Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

This may be heresy, but I think this is my favourite of the Dune books so far. I found Dune interesting, but oddly opaque. The second book was more accessible, but didn't really grab me.

But Children of Dune manages to combine some of that accessibility with the complex ideas of the first book, and I was quite frankly captivated by the central dilemma of the Atreides twins. While I've enjoyed this other Dune books so far, this was the first that I was genuinely eager to get back to every day.

The political machinations were clearer, and more acute, as we know these characters now, and what the personal costs are to go along with the imperial ones. I was never entirely sure where Herbert was going, but I enjoyed being along for the ride.

In the wake of Paul Atreides' disappearance and presumed death, the Empire rests in the hands of his sister, Alia, acting as regent for her niece and nephew. But the twins are far older than their years, and may be ready for power long before Alia wishes to give it up. Will the sandworm disappear from Dune? Will the Empire splinter? And who is looking out from behind Alia's eyes?

The dilemma of Alia, Leto and Ghanima fascinated me - balancing a wealth of lives in your head, trying to maintain identity in the midst of a chorus of voices. The ways in which they succeeded and failed were among my favourite parts.

With the knowledge I have now, I'd like to go back and read Dune, and see what that knowledge does to enrich that book. Too many times while reading the first book, I felt like I was supposed to have a reaction to what had just gone on, but didn't yet have the information that would have let that reaction have punch. With the foreknowledge now, (and what a loaded sentence that is, given the book I'm reviewing), I'd like to see if I connected more to what was going on.

The political machinations in the book were fascinating, as the meditations on faith, on governance, and ultimate meaning.


I read this book as part of an attempt to read all the Hugo Nominees

1 comment:

  1. Heresy! Which means I haven't read them yet. This is the second very positive review I've read of this book, prompting me to rethink the general conclusion that most of the marrow was in the first book.