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Elric of Melniboné - Michael Moorcock I read this and the original Elric novels at approximately age 12, when I still read sci-fi and fantasy and wandered through my library's adult and young adult collections reading whatever looked interesting.

This short novel and its sequels are pagan gothic sci-fi/fantasy, about the adventures of an outcast former emperor who becomes the servant of a chaos god and travels the world (and eventually the multiverse) fighting battles. This first novel serves mainly to introduce the character and set up the circumstances of his adventures.

Fans of goth (not so much "gothic" as "goth") will like this book and its sequels if they don't already know it, because Elric has been described as the "original gothic punk" of fantasy and because the books are increasingly dark and unpleasant. Prevalent themes are forms of vampirism, enslavement to demons, Elric suffering endless angst, and Elric being endlessly manipulated by dark forces beyond his control.

Those preferring well-written, "literary" fantasy and sci-fi probably won't particularly like this series. It's not so much poorly written as cartoonish; Peter David could generally have written it. It's shallow, offering more of plot than character. (Most characters don't stay for long, often because Elric's vampiric sword murders them.) I remember the series for its strangeness and darkness, but wouldn't read it now.