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Dune has jumped the shark
on February 21, 2012
I've read every single Dune book. This review is not a statement of someone who categorically hates the new authors. I enjoyed the "Houses" trilogy; though they were not in the same style as Frank, the story was very enjoyable. The Jihad trilogy and Hunter/Sandworms had good and bad points, but I liked them. I think that any Dune fan should read those.
But with this book I think I am done with the series.
I found myself just angry as I read this, trying to finish as quickly as possible and get on to another book that I wanted to read more. The writing style is childish. Conversations are obvious and predictable, like a TV show script. This is a Dune novel? Remember those conversations in the original series where the characters were all "smarter than you"? When you couldn't understand what they were talking about until many chapters later? When there were many layers of "plots within plots?" When you had to THINK? Nope, won't find that here.
Instead, we get horribly one dimensional characters: grunting thugs (Anari), cookie-cutter zealouts (Manford), mindlessly vengeful women (Harkonnen). The characters are not likable nor do you feel empathy for them. And the story? Whereas previous BH/KJA novels were retelling pieces of Dune, this is nothing more than a retcon. They already told us how the Butlerian Jihad ended and the initiation of the societies we know about ... and now they are telling us that it isn't REALLY over, and that all those societies weren't REALLY doing what you expected. To do this, they need to twist the story so it can be retold. If that sounds familiar, you've seen it on many TV shows that try to extend additional seasons (Alias, Heroes, etc).
It's called "Jumping the Shark".