My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Review: The White Wolf

The White Wolf The White Wolf by Michael Moorcock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The latest trilogy of the Elric Saga … of which I am definitely a fan from childhood. Unfortunately the slow pace and the “Alice in Wonderland” style head trip didn’t work that well for me this time. The chaotic prose was so confusing it was difficult to follow that it was hard to tell what the plot actually was apart from an apparent never ending quest …

Book 1: The Dreamthief’s Daughter ***
I generally have difficulty with dreamscape stories and the Nazi trope was a little over done (if it were not for the publication date of 2001, I would have thought it a satire of our current political state in the US); however, it was still a fairly classic story albeit with Elric playing more of a supporting role (PoV was Ulric of Bek … a dream twin to Elric with his own rune sword and familial/cousin antagonist. Aside from the dream motif, the pace was on the slow side and a bit disappointing, especially the build up highlighting the evil Nazis (it was a decent historical commentary though). Things don’t go weird until Elrik shows up. The broad strokes will be familiar even if the details very from the classic story of the eternal champion.

Book 2: The Skrayling Tree **
Although the ending from The Dreamthief’s Daughter wrapped up and seemed to conclude the story of Ulric Von Bek, this book reopens that saga amongst a Native Americans Mythos that collides in a time warp with Viking explorers and retcons of few details across the entire corpus (justified by the 1,000 year dream). In that, I find it somewhat disappointing. Beyond that, the eternal conflict continues and Cousin Gaynor is apparently back with a vengeance. The story is told in three (3) acts/pov(s), starting with Oona, then Elric (still my fave) and finally back to Ulric to wrap it up one more time. Unfortunately the surreal dreamscape seems to provide the author with an opportunity pontificate and otherwise preach on a wide variety of social issues that really don’t add much to the story. In short … I found the story very slow and somewhat repetitive.

Book 3: The White Wolf’s Son ***
This story opens with Oonagh, the granddaughter of Ulric Von Bek and Oona (Part One) with the perennial companions and villains searching once again for the Holy Grail (or Staff because … you know, it’s an artifact that can take many forms). So I am going to come right out as say it … the names and foreign terms used throughout this trilogy are a bit too weird for my taste these days and serious detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story (especially when combined with the continuing dreamscape theme which by definition is even weirder). This all made the book a tough slog where I could only read 1 or 2 chapters at a time where I am used to reading nearly half or more at a sitting with my favorites. As usual, Elrik himself is introduced into the “dream” in part two … it is nominally his [dream] story after all … still trying to regain the legendary Stormbringer before his thousand year dream ends. Strange that the title character is barely in the story here.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheWhiteWolf #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.