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Wraeththu Paperback – October 15, 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The mood and language are elaborately woven, the style verging occasionally on the Victorian Gothic, with a decadence just short of the frenzied works of Poe. Storm Constantine is a tremendously impressive novelist.” ―Locus

From the Back Cover

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Wraeththu
  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (October 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312890001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890001
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Years ago I read "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula LeGuin, one of the finest authors in the English language. I enjoyed the book very much, but the hemaphroditic race always struck me as so utterly masculine as to be unbelievable. Storm Constantine takes this theme (amongst others) and blows it sky-high delivering a tale of magic, power, Utopian and Dystopian visions of the future, and the fate of humankind.
This is a tale about a reality that has not happened yet. Humans and Wraeththu both react to a new world, sometimes well, sometimes poorly, sometimes with poetic vision, often from a position of self-interest. Cal, Pel, Cobweb, all the others are real, though eerie; they are utterly compelling, attractive to male and female alike. The sexual aspects of the book sometimes threaten to break loose wildly, only to be brought back under check as Storm shows there is more to life other than sex, even when one is defined by one's gender or sexual preferences.
The world has changed. Individuals attempt to adapt to this world, but many bring their troubles, pettiness, and fear along with them. The paradigm is gone; long live the new paradigm! But what will this be?
Above all, this is a work of linguistic beauty. Unlike so many authors, Storm Constantine really CAN write her way out of a paper bag. She has a way with words that may only be compared to the Romantics of the early 19th century and the Magical Realists of the 20th. Her words are evocative and resonate beyond their simple meanings. Sentences have texture, aroma, and age to them; these are words that move beyond dictionaries. To read her works is a delight, a voluptuous wrapping of cadence and suggestion. If you have no other reason why you would read this book, read it to learn how language may be crafted.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book! Storm Constantine creates a fully believable world, filled with exotic cultures and even more exotic characters that you will come to love.
Wraeththu is told from first person perspective, which I enjoy, and is broken into three books. Each is told from the perspective of a very different character. First is Pellaz the innocent young man, who introduces us to Wraeththu culture even as he is introduced to it, himself. Next is Swift, a first generation Wraetthu with whom we see the upheaval and maturing of the Wraetthu culture, and learn further secrets of this strange new race. Finally it wraps up with Calanthe, the chaotic har who is the catalyst for most of the action in all three books. He brings the story to a very satisfying close.
A warning though, if you dislike sex in your books, there is a strong sexual element that is integral to the story. It is not graphic nor gratuitous, in my opinion, but it is definitely there and it is non-traditional. You will need an open mind to fully enjoy these books.
All I can say is that if you are looking for something different and good you will find it here!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Other reviews have covered the plot, so I'll concentrate onwho I think would best enjoy (or not enjoy) this book.
First, mythoughts on who won't like it. Those who prefer fact-focused sci-fi (also called "hard" sci-fi)---stay away. This is a character story, at its heart a love story, and the science in it is vague and unspecific, if covered at all. The book is closer to fantasy, if it can be categorized at all. Those who prefer didactic or straightforward themes, action, or adventure---you'll be disappointed. The adventure in these books lies within the minds and
hearts of the protagonists, and while there are some harrowing moments, there aren't enough to satisfy the action fan. Those who prefer their speculative fiction firmly in the realm of "traditional" sci-fi---there are no aliens, no other worlds except in the spiritual sense, no postulations of the future based on anything in existence today. Lastly, those who can't handle the occult/"paganism"/non-Judeo-Christian notions about God and the spirit, and those who can't handle even the appearance of homosexuality or bisexuality, this is not the title for you.
Those who will enjoy it are a) the reverse of all of the above, b) anyone interested in the philosophies underlying the goth subculture, c) anyone interested in the evolution of culture and religion over time, and d) anyone who likes a good new-fangled love story.
Additional note---my experience has been (after sharing this book with many friends) that those who expect this book to be erotica, especially gay erotica, are largely disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
First of all, Wraeththu is no book common. In no regard. By any measure you put on it, it would still be outstanding. In theme, in language, in story and style. Storm Constantine has a way with words, despite a certain lack of action (although there is that, too) it never gets boring.
It also may not be to everybodys taste. Due to its sensual and sexual contents some people may find it hard to read. However, if those things don't bother you, or if you enjoy them, that is your book. I, for one, quite love it.
About the story, well, it is science fiction so far that it is set in future earth, however, it remains unknown in what future. It could be a different planet or entirely fantasy for all its references. Fact is, humankind is crumbling rather rapidly, and a mutation, the race of the Wraeththu, is taking its place. Wraeththu are stronger than men, more beautiful and posses a set of mental powers. They also solved the age-old problem of men and women in evolving into one gender, containing both. Storm has done a fine job with that idea. Since young men can be turned into Wraeththu, it seems obvious that they have a little of a identity problem, since bearing a child is not something they are used to! But it is not overdone, not boring. Despite first person, none ever gets whining about. Storms people are very strong, develloped to finest detail in such a way that the reader just can't resist them.
Those are three books. In the course of those three books, the rising of Wraeththu and the downfall of humankind, is followed as some kind of backdrop to the story. We see it develop from a small movement of some freaks into something that finally spans the whole of the world, leaving the barbarism of their early days slowly behind.
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