, and possibly your own sanity.
This tale holds up perfectly after all this time. All the best aspects of modern fantasy are encapsulated and written with such spartan clarity and diamond sharpness within Moorcock's classic. I only needed this one taste and I'm now a lifelong fan. It's that easy.
This is easily one of the classics of all Sword and Sorcery and I knew that people swore by it before I read it, but I was hesitant. Why? Hell if I know. It was such a brilliant, fantastic, imaginative world, but even better than that were the characters. Elric, of course, is the ultimate Nietzsche Super-Man, fully beyond good and evil, but he, like all super-villains, considers himself the ultimate hero of his story, and I have to agree with him. I love the story.
It's really cool that I've finally read something, after all this time, that evokes the same feeling as I get from the classic Star Wars films. When they faced each other with the two uber-powerful runic swords, I got chills. Seriously. I usually don't get suckered in this easy. I've read a LOT of fantasy and a LOT of really great fantasy, but this one was so diamond-hard that it left me speechless. :)
I was even more impressed by the author's command of sheer storytelling. The whole thing actually evoked awe and wonder. Each new mastery of magic came at a cost, and there was so much magic. Like the Ouroboros, Elric kept feeding on himself to gain more and more power, and the cycle repeated and repeated, with future sacrifice for power, now. Is it the ultimate faustian tale? I don't know, yet, but I'll be reading more. As it is here, we've got a meteoric rise from the simple mastery of the kingdom of Melniboné to the mastery of chaos magic, the elementals, and the godlike black sword.
Do you want a character so awfully OP that nothing, absolutely nothing, can stand in his way? Hell yeah. I'm a gamer. Do you want to have a story that manages to take him and never make him boring? Hell yeah! Here you go!
I'm seriously ashamed that I never got into this earlier. I knew it was out there. I know the author is recognized as one of the greats of fantasy. And now I know why, and I'm hooked. :)
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