Dune, written by Frank Herbert, is considered one of the great turning points in science fiction, compared often as the science fiction equivalent to The Lord of the Rings.

Dune is about Paul, the only son and heir to Duke Leto, as he and his family move to Arrakis, a desert world barren, it seems, of anything but sand and spice, the reason that Arrakis is of interest to anyone. Spice, as it turns out, will extend life and give certain powers to those who ingest it. That being said, I didn’t learn that part until I finished the book and asked someone else.

This is the first in a trilogy, that in many ways I think are the only books really that fit together, from my understanding, in the Dune universe.

Also, until I read this, I thought Dune was the name of the planet. I was a little disappointed.

Down to the nitty-gritty. This is a very well written novel with characters that have a lot of depth, but every character is always kept aloof to the reader. You never really understand their motives, unless you perhaps feel like pausing frequently and doing a deep analysis as you went. Which I did not. I had a reading challenge to accomplish!

The… issue, if you will, is the fact that the characters had all this technology, but couldn’t play basic defensive maneuvers. Why, at the start, did they not have people watching the sky for an invading force? Why would you assume that the Emperor wouldn’t observe the entire planet if the guild answers to him?

Alright, let’s back it up a minute. Before I get into an actual analysis for those who want to read the book – should you? This is rarely a book that you stumble upon and isn’t recommended to you. It can happen, certainly, but not often. I say, give it a shot. It isn’t a hard read, though the language gets confusing at times, and it really is a fast read despite the length. There is… not romance, but love. A lot of action – much more than places on the traditional ideas of love, wither romantic or family or friendship. This is a political novel wrapped in a science fiction setting. It is a look at humanity and how it could change in this particular way. It is interesting.

Give this novel a shot. Worse thing? You don’t finish it because you didn’t like it.

Now, for the discussion of various things I didn’t like/understand. This is an old novel. Yup, there are spoilers. Lots of them. That’s why we already covered the recommendation and why I am not doing the normal SPOILERS warning… or did I just do that?

The writing inserted pauses in speech and uhms and things like that, things that made reading a lot of this novel annoying. Not hard. But they were just so odd compared to the normal way of putting in pauses. Which I am sure was the point, but I don’t know if they helped the story so much. I greatly prefer ellipses, not noises that I have no idea how someone would make. Not to mention that the train of thought for so many characters was just random, referencing things that the reader had no idea about because it wasn’t explained. Was never really explained by the end.

And the constant march towards a known ending, of which the fighting against felt… as if it was all a show. It felt like Paul would not have fought against it. Certainly, the child perhaps. But the man? No. Never.

Little Leto felt so unimportant from the get go. I didn’t care about him. He felt like such a tertiary character that his death was not a surprise at all. Perhaps this could be something, a technique, idea, that has been taken from this novel and used again and again that I have become numb to. I don’t think so.

His mate/girlfriend/mother of his child was a known, that really had no more fleshing out. Again, I just didn’t really care about her. Didn’t see her enough to care about her. She could have died and it would have been fine. Yes, he clearly loves her, but did he love her because he loved her, or because he saw he would? As least we finally met the princess at the end.

There was just so much more I wanted from this.

Still enjoyed it, I just don’t think it is the greatest thing I have read. I would argue that The Count of Monte Christo is much better and well written.

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2 thoughts on “Dune: A Book Review

  1. DUNE explores a mental and spiritual path as well as a confrontation with mythology —here future myth tracks with ancient—hence its being compared with Lord of the Rings. Paul’s slow understanding that he is following the (ancient) path of prophecy mirrors the path of many holy men, including those described by Joseph Campbell and by eastern religions, including Judaism and Christianity. If a quick action fix rewarded by vast wealth, a palace, and a beautiful princess is what you want to read, DUNE may not be your cup of tea.

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    • I compared it to Lord of the Rings more for how it has influenced so many readers and become one of the best selling, if not the best, science fiction novel of all time. Much like Lord of the Rings, the focus wasn’t placed on the genre description but on the people and, yes, the religion. But, the comparison was done in the effect they both had on their genres. Increasing the popularity, influencing future authors, etc.

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