Book Review – Dune

I read Dune by Frank Herbert during our road trip last year. Actually, I wouldn’t have read this book if there wasn’t a new film of the same name coming out. Yes, I remembered the boring and slow movie made by David Lynch back in 1984. But I’ve forgotten most of the story and characters in the film (except Sting of course) so I decided that before I watch this upcoming version I would familiarise myself with the storyline. Luckily, I found a hard copy book when we were at the Berri Library in South Australia. And let me add to this that I got all excited when I saw the Dune trailer at the Mt Gambier cinema. Couldn’t wait!

So the plot…(by the way, you don’t need to know any background knowledge of this futuristic world. It’s explanatory, easy to follow along and there is a convenient glossary and appendix at the back of the book for your reference)…well I think this is actually a coming-of-age story but in an epic and grand way. It involves dukes, emperors, a drug called melange, desert people, sorcery, fanatic soldiers and HUGE worms – yes it has everything!

Ok the main character is Paul Atreides, who just turned 15 and is the son of the Duke Leto Atreides and his concubine, Lady Jessica. The House Atreides has just gained stewardship of the planet Arrakis where the spice melange is found. But treachery has fallen on the House Atreides and Paul must learn to survive on the dangerous planet if he is to endure the future of his family and his people.

It’s a long book but I think it’s sufficient to explain who, what, where and how. A lot of internal dialogues and thoughts by the characters for character building. I am sure the upcoming movie has its own version of the dialogue and story but hopefully, it doesn’t divert too much from the original intent of the book.

The book is broken up into three sections:

  • Book I: Introduces the reader to the characters of the House Atreides and their transfer from Caladan to the planet Arakkis also known as Dune. Paul Atreides passes the Gom Jabbar test.
  • Book II: Muad’Dib: When Paul Atreides realises he is the Kwisatz Haderach – a male Bene Gesserit whose organic mental powers would bridge space and time and becomes Muad’Dib.
  • Book III: The Prophet: When Paul Atreides becomes the messiah of the Fremen people and a dune battle takes place to take back control of Arakkis.

The first 2 sections were excellent but I found Book III just ended abruptly. Although, I suspect Herbert wanted readers to continue with the sequels.

Overall though, a great read and a wonderful introduction to science fiction if you’re not yet inclined to this genre.

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