After reading the first two short stories in the Elric collection, I was ready to write the whole thing off as sloppy and unpleasant. The Dreaming City and While the Gods Laugh had nearly turned me away from Elric completely. However, upon reaching the Stealer of Souls my opinion has been completely reversed. The laxity in description I found the first two stories suffering from, I find nowhere in evidence here. Elric is finally the Elric I have been told of since I was young—a decadent, corrupt sorcerer who cannot determine if he is in control of himself or if Stormbringer is. It no longer seems so off-the-cuff, and I would therefore say that the character (and stories) have reached their stride.
I don't know how everyone else feels about Elric, but I can honestly say that for nearly a year I was ready to consign him to the fire. I'm glad I didn't.