So this is the second book in the Wraeththu trilogy, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate; I have to admit, that even though its seems way too long, it does seem to be better written than the first installment.
Illustration by Aimee Fleck, "The Bewitchments of Love and Hate". Fleck's stuff is great. Thanks for sharing Aimee!
Wraeththu, part the second, is narrated in the first person like the first part, but from the POV of a different har (that's a Wraeththu guy for you nubes.) Our new har is just a young'n--or harling-- and he pretty much picks up the story where the first narrator left off. We're pretty deep into the apocalypse at this point, and there aren't many men left around, so the Wraeththu are trying to put things back together so to speak. Only problem is, they don't really have the tools to do it much more than men did, and as much as they would like to think so, they aren't much different and end up with many of the same problems we have now: war, strife, in-fighting, love, you know, all the crap that makes the world a terrible place.
Love seem the odd man out there? Well I guess its supposed to. This seems to be one of points Storm Constantine is trying to drive home: you can't just reinvent that world by trying to remove all of the things that you think may be at the root of all evil. Love as the root of all evil? That's what she says, or that's what the Wraeththu say anyway. See its love of others that causes jealousy and resentment, love of things that causes envy, and love of things sacred that makes folks into religious fanatics. So get rid of all that, and base your civilization on... like!
And then, you know, just have sex with everyone. All the time.
You know I don't like spoilers, and I'm not sure this really is one, as it shows up in the first few pages of book one. Skip to the next paragraph if you're concerned, but I think it needs to be said. What makes the Wraeththu different is that they've evolved into hermaphrodites. That's not all that makes them different, but they are a combination of both sexes, both physically and mentally. And either sex can be expressed as dominate, or as a melded sexuality in day-to-day life. They do call each other 'he' and 'him' for lack (I assume) of an asexual pronoun. The funny thing is, they've made up their own language for everything else; there's even a glossary of terms in the back. Why the har or Storm Constantine haven't come up with 'sche', 'shim', and 'sher' or whatever, seems a little shortsighted to me. Besides, saying he and him all the time, with all those sex scenes, make this one read like a counter-culture sex book. Think: Pride and Prejudice and Brokeback Mountain. you know, a mash-up, like the zombie thing
Oh... and Constantine asked a friend to help with short poems that she begins each chapter with. My response: why? Sooo... I'll keep reading, but I won't tell you what happens. If you're curious enough, you can read it yourself.