Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Vol. II, the Wraeththu Histories

by Storm Constantine

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-765-30347-7
Publisher: Tor

The feminist fantasy fabulist offers the second in her new Wraeththu trilogy.

British author Constantine finished her first Wraeththu trilogy, then decided to write a second to fit in between volumes two and three of the first and serve as a kind of prequel backgrounder to it. Thus there appeared 2003’s The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure, where mankind’s trimming and replacement by the telepathic and hermaphroditic Wraeththu are spelled out clearly. This installment takes us behind the scenes of the first trilogy and adds epic scope, showing how certain primary events in that series came about, as well as adding a deeper SF cast (about species genitalia, for example, and most interestingly) to the more high-flown Constantine lyricism of the earlier works. Here, mankind has fully departed, though once many humans had their DNA altered to produce parazha. Politically, some in the city of Immanion turned against this practice and wished to produce their own kind hermaphroditically. So the histories explore in part the death and rebirth of Pellaz, ruler of the Wraeththu, and make clear the conflict between the parazha, who are more female than male, and the hara, the androgynous Wraeththu. In the last metaphysical gender-bender, the origins of the Wraeththu were set forth, as were the rise of Pellaz and the birth of Lileem, with the mage/puppeteer Thiede pulling the strings of destiny. Now, Pellaz is drawn from his soulmate Calanthe to the love of Galdra and, though not a woman, becomes pregnant by him. But then Cal seems to have gone mad anyway and killed Orien while the story builds to the foreseen conflict between Ponclast and Pellaz.

Constantine leaves us in a dark place, with her capstone volume next.