Review of “Dune” by Frank Herbert

Title: Dune
Author: Frank Herbert
Series: Dune #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 507
Published: 1965, Chilton
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION 

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for….

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

MY REVIEW

Dune has been on my TBR list for so many years now and it wasn’t until I saw the new movie that came out in 2021 that I moved the book up on the list. Back in the day, I would say that that was the wrong order. I would wait to watch a new movie or series until I had read the book or books. But as my life priorities have changed with work and working out, reading has been pushed down. It saddens me. But since this work is considered the forefather of all modern science fiction, and the move was only half the book, I would say that it didn’t really matter because the book was something else.

It is embarrassing that it took me almost a year to finish it, but the second half of it in just three days (thank you, New Year’s flu). When I had the time to read more than just a couple of pages in bed before I would fall asleep with the book in my hand, it was so easy to get sucked into the story.

I would say that the book is divided in two. When things happen, and political dialogues. When things happen, it’s easy to follow along, the dialogue makes sense, there is action and you just want to continue to read. Then there are those chapters which are focused on the politics of the story. And I don’t know if I’m just not used to this kind of language and prose, but I honestly couldn’t understand what they were talking about. It was hard to understand how they reasoned, and what underlying thoughts came to the conclusions they drew. It was like a lot of thinking and internal dialogue was missing and my mind wasn’t imaginative enough to tag along. I’m sure it was brilliant, because everyone says it is. But I just didn’t get it.

Another thing that bothered me before I got a hang of it, was that Dune did not follow just one character in each chapter. What I usually read, follows only one character per chapter, or at least very separated so it’s super clear which person’s point of view you’re following. But here, you could in one sentence be inside Paul Atreides mind, hearing what he’s thinking while talking to Gurney Halleck for example. And the next sentece, you’re inside Jessica’s head, analyzing Paul’s and Gurney’s dialogue. It took some time getting used to, and I probably got several thoughts connected with the wrong character. Oh well.

It was a book of many levels. You could tell the massive background investigation that went into this book. It’s a complicated piece discussing ecology, politics, religion with a hint of fantasy set in the far far future after an AI-war which destroyed the world as we know it. It was impressive and I did truly enjoy it, although it was a bit complicated. I will give it a 4 out of 5.It was an incredible and timeless science-fiction novel.

I have to admit though, that I am not sure if I want to continue with Herbert’s world. Dune ended on an incredible cliffhanger and I know myself enough that that alone will probably make me pick up Dune Messiah right after I finish this post. But I’ve also, unfortunately, read that the sequels are not as good and finishing with this cliffhanger leaves the planet of Arrakis’ future up for your own imagination.

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