Dune by Frank Herbert

Wow that was a great book.

Set in the far future humanity is living on many worlds with an almost feudal ruling system. One family, the Atreides have recently been awarded the governing of Arrakis, a desert planet where spice comes from. Spice is a drug that is incredibly valuable and is used in space travel amongst other things. However the Atreides are taking over from the Harkonnen family who are their enemies with the Emperor’s support. From this starting point our main protagonist Paul, the heir of Atreides, finds his destiny is even larger than expected.

I can’t believe I’ve never read this before it is such a seminal work. I’d heard so much about it, even watched the David Lynch film many moons ago, but I was still unprepared for how much I enjoyed it. Paul starts off young, fifteen I think though he is very mature in some ways due to his upbringing. He has been trained in combat in politics and fighting as the heir but is way more advanced in ways due to his Bene Gesserit training by his mother. His mother is another great character who gets her own journey to go on that’s almost as interesting as Paul’s.

What I found most interesting about this story is that you’re told almost exactly what was going to happen from the start. It confirmed to me what I always suspected about myself at least; that I don’t really mind spoilers as such, as long as how we get to the point in the narrative is interesting. Like we have the prophecies and the visions that Paul has but in the first part we were told almost exactly what was going to happen by Baron Harkonnen in the first few chapters(?). It’s a very interesting way to tell a story that I really don’t remember seeing it so blatantly done before but I still really enjoyed it.

The world-building also stands out a lot what with the system of rule, the mysteriousness of Arrakis and the Fremen, and what links them all to the worms etc. The Bene Gesserit methods and training in addition to Mentats and the Space Guild, it all makes for an intriguing world and I can see how people have really got into it for years.

This is a book that I think really lived up to the hype. There are a few issues with it in that parts of it seem a bit dated and the dialogue can be very stilted but I burned through it and they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of it. Well recommended.

5 stars

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