424 of 456 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2000
I know some people who hate the movie and will not touch this book. I know a few who own and love the movie but have never read the book. I have lent DUNE to friends who could get no further than page 20 because it was too "out there" or too difficult, with its array of characters and glossary of made-up terms. But of all the people who have gotten past page 20- I don't know one who doesn't praise it among their absolute favorites. I am no exception.
I love sci-fi but don't read much of it because I prefer fantasy. DUNE feels like a perfect blend of the two. A war of noble houses set in space. Paul Atreides is heir to the duchy- and to say that he is well trained for the job would be an understatement. His father, Duke Leto, is given charge of Arrakis- a hellish desert-world and the sole source of "the spice" which the entire universe needs. A very prestigious assignment, but treachery and peril comes with it. Paul finds himself thrown into the mystery of Dune and its fierce natives, the Fremen. Is he the savior their prophecy speaks of?
I was first blown away by DUNE at the age of 16, and have since considered it "the one to beat". In 8 years, very few books have made me question that judgment: Game of Thrones, Foundation, Lord of the Rings, Ender's Game. I had to reread it to be sure I wasn't just naïve at the time. Was it really THAT great? Absolutely.
121 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2000
The first time a read Dune: Messiah I was more than a little disappointed. By when I re-read Dune I also re-read Dune: Messiah. This was the first time I'd read them back-to-back, and I realized that Dune: Messiah was actually the conclusion to Dune and not a seperate book. As a stand alone book it's barely passable, as a sequal it's worth 3-stars, but as the fourth part of the first book it's a perfect conclusion. Dune was divided into 3 parts (called books) and the last ends with a nice Hollywood ending. Dune: Messiah shows the real conclusion to Paul's Life and the real consequences of his actions in the rest of the book. I think Herbert had to end the first book with Paul on top of the Universe because that is what reader's want, but Messsiah is a more somber look at what it means to have power. After I had re-read Dune and Dune: Messiah, I came across used cliff notes for Dune, and I noticed that it had an essay which treated to two books as one and compared them to a Greek epic pointing out that Greek epics didn't end when the hero was on top, but continued to the end of the hero's life. With the inclusion of Dune: Messiah, Dune now tells us the complete story of Paul's life, and what an incredible story it is. Do not read this book, rather read Dune and this book together.
185 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2001
Frank Herbert's Nebula and Hugo award-winning "Dune" is widely acclaimed as the best science fiction work. And rightly so. As entertainment it's a suspenseful tale of adventure that sparkles with imaginative creativity. When the family of Paul Atreides arrives on the desert planet "Arrakis" or "Dune", they find that their goal to take over rule from the Harkonnen family is difficult to achieve. Paul faces treachery, murder, as well as the rigorous conditions of a dry and deadly planet where water is more precious than gold. It is only with the help of the mysterious battle-hardened desert tribe of Fremen, and his newly-discovered religious powers that Paul stands any chance of triumphing over the powers of evil. The plot has a complexity of layers reminiscent of Tolkien.
The sci-fi classification does not mean "Dune" is inaccessible to non-sci-fi fans, because most of the traditional sci-fi elements are either absent or mere background. Several remarkable scenes of hand to hand combat are more reminiscent of ancient Roman gladiators than of science fiction! There are weaknesses: mature themes (such as allusions to pedastry) make "Dune" unsuitable for children, and Herbert's use of language is not outstanding. But what especially makes "Dune" great is the complexity of ideas. Herbert has created not just a story, but a memorable world conveying an elaborate philosophy of ideas, with three outstanding themes:
1. ECOLOGY. Arrakis is a barren and bare planet of desert sands, with characters reminiscent of desert Arabs (Herbert studied Arabic extensively in researching for the novel). As well as hosting titanic deadly sandworms, the desert sands feature a mysterious and narcotic spice substance known as Melange, which is central to the diet of its inhabitants, heightens powers of awareness, and is a central part of the economy. The power and value of water in this hostile sandscape environment is manifested in that shedding tears is an expression of great devotion. It becomes evident that there is a plan to rescue this planet from its barrenness and turn it into a paradise. Significantly the book is dedicated to dry land ecologists. Herbert was an accomplished ecologist himself, and one wonders whether he is expressing his own vision of the possibility of a man-achieved paradise on earth.
2. POLITICS. There is a complex interplay of people, tribes, politics and economics, with constant scheming, plots and subterfuge revolving around personal and political ambitions. Herbert has created an intricate and plausible history of tribes and peoples, with unique languages (much originating from Arabic), names and ambitions. The lust for power and wealth is combined with a determination to succeed at all costs, stopping at nothing - even murder - to achieve it. The political corruption and chaos of Dune's world is analogous to our contemporary world, as Herbert once observed in an interview: "the scarce water of Dune is an exact analog of oil scarcity. CHOAM is OPEC." Paul's triumphant leadership is also thematic. In humanizing a messiah figure, Herbert raises an important question: why do people blindly follow leaders? "Dune" conveys his theory that "superheroes are disastrous for mankind" because even the greatest leaders are human. Despite their strengths, relying completely on them is fatal.
3. RELIGION. Religion is inter-woven with politics, and centers on women, such as the powerful matriarch, the Reverend Mother. Herbert at times seems to picture religion as the manipulation of the masses by the intelligent, since the Orthodox Catholic Bible functions as a human invention rather than divine revelation. The strong religious component especially comes to the fore with Paul, a Messiah figure who fulfils prophecies, the long awaited Kwisatz Haderach who is somehow both man and god, and from whom all blessings flow. These prophecies have their own pitfalls - and are used to show the paradox of a system of predistination. The religion is a mixture of Christianity, Islam (jihad and similar Arabic words are clearly borrowed), Buddhist philosophy, and a strong eastern mystical component. Strangely, there is no active involvement of the Creator, since "the most persistent principles of the universe are accident and error." The power of the divine resides instead within oneself, and there are definite occultic overtones, such as the mention of "wierding" (a form of witchcraft), and very obvious new age Eastern spiritualism and mysticism. Herbert also makes a profound connection between technology and religion. In light of the fact that this novel was written at the hey-day of space travel and lunar landings, it is remarkable that in an appendix Herbert observes that technology and space travel affects one's view of creation. In his opinion, the god of technology and machine-logic is destined to be dethroned, and replaced with a renewed realization of the significance of man. Instead of placing hope in machines, it is to be placed in mankind. Herbert optimism about mankind is evident: a self-made paradise is attainable.
In short, Herbert has created a plausible world, reflecting his multi-faceted interests in society, culture, environment, politics, religion and science. Dune's fictional cultures (Fremen), political parties (Harkonnen, Atreides), worlds (Dune), languages, religions, customs, geography, and ecology are imaginative, realistic, and function in a rich complexity that places him in the same league as Tolkien and similar eminent writers. Though written in the 1960s, the fact that Dune is still relevant, readable and in no way outdated is a testimony to its greatness. You will find that this book has so much depth that you will not just read it once, but many times, with increasing enjoyment. So, don't hesitate, head for the sands of Dune for an unforgettable adventure!
226 of 253 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2000
Dune Messiah suffers in the general consensus from being plot-driven and extremely complex; for readers who take the time and effort to delve into its themes and characters, it is one of the greatest sci-fi books of all time. Messiah is not so much a sequel to Dune as it is a companion; it is impossible to fully understand the themes, motivations, and implications of the original Dune (or any of the others, even) without reading and comprehending Dune Messiah. Herbert takes his average hero from the first book and shapes him into a realistic, faulted human -- ironic considering Paul's decidedly abnormal powers. Finally, we see Muad'dib as he really is: torn by his position as emperor, cursed by his vision of the future, yet still capable of his duties to kingdom and family. His ultimate fate sums up a masterful, twisted analogy to the life of Christ. This is also the incredible origin of Duncan...the Duncan you will come to know throughout the other books. Messiah is not for the faint of heart though. If you can't handle a lot of philosophy, just keep walking. Some points in Dune Messiah are so profound that I had to quit reading and just spend a couple minutes thinking about what Herbert means. What a rare treat that is; I can honestly say that Dune Messiah changed the way I think about things, about life. If you give it a chance, it may just do the same for you.
60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2010
First off, this is a review of the Kindle edition of this book. I apologize in advance if you're considering the paper edition and this isn't helpful; Amazon doesn't give us a way to rate the Kindle version separately.
I really like the book itself, but can't recommend the Kindle edition due to sadly sloppy formatting -- in literally hundreds of places, the Kindle edition will spuriously add italics where none belong, or remove italics where they do belong, or remove spaces between words so they run together, or confuse dashes with hyphens and use quotation marks or apostrophes that point the wrong direction. There are some typos too (which I think are not literally typos, but OCR -- optical character recognition -- errors).
All of this distracts from the enjoyment of what should be an excellent read, frequently reminding you that you are reading a book published by a company that couldn't be bothered to proofread their work.
The fact that this is an extra-cost "40th anniversary edition" adds insult to injury (the Dune sequels haven't been given the 40th anniversary treatment, and aren't full of these annoying errors, and they cost less to boot).
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2002
One of the problems with a sequel is that it must contend with the preconceptions of readers, who have ideas about where the plot should go. Never mind what the author thinks, thank you very much. In this case, the handicap is what we think Should Happen to Paul after all he's gone through in Dune. Isn't this the time for them to ride off into the sunset? It would be really great to think that he is a wonderful guy, marries Chani and lives happily ever after. A lot of the reviews of this second volume in the encyclopedic Dune series seem to yearn for it. Sorry, we have to disappoint you.
Imagine for a moment that you are the son of a pretty influential guy, that you are pretty happy in your present home, and dad's boss sends him on a wild goose chase after a fortune, hoping, no Planning, that you fail, in order that he can secure a fortune, kill your whole family, and discredit your name forever. Now imagine that you narrowly escape, head off to exile where you are treated with suspicion, alternately an outsider and then as a god. In taking your revenge, you acquire the most important commodity in the universe, and you acquire the status of cult hero living god and emperor of the universe. Do you really think that you would be Mr. Nice Guy after all that?
If one looks at Dune in this light, what happens in this sequel, Dune Messiah seems right. Your relcuctant bride, Irulan, is sure to be bitter, and want only to be the bearer of the next emperor. If you are Bene Geserit, you would do anything to interfere with Paul. If you are from one of the conquered worlds, you very likely not be happy about this bitter guy being emperor. If you are of the spacing guild you won't be happy about him having control of the spice. If you are a Paul disciple, you are going to die for him and the heck with anyone else. Thus the fight card is set: Paul and his cult vs. all his detractors, virtually everyone in the universe. Mr. Herbert gives us the blow-by-blow in a relatively compact synopsis.
Perhaps the above is a bit too obtuse. Suffice it to say that if you expect to find Mr. Wonderful hero in this, you should look elsewhere. Likewise if you need a warm and fuzzy romance or a shootemup space opera, you may not want to venture here. But if you want to explore the logical consequences of the price of power, and the bitterness it generates, this is just the ticket. I have read and reread this series at different times of my life, and each time am amazed at what I find new in each reading. Mr. Herbert holds up well beside so-called "legitimate" authors, and is head and shoulders above most of our current fantasy crop. Read this book and the rest of the series with an open mind and be amazed.
186 of 215 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2002
Frank Herbert built three dynasties inside a galactic empire that is based on melange, a drug that was available on one planet only -- Arrakis, also known as Dune. Using melange, navigators have the power to fold space, which allows space travel.
In spite of a blood feud that was more deadly than Romeo and Juliet's Montagues and Capulets, Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV takes the rule of Dune away from the Harkonnens and gives it to the House Atreides. He has his reasons. The scene is set for political intrigue, sabotage, subterfuge, war, romance, survival, revolt, and revenge.
Dune is a masterpiece. It was the first novel to win the Nebula Award (1965), and it shared the Hugo Award in the following year (1966). Not only are the plots and characters intricate, but also the political, financial, religions, lifestyles, military, and honor structures are created. Dune is like no place on Earth.
This book is written from multiple points of view (POV), and you know every main character in the book because you are privy to their thoughts. The abundant use of Italics is unacceptable in today's market, yet it is one of the most effective aspects of Dune.
The effect of knowing what someone thinks while they say or do something else is an ability most people would like to have. Jessica, concubine to Duke Atreides, a Bene Gesserit witch, and Paul's mother trains him, against the wishes of the witches, to use his mind for control. The most powerful Bene Gesserit tests Paul Atreides, as she holds his mind captive she wonders if "he is the one." Fremen believe he is Muad'Dib, the messiah who will deliver them, even as they challenge him in a fight to the death.
I have read this book and the sequels several times. Like Paul Atreides, I dreamt of new philosophies and awakenings. Dune is required reading for anyone who loves Science Fiction.
126 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2010
I have climbed out of bed to write this for you, because I can take it no longer. Whoever made the kindle version should be fired. The book itself is great. However, random missing spaces, extra spaces, italics that begin or end when they shouldn't, mis-spellings of stillsuit as "stulsuit"....Please, buy another version. This is an embarrassment to e-publishing....and you'd think with it being on the computer it'd be easier to check for errors. Guess not.
Look elsewhere for your ebook copy of Dune.
48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 1999
I read Dune over three years ago, and naturally I loved it. When I tried to read Dune Messiah I couldn't, I found it boring, and felt that the main character was now too old.
Recently, I reread Dune and continued on through to Dune Messiah, reading both in only two weeks.
Dune Messiah is really just a continuation of the first, and it delivers a 'triumphant tragedy' that is makes a fitting end to the life of a Messiah.
Paul is thirty now (not very old at all), and the Jihad he feared so much is serving the purpose it is supposed to, mingling the genes of humanity and ending the stagnation that existing under the old Imperial system. He has been made both an Emporer and a God, and Alia leads his religion. Pilgrims come in their thousands to Arrakis to experience his Holyness.
However, there are many who plot against him. The Bene Gesserit wish to destroy Paul before he has the chance to establish an Atreides dynasty and regain the precious genes they worked so hard to create. The Fremen long for the old ways when water was precious and Arrakis was theirs. The Bene Tleilax want to gain a kwisatz haderach they can control, and the priests of Maud'Dib's own religion wish to make a martyr of him.
And with his prescience, Paul sees disaster for all man kind unless he follows one set path of the future, but is he willing to pay the price that comes with that future?
The plots that surround Paul are intriguing in their own right, but more intriguing is the development of Paul himself. Or rather, Paul's realisation that what he has created leads to its own stagnation. His powers also develop somewhat, making him an even more realistic Messiah, and finally, it ends in what is in many ways a tragedy, I certainly left this book feeling sad, but it is also in many ways a triumph.
I do not feel that this revelation spoils the book, because it could be sumised because of the Messianic nature of Paul, and because from the very begining of this book, all paths lead to a tragedy in one form or another.
Once I got over the initial depression, I realised that this book perfected the Messiah story begun in Dune, and together they make one of the best works of literature ever. I feel that the two must be considered as one story.
46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2013
This a review of the KINDLE version!!
Today I decided to start reading this book on the train to work. I read mostly on the train or the bus to and from work. I took out my Kindle touch and started to read. I read a couple of pages but it was so noisy on the train so I decided to listen to the audio book instead. It started and when the narrator came to the 2nd paragraph I realized that I hadn't read the text he was reading just a couple of minutes before. I took out my kindle again to check and I was right. Now at work I went to this page and looked at the preview of the book vs the kindle version and I saw that the 2nd paragraph of the book was missing from the Kindle version. I am very surprised to see this. I also have the paperback at home (I am in the process of going fully digital on my great Kindle reader). For me, who is a perfectionist when it comes to books and most other stuff (I want to read exactly what the writer and editors have written and published), this is completely unacceptable (what other stuff is missing from the Kindle version I asked myself). I guess I have to take out my paperback to be able to read this book with the full text.
So to conclude, AVOID this Kindle version if you want to read what Frank Herbert wrote.