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Elric of Melniboné (The Elric Saga #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,419 Ratings  ·  540 Reviews
It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair that flows below his shoulders is milk-white. From the tapering, beautiful head stare two slanting eyes, crimson and moody....He is Elric, Emperor of Melnibone, cursed with a keen and cynical intelligence, schooled in the art of sorcery -- the hero of Michael Moorcock's remarkable epic of conflict and adven ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 181 pages
Published July 15th 1987 by Ace Books (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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J.G. Keely
I have spent a long time searching for a modern fantastical epic which is worth reading. It seems like there should be one, out there, somewhere. I have so enjoyed the battlefields of Troy, the dank cavern of Grendel's dam, Dido's lament, Ovid's hundred wild-spun tales, perfidious Odysseus, the madness of Orlando, Satan's twisted rhetoric, and Gilgamesh's sea-voyage to the forgotten lands of death. And so I seek some modern author to reinvent these tales with some sense of scholarship, poetry, c ...more
Stephen
After reading and having my hair blown back by The Swords Trilogy (The Knight of the Swords,The Queen of the Swords and The King of the Swords), I decided to dive into the adventures of Moorcock's most famous avatar of the Eternal Champion, Elric of Melnibone.

This first installment serves as a nice introduction to the contemplative albino sorcerer, who rules the ancient, powerful land of Melnibone. It was a nice surprise to learn that in the never ending, multi-dimensional cosmic dust up between
...more
StoryTellerShannon
This is THE classic sword and sorcery tale that came about in the early 1960s. Note that I am referencing when Elric first appeared which was in Moorcock’s novella, "The Dreaming City" (Science Fantasy #47, June 1961 (Wiki).

Note that this is one of my early reviews so the format is different.



CONCEPT: Very interesting. This one was done in the 60s before there were a lot of Sci fi/Fantasy writers. Moorcock is definitely one of the older writers and his works range in quality though fortunately
...more
Algernon
Apr 22, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

cover

This is the tale of Elric before he was called Woman-slayer, before the final collapse of Melnibone. This is the tale of his rivalry with his cousin Yirkoon and his love for his cousin Cymoril, before that rivalry and that love brought Imrryr, the Dreaming City, crashing in flames, raped by the reavers from the Young Kingdoms. This is the tale of the two black swords, Stormbringer and Mournblade, and how they were discovered and what part they played in the destiny of Elric and Melnibone - a de
...more
Callum
Jul 27, 2015 Callum rated it it was amazing
As a self-professed Tolkien separatist, Michael Moorcock never appealed to me. Because so, I was rather sceptical (perhaps even pessimistic) about Elric of Melniboné. At a young age, I was obsessed with Middle-Earth's vast legendarium, and I thought his works to be impeachable. I know now that they aren't and yet, that still doesn't change my reverence toward Tolkien and his works.

With Moorcock however, I learned not to be too haste in judging the man behind the work. Though I found his Epic Po
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this edition years ago. I loved it. I have also reviewed the omnibus volumes that came out recently. While I like some Elric stories better than others I believe "he" (this character, you know "Elric") holds a special place in the annals of fantasy characters. Or maybe I should say tragic fantasy characters.

I just noted this review and thought I'd add this to my earlier comments. There was a time when (back in the '70s and '80s) when the Eternal Champion books were a "must read" among fa
...more
Evgeny
Jul 17, 2013 Evgeny rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first book of a classic fantasy series with an iconic anti-hero. From what I understand the author tried to create something different from The Lord of the Rings; at the time this book was published the majority of fantasy genre consisted of The Lord of the Rings clones. Considering that the series now has a status of genre classics, the author succeeded.

The main hero Elric is an albino who happened to be the Emperor of Melniboné and who must use potions to maintain his strength. He
...more
Kat  Hooper
Mar 07, 2011 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Elric, emperor of Melniboné, is not your typical fantasy hero. He’s an albino with white skin, long white hair, and slanting red eyes. He’s weak and has to take drugs every few hours just to maintain the strength of a normal man. He’s a brooding and contemplative scholar, which makes him dull at parties.

Some people think Elric is a demon — he sure looks like one — and many of his subjects would prefer to have the throne of Melniboné occupied by Elric’s cha
...more
Alex
Jul 01, 2009 Alex rated it it was ok
You know, I kept seeing Moorcock's Elric stories referred to by authors I enjoyed greatly as being totally inspirational and important to the beginnings of "New Weird" fiction (which is what people who write Urban Fantasy but want to be taken seriously call their work). So I'm going on vacation and I think to myself "This'll be the perfect thing to read on the beach or in transit; fun, surprisingly good, etc etc etc".

As it turns out I'm just not seeing it. I know that issue may be that I'm read
...more
Swankivy
Aug 20, 2008 Swankivy rated it did not like it
This book and I . . . disagreed. I tend to dislike fantasy books whose language is flowery, whose characters are coarse and papery, and whose plots are obviously constructions of the authors to be used with appropriately puppet-like characters. But my friend liked this story, so I said I'd read it. :) I don't understand how this stuff got popular. Not at all. I read some of it out loud to a discerning friend of mine, sometimes in disbelief and unable to stop from laughing, and to this day we mak ...more
David Sarkies
Feb 09, 2015 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who want something different from their fantasy
Recommended to David by: A girl named Ally
Shelves: fantasy
A sickly emperor with a demon possessed sword
14 April 2011


This was one of the earlier fantasy books that does not fall into what I consider the fantasy genre I term as 'Lord of the Rings wannabe's'. Elric is not a hero nor is he on a quest to save the world. In fact, while not going out of his way to destroy the world, the character of Elric would be more at home as a villain than as the central character of a fantasy series. But this is what Elric is, and these stories, originally published as
...more
Nathan
Fantasy Review Barn

In the style of an oral storyteller, bringing to mind the Greek classics in its deeds, I admit I was quite surprised by how good Elric of Melniboné was. It is not a question of an old book holding up in this case, rather Elric is obviously a pace setter that countless that follow can only hope to keep up with. If anything I have proven to myself that some of the classics of the genre are considered so for a reason; I will drop a minor heresy in that given a choice I would rer
...more
Apatt
Oct 30, 2011 Apatt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-top20

I have this feeling that my luck is none too good. This sword here at my side don’t act the way it should. Keeps calling me it’s master, but I feel like it’s slave.
Hauling me faster and faster to an early, early grave.
And it howls! It howls like hell!





"Black Blade" by Blue Öyster Cult, lyrics by Michael Moorcock

How many authors do you know who gets to write lyrics for a song based on his book to be record by a legendary metal band? Elric has to be just about the coolest most bad ass mofo in th
...more
Caro Márquez
I picked this for my reading challenge and I was not disappointed, but rather pissed at myself that I was putting it away for so long. I was surprised how fresh it felt, considering that Elric was born somewhere between years 1960 and 1970.

Quite a fast paced story, rather short and not overly detailed, it takes us into the decadent and violent land of Melniboné, where sorcerers live side by side with dragons and demons of higher and lower planes. Melnibonéans drown their days in cruel rituals a
...more
jackalope Mack
Jul 31, 2007 jackalope Mack rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People disappointed with Harry Potter
Shelves: sciencefiction
I'll never forget the first time I heard about Elric. It was at the high school graduation party of my friend, Denyse Byrd. Denyse was an intriguing figure to me. I never had the courage to ask her out. While she did not look like Morticia Addams, she had a certain dark allure about her, like Morticia. If she ever reads this, I hope she takes this in a good way.

Anyway, at the party, Denyse mentioned that she'd read Elric and found something in the books that she never got out of "The Lord of the
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this one years ago. When I ran across this audio version I picked it up. Having not read any of the Eternal Champion volumes for a long time it sort of "reminded me" how much I liked many of them.

This short book serves as a sort of "intro" to the entire Elric saga and we get a look at much of the character Mr. Moorcock was building for Elric (and I'd forgotten how annoying Elric could be).

This (these actually as it applies to the Elric series) is a book I'd recommend for anyone who likes
...more
Zach
Sep 03, 2009 Zach rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
In which Elric fights off his cousin's usurpation, first strikes a deal with Arioch and other higher powers, meets Rackhir the Red Archer, acquires the sword Stormbringer, and makes a lot of terrible choices in the name of defying Fate and the Powers That Be.

Overwrought and amateurish, and yet still a classic of fantastic literature: wonderfully dry (you can almost picture him writing these books with one eyebrow continuously cocked at his typewriter), compelling, a quick read, and full of the g
...more
Lee Broderick
Jun 01, 2014 Lee Broderick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Moorcock wrote of his obsession, and later friendship, with Mervyn Peake in his introduction to my edition of The Gormenghast Trilogy . That influence is clear here - his sentences are not as long and his language not quite as beautiful but it echoes Peake's; not quite imitative but clearly inspired. The writing, then, is wonderful.

Unlike Peake's classic though, this is essentially an adventure story and so is short and punchy in the way of swords and sorcery yarns. Moorcock's hero, tho
...more
Nate
Mar 18, 2014 Nate rated it really liked it
This was a very charming book in its own morbid way. Elric is the singularly badass Emperor of Melniboné--a debauched, weird island nation that used to be a sprawling, powerful empire. Apparently it's considered completely uncool to be anything but self-possessed, icy and callous on Melniboné but Elric seems to be of a different stock than most of his pale kin--a bit more introspective and even moralistic. This alone presents him with several problems, and compounding things is his cousin Yyrkoo ...more
Marta Conejo
Jan 12, 2016 Marta Conejo rated it did not like it
Bueno, pues a ver por donde empiezo.

Este libro me lo recomendó mi pareja, mayormente porque había oído hablar de la saga y quería verlo. Finalicé la primera saga de Brent Weeks y me puse con este libro. Es cortito, la verdad.

Pero me ha parecido muy malo. Pero tanto en trama, como en la forma escrita, en cómo se resuelven los conflictos y en el desarrollo de los personajes. Me parece que está escrito - y espero que no sea por la traducción - como si fuera un libro para niños pequeños, resolvien
...more
Jim
Aug 30, 2007 Jim rated it really liked it
A very interesting and well written set of books with the central character being Elric of Melnibone. Elric is an Albino king who is very sickly and weak until he discovers "stormbringer" a 'rune sword' of incredible power. With it, he is able to restore himself to the throne and many other things but it is bittersweet. The sword Stormbringer exacts its own price.

The whole "Elric" series is well written, a fast read, and full of twists and changes.

Kevin Xu
Jan 23, 2015 Kevin Xu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
this is how great fantasy should be done
sologdin
Dying empire presented with two means of resuscitation: irredentist aggression or contemplative isolationism, each represented, somewhat reductively, by the principal antagonist and protagonist. Their agon includes a series of coups and counter-coups, and results in a bizarre duel with sentient nuclear-swords on the wrong side of the last sphincter in hell's colon.

The protagonist has the repuation of being an anti-hero, and he lives up to it, as "his desire was not to reform Melnibone but to re
...more
Tom
Sep 05, 2007 Tom rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy and Dark fiction fans
Shelves: fantasy
Michael Moorcock created a new kind of hero in Elric of Melnibone. Elric first appeared in several novelettes in the early 1960's (later collected as sequels to this volume).

Here, the brooding wizard prince of the ancient and powerful kingdom fights his male cousin, Yrkoon, for a seat on the Ruby Throne, and the love of his female cousin, Cymoril.

As a physically frail, well educated, wizard Elric is the opposite of the traditional warrior hero. This book stands the test of time and remains a exc
...more
Lannister
3.5 stars

I read an article in the New Yorker recently that described Michael Moorcock as the anti-Tolkien. The article asserts that Tolkien supported "a conservative vision of the status quo", whereas Moorcock's Elric stories are "about law and chaos, and how, sometimes, choosing one over the other is no more or less just." You could also make a case that Moorcock's writing style is the antithesis of Tolkien's too.

Elric of Melnibone was published in 1972 (though its roots go back to the 1960s),
...more
Kascha
Apr 17, 2012 Kascha rated it it was amazing
My brothers were really heavily into D&D and the swords and sorcery thing when we were growing up and I ended up getting into this series and author after weirdly enough looking at Elric on the cover of this book and thinking he was the most interesting looking guy I had ever seen, haha.

Anyways, this is a great start to what ended up being an awesome series. It was easy to fall right into the decadence and politics of Melnibone and to feel right at home in this world. Almost like I was a mem
...more
Sath
Feb 01, 2011 Sath rated it really liked it
Yet another classic I've been meaning to read for a long time, and was glad I got around to!

The Melniboneans are an Ancient race of humans, characterised by their self importance, hedonistic ways, and distinct lack of compassion for others. Very similar to the traditional fantasy dark elves, although of course their appearance is human.
Elric is the last in a long line of Melnibonean kings, he's a sickly albino that has managed to sustain his health and keep up appearances by the heavy use of dr
...more
Vincent Stoessel
Sep 14, 2013 Vincent Stoessel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've read this book about 3 times and I've enjoyed it each time. If this is pulp, it's the epitome of the art form.
Moorcock brings a darkness to his fantasy that we don't really see as much anymore. It's scary, it's heroic, it's tragic and it's good.


Note: This is the first of the original Elric Saga and it's a complete novel. I say that because subsequent books are more akin to collections of short stories and novellas. The notable exception being Stormbringer, the final novel in the original s
...more
Carmine
Aug 20, 2015 Carmine rated it really liked it
"Elric di Melnibonè" è un fantasy parecchio atipico rispetto ai canoni classici a cui un lettore è abituato.
Moorcock incentra l'opera principalmente su due fattori: il protagonista e l'ambientazione.
Fin dalle prime battute si evince che l'intreccio narrativo segua delle linee guida parecchio semplici; inoltre gli stessi personaggi che ruotano attorno al protagonista sono poco più che macchiette.
A parziale discolpa dell'opera bisogna specificare che il romanzo si avvale di poco più di 100 pagine,
...more
Βαλάντης  Δοξάκιερ
Εκπληκτικό !!!Έχουν περάσει 3 χρόνια που πρωτοδιάβασα ένα κόμιξ σε graphic novel και ένα βιβλίο με τον Έλρικ και αυτό το βιβλίο ήταν η Εκδίκηση του ρόδου το οποίο βρήκα αν και είχε λίγα ορισμένα βαρετά σημεία,ήταν καταπληκτικό αλλά αυτό εδώ που είναι το πρώτο βιβλίο της σειράς είναι απίστευτα συναρπαστικό και μοναδικά υπέροχο πιο πολύ συναρπαστικό και καλύτερο από τα υπόλοιπα βιβλία του Έλρικ που οπωσδήποτε θα διαβάσω σύντομα μόλις βρώ ευκαιρεία. Όπως κάθε ιστορία σε κάθε βιβλίο του του πολύ αγα ...more
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As compared to Wheel of Time? 4 58 Feb 07, 2014 05:05AM  
  • Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1)
  • The Broken Sword
  • Darkness Weaves
  • Elric: Tales of the White Wolf (Michael Moorcock's Elric)
  • The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Conan the Cimmerian, #1)
  • Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone
  • The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth, #2)
  • Elric: Stormbringer
  • Thieves' World (Thieves' World, #1)
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Michael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956,
...more
More about Michael Moorcock...

Other Books in the Series

The Elric Saga (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (Elric, #2)
  • The Weird of the White Wolf (The Elric Saga, #3)
  • The Vanishing Tower (Elric, #4)
  • The Bane of the Black Sword (The Elric Saga, #5)
  • Stormbringer (Elric, #6)
  • Elric at the End of Time (Elric, #7)
  • The Fortress of the Pearl (Elric #8)
  • The Revenge of the Rose (Elric, #9)
  • The Dreamthief's Daughter
  • The Skrayling Tree: The Albino in America (Elric & Oona Von Bek, #2)

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“Legends are best left as legends and attempts to make them real are rarely successful” 25 likes
“Why should their pain produce such marvelous beauty? he wonders. Or is all beauty created through pain? Is that the secret of great art, both human and Melnibonen?” 1 likes
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