BOOK REVIEW | DUNE BY FRANK HERBERT

Hi everyone! I am Arthur, also known as nocrackedspines on instragam! I’m really excited to be working with Sam and her team over here at The Book in Hand blog! I will be reviewing Dune by Frank Herbert!

Years ago one of my closest friends recommended Dune because I like Sci-Fi but I never really got around to reading it until now. I am really disappointed I slept on this book for as many years as I did. This past July and August, I held a large read along on Instagram for Dune since the new movie is being released in October. After finishing Dune, I can see how it has influenced so many books, stories and movies like Star Wars, Wheel of Time, Tremors and even the popular miniature wargame Warhammer 40K.

Dune was written by Frank Herbert in 1965. It is the first book in his 6 book series. Beyond the original six books, Brian Herbert (Frank Herbert’s son) has published many books in the Dune Universe alongside sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson.

Synopsis

We follow young Paul Atreides and his family’s quest to govern the desert planet of Arrakis. Melange, the coveted “spice” of Arrakis, drives the Houses to conspire against each other. Dune explores different cultures, religion, a unique planet ecology and interesting sci-fi technology.

Characters

Dune has a rather large cast of characters. Despite not being excited about some of the names of the characters like Paul or Jessica, I quickly discovered how much I really enjoyed following their story. Even side characters like Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck and Stilgar were fleshed out, enjoyable characters. Frank Herbert succeeded in creating great relationships between many of the characters. Some of my favorites were the interactions between Paul and his mother Lady Jessica and Duke Leto and Lady Jessica.

“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 not 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”

World Building

Arrakis is a essentially a waste desert planet with only one unique item – Melange or “spice” – that makes it so popular among the houses in the empire. Frank Herbert dug into the ecology of the planet Arrakis from the giant sandworms to the importance of water and how the empire wants to terraform the world into a green planet. I never thought about how interest ecology would be in a sci-fi / fantasy story. Even though Dune was written in 1965, it reads like a fantasy story feels like a modern sci-fi. Dune has aged incredibly well.

Beyond just the ecology of Arrakis, I found the different houses and politics to be absolutely fascinating. Normally I have no interest in politics but it was woven into the story extremely well. The conflict between House Atreides and House Harkonnen was well fueled by the “spice” and how everyone wanted to control Arrakis. I can see the influence Dune had on George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. Frank Herbert laid the foundation for so many amazing stories. Dune is a story I think will continue to stand the test of time.

Final Thoughts

I had an absolute blast reading Dune. Honestly, it surprised me. I didn’t think Dune would grab me as well as it did. I was nervous this would feel outdated or difficult to read but I felt it was the complete opposite. Dune was fast-paced, modern and rather easy to read. It definitely took me a few chapters to get used to his writing style. I would definitely recommend Dune to anyone. For me, Dune was a home run. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year!

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