Orb Books, 1993
This was my first introduction to Storm Constantine’s dark fantasy/sci-fi works. “Wraeththu” contains the first trilogy, The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire.
Set in a post-Apocalyptic near-future, the stories are centered around the growth of Wraeththu, a species that mutated from huamnity. Wraeththu are hermaphroditic, and in a unique twist they develop from the male of humanity rather than the female, as some other authors have done. Seemingly immortal, they struggle both with their own natures and with overcoming the mistakes of humanity before them.
Each book is told in first person; the first tells the story of Pellaz, a young man taken away by Wraeththu and incepted (made into one), and what befalls him from there. Swift, one of the first second-generation Wraeththu (born rather than incepted), tells the second story, while Calanthe, a key character in the first two, rounds out the trilogy with the third.
Constantine has a wonderfully rich writing style. She’s adept at weaving together complex characters and a believable setting, and while her stories aren’t packed full of action, they more than make up for it in storytelling. This isn’t the kind of book that resembles a Hollywood movie; rather, it draws you into the tale and makes you want to see what decisions the characters will make next. Constantine also works a good bit of subtle occultism into the world of Wraeththu, both in ritual practices and in philosophy.
If you’re tired of fluff fantasy and want something with a little more meat to it, pick up this excellent introduction to Storm Constantine’s works.
Five pawprints out of five.