Review: Dune by Frank Herbert
25 June 2015
I have always wanted to read Dune. I have a weakness for good old fashioned science fiction and I had recently read some Asimov books that I had really enjoyed. I also remember as a child listening to my father talking about how much he enjoyed reading Dune.
So, when it came time to choose my next book I thought that the time had finally come for me to pick it up and give it a read.
Dune is a difficult book to summarise but I will do my best.
The story is full of political intrigue. The Atreides family are awarded a lucrative contact mining the planet Arrakis for melange, a drug that also happens to be the most valuable resource in the universe. The contract had previously been held by the Harkonnes family who also happen to be Atreides family enemies.
With the support of the Imperial Majesty, the Harkonnes rebel against the loss of their valuable contract. Duke Leto Atreides is killed and his concubine Jessica and their son Paul escape into the dessert on the planet Arrakis where they are supported by the native population called Fremen.
The Fremans see Paul as someone sprung out of a legend. Paul takes on the mantle he was destined to wear, that of Muad- Dib, essentially the Messiah of the Fremans. His goal is to take back Arrakis from the Harkonnes and turn it into an ecologically sustainable planet. In the end he gets even more.
It had the makings of a great book.
The story is epic. It is set in a future imperial space empire. The planet is populated by giant worms that consume everything in their path. There is political intrigue. There is romance. There is love.
And yet…. I don’t know.
I just got lost. The books focus seems to lean toward philosophy and religion. It takes itself very seriously. So seriously in fact that I think the story just got lost in amoungst all the religious and philosophical rhetoric. By the end of the book I didn’t really understand Paul’s motivations. I didn’t enjoy reading all of Jessica’s inner reflections. I had lost sight of what everyone was trying to achieve in amoungst all their ponderings and discussions and…… snore.
I might be out on a limb. I know a lot of people love this book and I have obviously missed something. I even wish that I could think of something more interesting to say about it. There are probably some significant themes in the books that I could identify (Climate change? Cultural respect?) I just can’t really even bring myself to think about it that much.
I am glad that I finally read it, I can honestly say that. I only wish that the story had grabbed my interest a little more.
4 / 8 stars
Alright, but I wouldn't recommend it.