Book Review: Dune

I read Dune because a Friday flash reminded my commentators of Dune (it was probably the sand worms). I’d heard of Dune (who hasn’t?) but I haven’t read it or seen the movie. I didn’t see the movie mostly because someday I planned to read the book and I try not to mix mediums.

So, having finished, I still don’t know what to say about it. I mean, I loved it. It was very engrossing and I never really wanted to put it down.

The world-building is amazing. The world is realized so well, I am amazed. There is philosophy, adventure and religion. There are political and social conflicts. There are conflicts that involve economics and science. There is a culture shock/clash between the desert people and hero’s own people. I loved the political and culture stuff most, I think.

I can’t summarize Dune. I can tell you the plot (a Goodreads/Amazon blurb would do as much) but that can’t touch the story. In these reviews I like to talk about what I liked best and I can’t do that either. I don’t know what I liked best. There are a lot of scenes I can see myself reading over and over and over again (the whole book, in fact).

Having said that, there are maybe three things that struck me. POV, the little snippets that began each chapter and the prophecy thing.

The POV was less tight than in current books. Pretty sure it’s in third person omniscient and I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a book written in it. I think that’s why there is more head hopping in Dune than I am used to, but it was never too much. Which is to say, I never minded. Not sure if the published world would allow such head hopping today. I suspect not. Still, it was fine in this book. Maybe that’s just an indication of the skill of the author, huh? Either that or changing publishing trends or both.But the way he wrote, I think third person omniscient was right. I can’t picture this book in third person limited or first person POV.

I’ve seen the little snippets that begin each chapter in other books. It’s usually a couple of lines from a historical document or a personal diary or something. But I’ve never understood it before. It’s usually interesting, but it never did anything to enhance my understanding of the story and sometimes it ruining plot surprises. The snippets (I don’t know what else to call them) in this book? They sometimes changed the way I read Dune.

I had a hard time with the prophecy. The desert people’s prophecy about him is supposed to have been planted by his mother’s people. But his mother’s people themselves have a prophecy about him, and yeah, I had a hard time swallowing prophecy in a science fiction book. Than there is the main character: Paul. I had a hard time with his ability to see the future, even if it is in a limited way. Other science fiction books have psi powers, but it’s usually telepathy or telekinesis or empathy or something like that. Seeing the future? Not so much.

Grade: A