Thursday, August 19, 2010

Candle #16: Dune Messiah

Moving into the home stretch of my Birth Year Reading Challenge. Just finished a re-read of Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert. Like most SF fans in the '80s, I quickly made my way through all the original books in the Dune series at that time. I remember liking most of them, but none quite lived up to the power and thrill of the very first book.

I originally gave this book three stars and I'll go ahead and give it three again--with the understanding that some of the points are given for nostalgia. I found myself dragging through this one. So, Paul is aware (practically on page one) that there will be betrayals and plots and intrigues. And his "sight" allows him to see most of the pattern to those things. And yet it takes almost 300 pages to get there? I also got a bit weary of his inner struggles...the silent conversations about staying on the path forseen. He's the Muad'Dib...surely he could choose to venture off the path if he wanted to. And if he doesn't want to, then shut up and get on with it already.

Some of the book is brilliant--the language and descriptions are apt. There's just too much of them. The sub-plot involving the revival of Duncan Idaho and wondering if/when he will remember who he truly is was probably the most interesting part for me this time around. I thought it a good portrayal of the struggle (and intersting to re-read it in light of the "rebirth" of Spock in the Star Trek universe). The ending is very good...very moving; it would have been refreshing if the entire book had been as good.

It was nice that this re-read was more consistent than my previous experience (The French Lieutenant's Woman). I'm glad to know that while my reasons for assigning three stars may not be quite the least the rating remains constant.

Best quote: There are problems in this universe for which there are no answers. (page 268)

1 comment:

J.G. said...

I have never read the Dune books and probably should. They were very popular when I was in college but I missed them because I was spending all my unassigned reading time on Lord of the Rings.