June 8, 2015

Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

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Where do I begin? To describe all my complicated feelings about this story seems nigh on impossible. But I want to try, so I'll begin with how awesome the world-building is. Because I was amazed at the degree of detail Mr. Herbert wrote! Yet he left just enough to the imagination so that I could clearly picture this planet. Dune (or Arrakis) was so vividly in my mind while I was reading this story. The sand, the severity of little water, the worms in all their awful, yet somehow fascinating glory, the people. Oh the people! I heard from fellow readers that Mr. Herbert is often compared to Tolkien, and when it comes to the world-building I can easily see why. There is an entire world of which we only get one small glimpse. And the epicness and vastness of this world is potently felt. That was one of my favorite parts actually.

But I want to be honest. So I have to say that I did not love this story. It took me a little while to get used to Mr. Herbert's writing style for one thing. We jump from this character to that character to the other character over here with little to no preparation or explanation. It was very jarring at first. We also jump from important scene to important scene, with no trivial moments happening. Every single thing that happens is important later. Unfortunately, I think much of this flew right over my head. There are so many undercurrents and details that I know I missed. I was very, very grateful for fellow readers who could explain things for me! (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jenni and Bella!)

 And while we may spend a great deal of time in Paul's head (as he is the main character), I could never come around to understanding him. Which is probably my biggest disappointment. Characters are what make or break a story for me. (Usually.) And these characters, particularly Paul, felt entirely emotionless. I was told they felt this way or that, but I could never feel it with them. They all seemed very distant. Paul and Lady Jessica were important enough to the story that I kept thinking that I should trust them, yet I couldn't seem to shake the feeling like they were untrustworthy. (I don't really know why?) Back and forth I would go until I just gave up the idea of trusting them and went with the flow.

However, all that being said, can I also mention how riveting it is? Because while I kind of checked out on liking it, I could not put it down! I kept wanting to skim ahead to try and catch up with the others in the read-along, but the book completely prevented me from being able to do so. There are so many scenes and convos that hinge on things said or done in the past and hard as I tried, I could not read any faster. Kudos to Mr. Herbert! :D

It also really felt like the book had been deliberately plotted from the beginning. That the writer knew precisely where he was headed and what he wanted to happen. Not one character or moment was carelessly thrown in. And while I may not have loved the end result, I can absolutely appreciate the skill and talent involved. I'm actually quite glad I read it, surprising as that may sound! :)

And Kynes, returning the stare, found himself troubled by a fact he had observed here: This Duke was concerned more over the men than he was over the spice. He risked his own life and that of his son to save the men. he passed off the loss of a spice crawler with a gesture. The threat to men's lives had him in a rage. A leader such as that would command fanatic loyalty. He would be difficult to defeat. Against his own will and all previous judgments, Kynes admitted to himself: I like this Duke.


12 comments:

  1. Love that last paragraph! I think it sums up my feelings perfectly. Great review!

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  2. I'm very happy to read this. I'm glad you had a great experience and enjoyed the read, even if you didn't like the book itself much. :)

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    1. Jenni: Oh good. I hope you didn't feel like we all hated it, because I really didn't. It was very enjoyable! :)

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  3. I'm glad you ended up enjoying the read if not the characters. This one was a miss for me.

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    1. Jenny: It's so interesting how people seem to either really love this book or not so much. A lot of the reviews I've read seem to vary in that respect a great deal. So I guess our reactions are pretty normal?

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  4. My brother loves this book, and I've always meant to read it but kept putting it off. One of these days I'll finally pick it up...

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    1. I think you either love it or you don't, Hannah. I didn't love it, but it definitely was interesting! The world-building is reason enough to at least try it, because it's phenomenal. I'll look forward to hearing what you think some day! :)

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  5. I've read this book twice. I find it's one of those books that once you've finished it, it kinda oozes out of your head because it's so fantastical and detailed. Have you seen the movie?

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    1. I can definitely agree there, Jewels! It's very fantastical and detailed. The world-building absolutely amazed me. I haven't seen the movie or the miniseries either one. I'm very curious about them because I've heard some say they didn't really like them. Have you? If so, what did you think? Is it worth watching?

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