Today’s review comes from Paul Aridas, a relative newcomer to the SciFi genre. Read his take on Frank Herbert’s classic, Dune.
William Styron’s quote, “A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it”, is true when it comes to the experience of reading Dune by Frank Herbert.
It is immediately apparent, early in the novel, that it is a book that is meant to be savored: slowly, meticulously digested by the reader with a standing invitation to rediscover the book again and again at a later date, each time garnering something new from the pages. Dune is when of those books, where, when someone asks, “What is it about?” a solid half an hour is required to answer.
There is the basic plot: new conquerors of a planet must adjust to the precarious political situation of a new life….but this is also a story of family, betrayal, politics, religion, humanity, ecology, power, mysticism, and legacy. The details unfold in a systematic way, but lend themselves to multiple interpretations, depending on the reader, and the particular character’s perspective they have chosen to embrace. This journey differs when comparatively seen through the eyes of Paul, the beliefs of Jessica and the Bene Gesserit, the prophecy of Muad’Dib, and the political alliances of the Baron. The adventure evolves into a complicated series of alliances with epic consequences when the Fremen, the worms, Paul and Chani’s love story, and the wretched climate all begin to intersect.
From a lesser author, this book would be a mess. In Herbert’s hands, it is a masterpiece. If Dickens designed Star Wars, this would be the result. From the intricate details of the planet’s ecology to the historical narrative of Princess Irulan, this book is well thought out and brilliantly layered in complexity. My reading registry is more complete for having discovered this title, and I look forward to continuing the adventure with the other novels within the Dune series.
As always, thanks for reading. Leave questions and comments below.