Overview (No Spoilers):
I’ve been slowly working through the classics of fantasy and science fiction. Having finally finished the Wheel of Time series late last year, I was excited to move on to Dune, a title that has been on my TBR list far longer than I’d like to admit. Also driving me to finally pick up a read that I should have years ago, was the intriguing trailer for the new movie coming out in 2020.
I’d made the easy choice to listen to the audiobook when I saw Scott Brick was the narrator, however I’d missed the fact that he was actually one of a whole cast with Simon Vance reading the majority of the scenes. Vance, who is also an excellent narrator, was the reader behind the Lightbringer series, so I’ve spent many, many hours with him as of recent. That being said, I became tripped up during Dune‘s performance because the narrators didn’t necessarily stick with the same character, leaving me utterly confused as to who was actually talking. For example, Brick voiced Paul’s father and briefly Stilgar, but at various points you’d have someone else narrating Leto, along with a totally different actor voicing the majority of Stilgar’s lines. This is just one example, but it occurred over and over and over again throughout this long read. Either having one narrator throughout or having the cast keep to the same characters would have helped significantly with the confusion I’d encountered several times during this already dense novel.
Having finally finished this highly touted tome, I can fully appreciate why Dune is considered a classic. Herbert’s worldbuilding and well developed characters continually evolved with each new layer of depth deliberately applied. Despite being chock full of detail, the reader is left with the knowledge that there’s still so much more to learn about this complex futuristic world, where it appears that the key players were potentially only maneuvering in the shadows. In some ways, Dune feels like a prequel where future novels will open up the vast universe to literary exploration.
Some parts of Dune were slow, and if you were actually physically reading through some of the slog I can see how it could become tedious, however by listening these sections, I was left with feeling more akin to extensive worldbuilding than excessive detail.
The characters were multifaceted, however I felt little connection with any of them, regardless of the tribulations they had endured. While no character was safe from Herbert’s pen, there was few deaths or situations that caused me as the reader to be distressed. Overall, Herbert crafted a literary realm that exceeded my already lofty expectations both in its vast scope and overabundance of details, yet leaves the reader excited to find out how the story will continue to evolve in the next installment.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- It was explained at one point that Leto was a threat because he was going to train the Fremen as his own army, however he didn’t have access to these people before he was transferred to Arrakis. And the betrayal by the Emperor was put into motion far before his move. So why did the Emperor betray Leto?
- Why did the Doctor betray the Atreides if he knew his wife was likely already dead? Was the betrayal worth a long shot at revenge?
- How is the spice actually made?
- Are the Bene Gesserit good or evil?
- What will come of Feyd-Rautha’s child based on the Bene Gesserit’s breeding program?
- It was disappointing that Hawat died without actually knowing who betrayed the Atreides.
- Is the spice only addictive to people with powers? If so, how can anyone really leave the planet other than the limited supply being transported off world.
- What happened to Alia after she killed the Baron?
- Poor Chani! Leto II was killed and Paul took another wife. How will her role continue to evolve?
- Will Princess Irulan be content being in the shadows?
- How will Paul rule? Can he stop the jihad?