Guessed the book yet?
That wasn’t a quote that particularly stood out to me whilst reading, but read by Timothee Chalamet it sounds so poignant…
Author: Frank Herbert
Published: 1965 (!)
When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.
In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them. And his journey will change the universe.
That cover is burned into my head. Have you ever had that? I’ve seen it so much late at night that my eyes begin to hurt (this also happens for the GCSE Edition of Macbeth) and my hands feel like they’re holding its 500 pages. However, I wouldn’t have survived so many pages if it wasn’t so good.
The worst thing about Adult Fantasy is having to get your head around a whole new set of rules and politics (and there was a lot of politics). SO MANY made up words. I thought it was quite funny how Frank Herbert had put so much effort into thinking up names for everything… but then called his legendary warrior ‘Paul’?
As you’d expect from a book with 20 times the amount of pages than characters, they were all well fleshed out. A good amount of teen angst from Paul to keep him teen. The book spanned about 15 years, and he had an interesting character development where he became sort of power-hungry by the end that made me dislike him. But to be honest, I didn’t have an emotional connection to any characters. There was hints towards the Baron liking men – which was good for a book published in the 60’s – but he did it in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. He was the villain. And really creepy. So maybe not too progressive after all; what do you think?
Dune had an interesting way of showing everyone’s ulterior motives in a world of politics and espionage (ie. nobody means what they say!). Instead of having hundreds of different perspective switches, Frank Herbert gave Paul and his mother the ability to see through lies – it was quite satisfying to discover what they were actually thinking. When they weren’t around, the narration flew between different perspectives which layered this rich world of social injustice and (you’ve guessed it) spacey politics.
Quotations from this textbook about Paul split up the chapters and sort of foreshadowed what would happen. Scenes were often discontinued at the pivotal moment, so the quotations gave the book a good pace… but the were from a textbook. So. I thought they would become important but nothing really came of them. Although I don’t know for sure as I didn’t exactly finish Dune…
The main reason I’m going with 4 stars is because of the flipping 40 pages of nonfiction -esque writing about Arrakis at the back. I was surprised I’d finished Dune because I thought I still had 40 pages to go (plus it was an unsatisfying ending). I took one look at the scientific analysis of the waterways of Arrakis and thought… I think I’ve finished it!
To finish, the cover boasted that it was the best sci fi epic ever written (bigheaded much). Which I wouldn’t agree with, but it was an enjoyable read. No set plot, just documenting this struggle for power on Arrakis which I’m excited to see how it can be adapted for the 2021 film. As that’s the reason I read the book in the first place (couldn’t see an adaptation without reading the book! 🙄). There was echoes in it of other science-ficiton books, but it’s more likely that this was what they echo. This is the original. The 1965 original science fiction that I’d highly recommend for fans of Star Wars, J.R Tolkien and spacey politics. Or if you go into lockdown and have enough time on your hands!
Synopsis and image of Dune from Waterstones (a great alternative for book buying from Amazon!)
Have you read this book? Got a recommendation or any opinions on Dune? Let me know in the comments!