Dune: to Read or not to Read?

Shortly after the Ducal family Atreides arrives at the desert planet of Arrakis, called Dune, they find themselves caught by their political opposition, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. They are then forced to fight through the barren waste land that surrounds them, and fit in with the native culture, as the Duke’s son, Paul Atreides, soon to be known as Muad’Dib, slowly finds his place again.

Though not as action packed as our 21st century novels, Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi series, Dune, quickly became a classic through its original writing style and sense of wonder. It is one of the first books to use what writers call “Third person true omniscient” since it shows each scene from multiple characters eyes and thoughts at once giving it the sense that every character is the main protagonist. Herbert’s completely new universe uses a mixture of futuristic technology and ancient magics, and combines fantasy suspense with political schemes for power and control. This universe became a classic for the ingenious creativity in the technology and scientific advancements, which eventually inspired the desert planet of Tatooine in A New Hope. However, although being a great novel in general, there were a few issues, in my opinion. The plot is not noticeably established until about two thirds in, making it seem go on chapter after chapter with little to no progress, even through the most intense scenes. Because it is an absolutely original world, the amount of new information can, at times, become a bit much to process. As previously said, the writing style is one of a kind, but this can cause some confusion from the slightest difference in compound sentence structure to the immediate change in character viewpoint. It is quite obvious that Herbert did not want much action. Several scenes had potential to escalate, and they did, but as a background to a different a character’s viewpoint.

Over all, Dune is absolutely worth reading, even with the few issues it arguably has. So, if you happen to have 12 hours of free time and don’t mind a book mostly based around political schemings of a fictitious universe, then this may be your cup of tea. Or for those who have already read it, your spice coffee.

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