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Literature / Wraeththu

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Likely the only Storm book you've ever seen in a store.
Wraeththu is a post-apocalyptic series by Storm Constantine. It was the author's first work and is probably the most widely known and most popular of her works. The series consists of six novels, the first trilogy written in the 1980s. Storm revisited the series in the early 2000s, revising the first trilogy while expressing embarrassment over her early writing, and writing a second sequel trilogy that also explained and expanded upon some of the unanswered questions of the first trilogy.

Wraeththu Chronicles

  1. The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit (1987)
  2. The Bewitchments of Love and Hate (1988)
  3. The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire (1989)

Wraeththu Histories

  1. The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure (2003)
  2. The Shades of Time and Memory (2004)
  3. The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence (2005)

After the End, human society has completely broken down. Without national governments, communities have become small, localized, and increasingly xenophobic. A problem that is only made worse by a threat known as the Wraeththu. Everyone knows that they will steal your sons and kill you and your family.

Pellaz is the son of Mexican sharecroppers, living with his parents and his five brothers and sisters on a plantation. His life is changed forever when a beautiful stranger named Cal rides through the area in need of a place to stay. Cal quickly seduces Pellaz and takes him away to a Wraeththu free-town called Saltrock. And it all only gets stranger from there.

There is also a Tabletop RPG adaptation, which is ... not universally admired. See one famous review here.

The Wraeththu series contains examples of:

  • Animal Motifs: Some tribes are associated with animals. The Colorastes are associated with snakes because of their snake-like hair. The Kalamah tribe is compared to cats. Wraxilan, the leader of the Uigenna tribe, is compared to a Lion.
  • Baby Factory: Harling Gardens used to be one. The character Lisia was a worker in this facility where birthed many harlings (Wraeththu children).
  • The Baby Trap: Played with. Pellaz deliberately impregnates Caeru without Caeru's knowledge, then Caeru later turns up with the child. Pellaz has the gall to feel trapped anyway.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Though Pellaz and Swift are the focus of the first two books, when Cal takes over in the third book it becomes clear that he was the real protagonist all along.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Swift is shielded from the unsavory activities of his father, Terzian, and is undoubtedly raised to be a good person, however, Terzian is still angry when Swift turns on him.
  • Extra Parent Conception: Darquiel is the child of three parents: Pellaz and Cal are his fathers and Caeru is his hostling.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Wraeththu can reach higher magical levels through grissecon (sex magic).
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Hara with longer hair are often described as being more feminine, especially among the Varrs, while hara with shorter hair are more masculine.
  • Love Is a Weakness: The Gelaming see themselves as better than human because they don't give in the weakness of love. Seel Griselming strongly believes that love is a weakness, but he later falls in love with Swift.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Some Wraeththu tribes believe that love leads to jealousy which leads suffering and violence. In the earlier books, the more non-violent tribes like the Gelaming reject the idea of love while violent tribes like the Varrs accept it.
  • Master Race. The Wraeththu. As Darren McLennan put it: "That reminds me very much of The Draka...They had the same 'We are superior, they are the old breed, and we will crush them' thing going, along with the wanton cruelty and complete lack of scruples. (And an author who basically handed them an I Win button.) So do the Wraeththu."
  • One-Gender Race: The Wraeththu appear male—and, in some cases, start out male—but are hermaphroditic. Later, we're introduced to the Kamagrian, a similar species that appears female.
  • Parental Incest: Ponclast has sex with his son, Diablo.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: The Wraeththu's semen is a caustic poison.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: In a world where consensual sex is so readily available and so necessary for spiritual balance, rape is almost a kind of blasphemy.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Swift tries very hard to make Terzian proud of him, but Terzian pretty much regards emotion as being weak.
    • Abrimel wants Pellaz to love him, but Pellaz pretty much views Bree as the reason he's stuck with Caeru. Even though he got Rue pregnant on purpose.