Friday, November 6, 2015

SciFi Month: Review-Dune

Dune By Frank Herbert
Publisher: Ace Books
Release Date: 1965
Format: Paperback, 883 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★
Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

This Hugo and Nebula Award winner tells the sweeping tale of a desert planet called Arrakis, the focus of an intricate power struggle in a byzantine interstellar empire. Arrakis is the sole source of Melange, the "spice of spices." Melange is necessary for interstellar travel and grants psychic powers and longevity 
so whoever controls it wields great influence. The troubles begin when stewardship of Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from the Harkonnen Noble House to House Atreides. The Harkonnens don't want to give up their privilege, though, and through sabotage and treachery they cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet's harsh environment to die. There he falls in with the Fremen, a tribe of desert dwellers who become the basis of the army with which he will reclaim what's rightfully his. Paul Atreides, though, is far more than just a usurped duke. He might be the end product of a very long-term genetic experiment designed to breed a super human; he might be a messiah. His struggle is at the center of a nexus of powerful people and events, and the repercussions will be felt throughout the Imperium. Dune is one of the most famous science fiction novels ever written, and deservedly so. The setting is elaborate and ornate, the plot labyrinthine, the adventures exciting.

Not only is Dune a book I wanted to wait to review until Sci-Fi month, but it is also a part of the TBR Challenge, and is the reason I haven't read a lot of books for that challenge. I think this might be the 4th book I've completed in that challenge.

This freaking book is the reason why I didn't blog or read that many books in the month of September. And probably why my blogging was so sparse in the month of October as well. This book took so much of my time and my life, I felt like I was taking the spice too much at the end. No seriously, they do a shit ton of drugs in this book, but I digress.

So I think Dune is an essential book if you are a sci-fi fan, and I would recommend it because the world building it awesome, but there were some elements that I wish I was warned about. This book is not so much spaceships and fighting aliens, but rather a realistic future world with a political power struggle. I hate to say it but the feud between the Atreides and the Harkonnens reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones. So now I'm wondering if George R.R. Martin was not just inspired by history, but by Frank Herbert as well. I'm not really into politics and the games that people in power play, so I wasn't that into this aspect of the novel. Unfortunately it does play a huge role, so if you are expecting space battles, you won't really see it in this novel.

The world building was really cool in this novel. And I think the desert planet Arrakis was pretty vividly told. I could really see what this place looked like and what the native people looked like. I really liked that we got to see the culture of the Fremen, and instead of trying to make them like him Paul immersed himself in their culture and their ways. He even decides to change his name to Muad'Did to really become one of the Fremen and not just an outsider with power. With the Fremen culture Herbert also explores religion, which I thought was a really interesting concept in a science fiction novel.

This book really took over a lot of my reading time, but in the end I feel really accomplished after finishing it. This novel was a huge undertaking and a challenge that I needed in my life. I would highly recommend it for any Sci-Fi fan that really wants to challenge their reading or just really wants to experience an early science fiction novel.

Happy Reads Everyone!