Book Review: 11-12-08

12 Nov

Here’s what I’ve read in the past week:

Children of Dune  (Dune Chronicles, Book 3)  –  by Frank Herbert
This book picks up soon after the last one (Dune Messiah) left off.  Chani died in childbirth, and Paul/Muad’Dib soon after walked into the desert to die.
Now nine years later their twins Leto and Ghanima have grown into two very wise “children”.  They have all the memories of every single ancestor that they have ever had.  That makes them very knowledgeable and very adult, despite their age.  Their aunt Alia was named the Regent of the Empire, and rules in their stead.  But Alia has been tormented by the voices of the lives that she also carries.  She is driven mad by the noise of all of those lives, and begins to act unpredictably and there are rumors that she is possessed.  The twins know that the only way to make things change is to follow what is known as the Golden Path.  The only way they can do this is to get away from all of the control that their aunt has over them.  So they decide that they need to run away.  But soon after they leave they are attacked by two tigers that have been trained to kill them.  After a tussle Ghanima gets knocked unconscious, and wakes to find Leto gone, assumed dead.  She returns to the seitch and resumes life under Alia.
But mean while Leto, who is very much alive, tries to seek out an old village where he believes he can find answers.  On his way he is captured and is fed so much spice that he is sent into a deep trance.  After a long time he comes out of that trance and he knows what he needs to do.  He has found a way to help save all of humanity, but it comes at a great price.
~~  This is a GREAT book.  There is lots of twists and turns, and it all builds up to a fantastic finish.  I love how much detail and realism is given to the ancestral memories.  It is described in such a way that you understand how much of a wonder it is, and at the same time how much responsibility comes with it.
This and the previous book make up the Sci-fi mini-series Children of Dune.  While this deviates from the book a bit, it is a fantastic story.

God Emperor of Dune  (Dune Chronicles, Book 4)  –  by Frank Herbert
This book takes place three thousand years after book 3.  Leto has morphed into a worm shaped creature with only his face, arms and legs that still look human.  The rest of him is a gigantic worm.  After living three thousand years he has gotten very bored by everything.  Nothing is a surprise to anything anymore.  Everything has happened before, probably many times.  He does give himself one selfish demand:  Duncan Idaho.  He has a duplicate of Duncan made every time the previous one dies.  They are the exact duplicate of the original version, with all of his memories.  Over the thousands of years he has had many Duncans, but now that so much time has past the Duncans are having a harder and harder time adjusting to all of the changes that have happened.  After the loss of one Duncan early in the book, he calls another one and begins training him to fill his predecessor’s position. 
There is one thing that does suprise Leto, and that is the arrival of Hwi Noree.  This woman is everything that Leto feels he has been missing.  He quickly falls in love with her.  Even though she doesn’t really love him, she does have a sense of utter devotion to him.  After a time they plan to marry.
Leto knows that he is nearing the end of his life, but he has made a point to not look at when or how his death will actually take place.  Lots of changes are happening very quickly.  There are lots of players, and they all have their own agenda.
~~  This is a very big and complex book.  There is lots of detail and lots of stuff to imagine.  But part of that is what makes it so good.  Even though this series deals with the fantastic, and really stretches the imagination, it brings a sense of realism and makes you just except that all this unbelievable stuff is actually real.


I’m now reading the next Dune book Heretics of Dune.

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Posted by on November 12, 2008 in Book Reviews


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