The Bewitchments of Love and Hate is the second book in the Wraeththu Chronicles by Storm Constantine. It is much the same as the first book in that it is beautifully written, emotionally absorbing, thoughtful, and fascinating. I almost enjoyed it as much as the first book, but not quite – not because of the book itself, but because I wanted to find out what happened to Pellaz, who was not in this book other than being briefly mentioned on a few occasions.
The second book of Wraeththu is told from the perspective of Swift, the son of Cobweb and Terzian whom we met in the first book when Cal and Pellaz stayed with the Varrs for a time. The story starts with Swift as a young har and is the first part is somewhat of a coming-of-age story. I loved the way Constantine got inside Swift’s head as she wrote about his first learning of humans and how he pictured them from what the other Wraeththu told him.
Cobweb tells Swift of the demon Cal who once broke Terzian’s heart by leaving and his feeling that Cal will return some day. Terrified by Cobweb’s obvious fear of this event, Swift tries to protect the house from evil, but Cal is found one day and brought to their home. As in the first book, the story isn’t about action so much as the relationships between characters, but it is very enchanting and well-done.
Many of the characters who appeared in the first book appeared in this one in addition to the aforementioned – Seel, Ashmael, Thiede, and Caeru, to name a few. Constantine has a rare gift when it comes to characterization – I can’t remember being as emotionally attached to a set of characters since when I read the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire. Each of the characters is so real and has their own unique personality – I loved them all.
This book gives more details on some aspects of the Wraeththu that are not explored very fully in the first book – for instance, the different tribes, Wraeththu magic, aruna, and Wraeththu procreation.
I still loved this book, but I felt it lacked some of the magic of the first book. This could have been because I’d already become enthralled by the first book, or just because I really want to know more about what happened to Pellaz. I suspect this is the case since it is no less well-written or beautiful than the first book, and the characters no less endearing. I still savored it and read some passages a couple of times, but it didn’t give me that feeling of wanting to start the book all over again when I was done like the first one did (although I would definitely reread it at some point in the future).
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bewitchments of Love and Hate and highly recommend it to people who enjoy thoughtful, character-driven, unique stories (who have read the first book, of course!).