I had a bad feeling about this book after finishing the last volume that was, unfortunately, proven correct. Especially with stories like Elric, I have no issue with writers taking liberties with the story t provide a new perspective on the tale. Where I have a problem is when the changes completely distort the main character to the point of making him unrecognizable.
Elric has always been a self centered, self pitying character but he was never evil, despite being the ruler of a kingdom that could charitably be called hell on earth. He would not hesitate to kill if necessary or throw even his closest friends to his enemies if it meant saving his skin but killing simply for the sake of killing or just to appease his sword’s thirst for blood? No way.
Both happen in this book. During one scene, Elric & his men encounter a young family and Elric terrifies a young child, telling him about devouring his organs, before slaughtering everyone. In another scene, his sword needs to feed and, rather than seek out someone who is actively trying to kill him, Elric decides to kill one of the soldiers under his command.
Elric was the first anti-hero I ever encountered in fantasy and I loved him. The character in this book is not an anti-hero, he is a dick and I actively hate him. The only reason I am not giving this 1* is because the artwork remains phenomenal.
Oh yes, one other massive change to the story: suddenly Stormbringer & Mournblade are not ancient swords that had been hidden away, they are the daughters of Arioch. This not only makes no sense, it robs the story of the incredible scenes when Elric retrieves Stormbringer, and it places Elric completely under the control of Chaos within the narrative, rather than a neutral agent who eventually opposes Chaos.
Avoid this book, and pity me because I ordered volume 3 when I bought volume 2. So, oy vey, I feel obligated to review it as well