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Wraeththu by Storm Constantine
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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
An interesting concept, but so much of the story was a fait accompli, I found it difficult to get too involved. ( )
  on_elc | Aug 22, 2016 |
(Re-posted from http://theturnedbrain.blogspot.com)

So whenever I think about how "good" a book is there always appears in my mind a spectrum. On one end we have PLOT and on the other end there is CHARACTER. I feel like the books that could most objectively be called "the best" fall right smack in the middle of these two things, a perfect mix of plot and characters. But to be honest the books I love best tend to be way unbalanced, in favour of the character side of things. Objectively I can admit that these books might not be the most expertly crafted, but I care not at all. It's characters or GTFO for me folks, all the way.

Storm Constantine's Wreaththu trilogy (read by me in a convenient omnibus version) was the perfect example of this. Most of the reviews I see of these three books (that aren't dealing with the role playing game that has apparently been developed around them) complain that the plot is a bit lacking. And they're right. I can see that they're right. Do I care? Not really. Because dude, I dug these books.

The premise that at some point in the future humanity has began to evolve intoa higher form called wraeththu. Wraththu are beautiful and awesome and just, like, so totally superior to mankind in every single way. Or so they like to think of themselves. Really the wraeththu are just as flawed as man is, just in slightly different ways. The blurb of the omnibus edition made out like these books would deal with mankind's struggle not to be replaced. Which was crazy misleading, because there is no struggle. Mankind has lost. It is the final twilight of man. Really the books deal with the the establishment of wraththu society, and how the new race struggles to find it's own identity without falling into the same behaviors that ruined mankind.

The three books span a decent amount of time, and when we start out the wraeththu are little more than separate waring tribes, and by the end we see that civilizations start to form. This isn't the point to the books and mostly happens in the background, but it's pretty cool to see the subtle evolution.

I will say that the fact they were written in the 80s shows like crazy. The apololyptic wasteland of the first book just screams early nineties, mad max/tank girl, and the extended ruminations of gender read as dated to me. But still interesting. The wraeththu are both male and female, and they either start of as male humans and are "turned" to wreaththu, or, later in the series, pure wraththu babies start being born. The contrast in how turned and born wraththu dealt with gender was fascinating.

You'll note I still really haven't talked about plot. It's not fair to say that there is no plot, because there is! Book 1 deals with turned wraeththu Pelaz, who is being groomed by a higher being to be the supreme emporer of the world. The only problem is Pelaz' unforturnate choice of lover, Cal. Of the three books this was my least favourite, as Pelaz is a fairy cold and removed protagonist. It's not terrible though, but the final two volumes are worlds better.

Book two, and my favorite, revolves around born wraeththu Swift. It's basically a coming of age tale, and I'm a sucker for the coming of age tale. And it's a really good one. Swift's father is just a little bit evil (but still painfully sympathetic to the reader), and his hostling (mother, basically) is just a little bit batshit insane, and poor Swift is one of the first pure wraeththu babies to be born, so it's not like he has anyone to tell him what to expect as he grows up.

The last book focus' on Cal, who continues to be the spanner in the works of many a well laid plan, as he fights against his inevitable destiny. Cal is. Well. Cal is Cal. Beautiful and sharp and funny and more than a little bit broken. This is the only book he narrates, but he appears across all three and it was a delight to watch how our understanding of him grows as we see him from first Pelaz's point of view, and then Swift's, and then finally his own.

Really, if you're going to read these books, you're going to do it for the characters. They're beautifully written, sympathetic and consistent. The plot? I mean, yeah, it's there. But the endings get wrapped up way too easily (more often than not by using the power of magical wreaththu sex. No really), but the flaws in plotting do not at all detract from these books. Assuming you love characters as much as I do, that is. ( )
1 vote MeganDawn | Jan 18, 2016 |
I got about two books out of the three finished...I was three quarters of the way through the second before I got the point where I was like, "Okay, this is ridiculous. I'm really sick of this pseudo homoeroticism. Females suck, blah blah blah. No females here!"



Maybe I'll come back to it later. Hell, it took me five years to finish the second book...
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
I got about two books out of the three finished...I was three quarters of the way through the second before I got the point where I was like, "Okay, this is ridiculous. I'm really sick of this pseudo homoeroticism. Females suck, blah blah blah. No females here!"



Maybe I'll come back to it later. Hell, it took me five years to finish the second book...
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
What can I say about this book? Ah! It took me long, very long to get through it, because the first book had not ended too well -or should I said, had a confusing ending (was it happy or sad...?), and I'm a sucker for happy endings.


I think I'll start by pointing out I truly did like this book. Had a hard time deciding between four and five stars- I wanted four and a half, really.

The story on itself was great, fantastic in writing, the setting- not really something completely new and out of the ordinary, but interesting to read; the characters were all very interesting and deeply thought, though I could only get myself to truly care for two, and they were not even the main characters.
I was very interested at the subject of hermaphrodites, though I must say, I got a little tired of being told each har they met was super pretty and perfect- yes, we get it, all har are beautiful and perfect!

I didn't really fancy the whole pregnancy thing, perhaps because I still saw them as very male-like, and as such, it all reeked of "mpreg".

Two things threw me off the book, but I guess in the overall, they weren't so annoying that it made me dislike it entirely. (I mean, I did read it through and liked it plenty, after all)
The first was that the Wraeththu were a "very sexual race" which means, put plainly, "I love YOU, but I'll have sex with just about everyone I come across."
Sorry, but I like my romance romantic and faithful.

The second was the reiteration of the ambiguous endings.
Were they happy? Were they sad? I can't decide!! It's driving me insane! The second book was the one that ended the best, and the third book, gosh, guess it should have been a happy ending, yet it was sad in a way. Ah, bittersweet, like life itself, I guess? I find myself torn to think on whether I enjoyed the ending... In a way, I think I didn't, I feel it should've developed a bit differently- I feel Calanthe should have said, "to hell! Pell, I love you, but it can't be." and started a whole new life.

Ah well, I enjoyed the book, overall; though I had some visualization problems. ( )
  AshuritaLove | Apr 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Our next meeting will be in the lodge, where, beneath the soft radiance of the everburning flame above you, and with the light upon the altar casting its wavering radiance upon the symbols thereon, you will take the Oath of the Mysteries, and I, ruling in the East, will accept that oath, and, by virtue of my office, bring you into our brotherhood.

The gates stand open; enter into light.

W. E. Butler
(Apprenticed to magic)
Dedication
This book is dedicated to the almond eyes...

With thanks to Dave Weight for liasing,
Heidi for her incisive vision,
The Closets of Emily Child for music to write by,
Gillan Paris for the loan of a "Forever" surrogate to photograph
and Jag for the sake of his art and being harishly beautiful.
First words
Today: a perfect day for thinking back.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Omnibus edition of the Wraeththu Chronicles: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit; Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and Fulfillments of Fate and Desire.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312890001, Paperback)

In this powerful and elegant story set in a future Earth very different from our own, a new kind of human has evolved to challenge the dominion of Homo sapiens. This new breed is stronger, smarter, and far more beautiful than their parent race, and are endowed with psychic as well as physical gifts. They are destined to supplant humanity as we know it, but humanity won't die without a struggle.

Here at last in a single volume are all three of Constantine's Wraeththu trilogy: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:13 -0400)

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