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DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

THE WRAITHS OF WILL AND PLEASURE: THE FIRST BOOK OF THE WRAETHTHU HISTORIES
Tor/ 496 pages /$27.95 (tpb)
ISBN: 0765303469
(May 2003)

cover Storm Constantine's first novel and the initial title of the Wraeththu trilogy, THE ENCHANTMENTS OF FLESH AND SPIRITS, was published in 1987. If any books can be considered seminal authentic "goth" literature, then ENCHANTMENTS and sequels THE BEWITCHMENTS OF LOVE AND HATE (1988) and THE FULFILLMENTS OF FATE AND DESIRE (1989) fill the bill. Constantine, who came from the punk-turned-goth music scene, has since published more than a dozen additional novels and a couple of short story collections. Except for a short story about their origins, "Paragenesis," for anthology THE CROW: SHATTERED LIVES AND BROKEN DREAMS, edited by James O'Barr and Ed Kramer, she has never returned to the Wraeththu -- until now. The concept of the Wraeththu -- male and female in one body, exquisitely beautiful, never-aging, invested with magic based in sexual power, and epically complicated -- has enthralled readers, but it's upset a few folks, too. Constantine's unique writing style tends to break most standard rules, but it is readable. I only recall (I don't have copies to check this) being a bit put off with the original trilogy's "new-agey" aspects. For those familiar with the first trilogy, the new title fits in chronologically between the second and third books. For those unfamiliar with the Wraeththu, there's enough back-story included to orient you to the world. You might also consider picking up Tor's omnibus tradepaper edition of the original trilogy, WRAETHTHU (ISBN: 0312890001) and zipping through its 800 pages before reading WRAITHS OF WILL AND PLEASURE . -- Paula Guran (DarkEcho 03.20.03)

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Copyright © 2003 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.