Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock. Review by Violet Kane

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This sometimes neglected fantasy classic has the potential to reach a wider audience of new fans thanks to its recent audio release.

Elric, the albino prince of Melnibone, represents a classic character arc in fantasy fiction. His struggle with his cousin Yrkoon, rival to his throne, is poised on the edge of an era. Elric finds himself vulnerable to this challenge of his authority because his philosophy of rule brings change from the old ways of his people. But what will it take to assert his power and secure his throne? Elric finds that defeating his cousin way require becoming a man in the tradition of his ancestors of violence and cruelty.

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The story of Elric gets a well-deserved retelling in its recent audio production. This novel is a welcome departure from much of today's overblown epic fantasy. It is both mature and simply written, offering audiences a story with character conflict, magic and action. This audio version, read by Jeff West, is well-performed and accessible; at six discs in length it is also convenient and manageable. The only peculiarity of this audiobook is the constant soundtrack of moody music in the background. The dramatic rise and fall of the music is overkill and the spoken track would have been better left alone.

Overall this audiobook is an excellent opportunity for fantasy fans to appreciate or revisit an essential genre classic.

Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and has a Master's degree in Medieval studies. For more on Vio, check out her ARWZ blog.

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