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Dune – Frank Herbert

I have to be honest, I didn’t really know whether I was going to love this one. After watching the second movie, I knew I had to give it a shot, especially since my dad speaks so highly of this series, so of course I downloaded the book on my kindle and got the audiobook from the library. The 600+ pages were intimidating, and from my previous attempts at starting Dune, I knew I would have to take it slow and push through the first 200 pages, at least. 

I have to say I’m not only pleasantly surprised but almost shocked at how much I genuinely enjoyed this book. I’ve always been such a huge romance reader, and all of the fantasy reads I delve into usually involve a deep subplot of romance as well. Dune is on another level, with science-fiction being the main genre and politics at the forefront of the story. It was interesting for me to kind of pick apart all of the tidbits of information I was getting to put all the pieces back together in a way that made sense to me. 

The story

Almost immediately readers are launched into a world of politics and political drama. Full of rumors, gossip, and legends, this book gives bits of crucial information at calculated points of the story. 

Paul Atreides is launched into a legend, all of his actions becoming the Kwisatz Haderach, the savior of Arrakis, the savior of the Fremen. This 15-year old boy takes on a role of religious leader as he vies for revenge over the death of his father against the Harkonnens, a dark and twisted house in the Empire. 

“For now is my grief heavier than the sands of the seas, she thought. This world has emptied me of all but the oldest purpose: tomorrow’s life.”

– Frank Herbert, Dune

Through politics and culture, the story of Dune weaves a web of legends, prophecies, and the ever-awaiting future. 

The characters

I almost feel like there were too many characters to keep track of, and I have to admit I often had to google “dune book characters” to reference who they were and what role they played. Despite this, I had a few key favorite characters. 

Paul, obviously, was a key character and I liked his character a lot! I did feel as if the writer may have made him seem a lot older than he was though. I can’t imagine a 15-year-old boy being able to understand politics in the way Paul does as well as picking up on an entirely new culture, and fathering a child. On the other side of this however, is the fact that it’s normal in the culture, and Paul was clearly forced to grow up in a very short time considering his circumstances. 

“He who controls the spice controls the universe.”

– Frank Herbert, Dune

Chani was another character I found myself gravitating towards. She somehow comes off so soft but harsh when he needs to be. I expected her to be a bit more headstrong and a little meaner considering the role she plays in the movie, however she was a lot more supportive in the book, which I have to admit I prefer. She’s basically figured out the fact that it isn’t all about her and Paul’s love story, it’s about the world and their future, and if she has to make sacrifices then she will. It’s a different type of strength but one I admire a bit more than putting up a fight like movie-Chani did.

Paul and Chani’s relationship is something the romance-lover in me was highlighting every time they were doing something cute or even remotely lovey-dovey. Their relationship developing through a period of growth for Paul was something I found so interesting, especially considering age 15 is a period of growth for regular teenagers too. It’s a time when attraction definitely comes into play and the dreams of Chani that Paul had been having before they even met only solidified their connection. 

I think my favorite character is probably Gurney. While the book continued to get heavier in terms of content and the looming deaths of the future, Gurney made the book more light-hearted and easier to read. I like how soft he is for his Duke and how much he adores Paul. He would stop at nothing to protect him and I think that’s admirable. Not to mention his little songs that give the book a bit of breathing room between the heavy topics. 

“What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises—no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It’s not for fighting.”

– Frank Herbert, Dune

The writing style

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like Dune before. It was so weird to me when I first started reading as I could see all of the perspectives from people in the current scene. It was like I was looking into the minds of every single character at the same time and it was kind of confusing at times. Despite this, I did get used to it and I like how I wasn’t left in the dark all the time and rather knew everything going on behind the scenes. 

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

– Frank Herbert, Dune

I also like how I was given the development of all of the characters and how the other characters perceived the development. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Gurney is mentioning how much Paul has changed and it shows how much has happened from the beginning of the book to then. It was insane to me as I’d been reading non-stop since I got the audiobook so I had hardly felt Paul’s shift in character, but after mentioning that I could see and compare which was interesting to look back on. 

Do I recommend?

I feel like if I had gone into this book using just my kindle again, I probably couldn’t have done it. The audiobook version, particularly the one on Libby, was AMAZING. I felt completely immersed into the story and the narrator managed to create a different voice for each character, differentiating the characters in my mind. It was such a fun read and a book I genuinely struggled to hit pause on. I was so hooked on figuring out the political system, how Paul would fare when he got to his battle against the emperor, what was going to happen to the Baron?! So many questions and I just couldn’t stop!! 

In answer to that question, I do recommend the book, but if you’re someone who’s a little intimidated by the size, the politics, the story, try out the audiobook! 

Rating: 5/5⭐️

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