Author: Storm ConstantineWraeththu by Storm Constantine
Publisher: Orb Books (1993)
Number of Pages: 800
How long it took me to read: 1 year, 1 week, 5 days
Where I bought it: Local Barnes & Noble
ISBN: 0-312-89000-1
Note: Three novels make up this compilation – The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire.

Like a Moth to a Flame

Tagging along to the local bookstore with a fellow bookworm, I found myself mildly mesmerized by the sci-fi/fantasy books. I don’t normally peruse these shelves, so you can understand my confusion when titles started becoming titillating. I wasn’t planning on adding to my personal library but as my eyes glided from spine to colorful spine, I came across this meaty text. I like a challenge. I picked it up and read the back cover. It spoke of a superior race living on the planet after most humans became extinct. Who wouldn’t want to have a peak at the new and improved Human 2.0?

Favorite Five

My favorite 5 quotes from this book are:

5. “I had the cards in my hand, but I couldn’t read them.” (p.668)

4. “…without pain, pleasure cannot exist.” (p.697)

3. “Winter-time is necessary, a time of replenishing.” (p.707)

2. “I learned how quickly the earth takes back what humankind had taken from her. Buildings like empty skulls could be seen amid riotous growths of weeds and grass. A field of corn surged unchecked across the neglected yard of a farm. We passed a crossroads where something hung crucified, its legs hugged by clinging vines, white flowers blooming among the rags of its rotted belly.” (p.368)

…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…

1. “I have been writing now for over a week. I find it cleansing, refreshing; it is good for me.” (p.531)

Conversation with the Reader

While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:

“Reading Constantine’s work is a strange experience. There’s a level of momentum involved. I don’t know whether it’s the flow of her sentences, the way she puts words together, or the fact that I don’t know what’s happening half the time, but it takes me a while to read at a steady pace. Getting started feels like I’m reading each word individually, as though they were separated by full stops.”

“Maybe I’m not the type of reader who can truly appreciate this sort of book – the kind that has a glossary of alien terms at the back and pages of maps padding its front cover. Sometimes, it feels like I’m reading World of Warcraft, and believe me, there’s a reason WOW is a game and not a book (except that I think I’ve seen WOW books on the shelves, in which case, I wish those readers much luck and good fortune)!”

“I still don’t know what’s going on in this trilogy, but I’m so happy that I’ve made it through the first 2 books. Yes, I know I could simply stop reading it and move on to more enjoyable literary escapades, but once I start a book, it takes quite a bit for me to walk away from it, unfinished. I’m plugging along. I’m thinking of taking it on our trip to San Diego this weekend, but it’s so heavy! Note to writer self: try not to write books that are too heavy to carry – might scare off readers.”

“What’s the lesson in my having found such a resonating quote (#1 above) in such an unexpected place as the world of the Wraeththu? Is it to perhaps show me that writers come in all shapes and sizes? Or is it maybe confirmation that when we choose to walk our own paths, we notice messages meant for us in even the most unexpected of places? I think I will accept both as valid parts of a complicated explanation of a truth I think I’m only meant to partially understand at this point on my journey.”

“Constantine has the tendency to use complicated words to get simple messages across. Sometimes she uses too many words. Sometimes more is less. Then there are respected writers like Tolkien who take whole chapters to describe the view from a hilltop. I guess part of it is about finding your style as a writer, another is about knowing how to write well. Constantine tries to sound sophisticated while describing the lives of barbarians. Note to writer self: find the balance.

“Relatively enjoyable, more so the fact that I’m reading more today (both in quantity and diversity of books) than the fact that the content itself is getting any more interesting.”

“Once again, difficult to get absorbed in the story until I’ve read a good few pages. There are too many characters, too many unidentifiable words, too many strange names of people, places and things – might be why it’s a tough read.”

“Everything in this convoluted tale is beginning to come together. Reasons are being revealed, truths are becoming clearer. But why make the reader wait almost 700 pages? I don’t know, I’m probably just not resonating enough with this book to appreciate the creativity.”

“Aaahh. Finished! What a weight off my shoulders.”

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  1. I am the publicity rep for Immanion Press which is owned by Wraeththu author Storm Constantine. We are emailing all fans of the series with an important announcement! We hope that fans will post and distribute this notice to other fans in order to help create a large number of relevant submissions!

    Please feel free to post and pass around this Call for Submissions to anyone who writes or is interested in writing about Wraeththu!

    Full details of the CFS can be found here: http://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/call-for-submissions-wraeththu-mythos/

  2. […] if I’ve just naïvely embarked upon another journey like the one I was dragged through with the Wraeththtu. I would very much like to finish this book in less than a year. Unfortunately, the bloodshed of […]

  3. Sarah Browne says:

    This is one of my favorite books. I read it about two or three years ago, but all of the characters have stuck with me since. Calanthe, Pellaz, Vaysh, Panthera, Cobweb, Terzian, etc… all very well-fleshed-out and unique. This was the first book that I read that I found beautifully erotic; the sex-magic, while it sounds silly to talk about afterwards, works perfectly within the vast realms of this magnificent novel. The relationships between all of the characters are believable, dynamic, and engrossing.
    If you’re bisexual or just a fan of books that test the boundaries of gender and redefine your conceptions about beauty and sexuality, get ready to fall in love.

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