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review 2017-11-02 23:31
Review: God Emperor of Dune
God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert,Brian Herbert

I make a lot of reading promises. You want me to read your favorite book? Sure, I'd love to. Let me add it to my list and I'll probably get around to it sometime in the next decade. I have the best intentions, but when it comes to books, I get easily distracted.

Thus the promise I made to my brother-in-law to read seven Dune novels may have been overly ambitious. This was ten-plus years ago. And to get through all seven required slogging through some terrible writing at times and some monotonous babble at others. First, as he'd suggested, I made my way through the Dune prequels written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. House Atreides and House Harkonnen in 2008, followed by House Corrino in 2012. There was some great story in these three novels, moments that were extremely vivid and haunting—scenes I remember to this day. But the writing left so much to be desired: it was repetitive, filled with juvenile symbolism and minimal character development. In 2013, I got around to the original book that started the series, Frank Herbert's Dune. The writing in this classic was better, but I struggled quite a bit with these futuristic feudal clashes with swords while spaceships roamed the galaxy and women were subject to male approval. Could the future really be so medieval? Later that year I read Dune Messiah and in 2015 I read the third of the originals, Children of Dune. I found much the same in them, only not as exciting.

All along, my brother-in-law told me that I needed to make it to God Emperor of Dune, that while the fourth book was one of the least popular in the original series, he believed I would enjoy it the most. So I say all that to say this: there was some anticipation going into what would be my seventh Dune novel, but there was considerable apprehension. Would God Emperor of Dune actually be my favorite in the series? Would it continue to blast me with an arduous and unbelievable future? In short, yes and yes.

God Emperor of Dune is the most cohesive and intelligently written novel in the series. While earlier books jump from one plot point to another, God Emperor... is focused. This is the story of the penultimate act of the Emperor Leto II's reign. There are some other threads floating around, but they ravel around this main focus. Following a 3500 year reign, Leto has a few thoughts on power and government. As such, this book repeatedly tackles these subjects. This Dunenovel isn't like its predecessors, all action and dialogue. In fact, there isn't much action in this entire volume. This is a story full of philosophical discourse, but one which never stops feeling like a story. This is one worm-man reflecting on 30,000 years of human existence, but the plot works around this person. And while he has some backward ideas regarding gender and homosexuality, he's nevertheless an interesting mind to behold. If this doesn't sound like your kind of thing—and obviously it's not for many—then this may be the most difficult book in the series to make it through.

God Emperor... does become a bit tedious in the second half. Philosophical musings become repetitive rants. And the fabulously crafted revolution led by Siona fizzles into bland familial melodrama. Still, most of the characters actions and inactions feel more organic in this story—you sense, occasionally, that they and not the author are in control of their lives, a vast departure from the earlier volumes.

So I made it. Will I ever read another novel from the Dune universe? Unlikely, but certainly within the realm of possibility. If I do, it'll most assuredly be the final two chapters from the original series. But that may be some years down the road. In the meantime, I've got a dozen other promises to keep.

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review 2017-09-13 21:32
#Audiobook Review: Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune - Frank Herbert,Simon Vance

I often say that Duke is one of the best books ever written, a "classic;" however, I hadn't read it in at least 15 years. Now that I'm such an audiobook fan, I wanted to revisit Dune to discover if I still enjoyed it. The answer is YES!

 

The story of Paul Muad'Dib, the heir to the Atreides dukedom, is one that transcends the test of time. It is as fresh and relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Each time I read/listen to the story, I find new treasures: bits of wisdom, secret meanings, insightful allegory. The writing is sharp, full of beautiful detail, if not a bit long-winded at times. However, I enjoy omnipresent multiple point-of-view narrative as it truly gives the reader a complete immersion into Mr. Herbert's complex and fascinating world.

 

The audiobook is a full cast production, with primary narration by Simon Vance. Although I looked for it, I could not find a cast listing for each character. Mr. Vance does an excellent job as the primary voice for the story. His cadence is strong, yet flexible; bending to meet the needs of each character. He alters his inflections and accent for each player. I would have enjoyed the book with Mr. Vance as the sole narrator. However, this version does have both male and female "actors" for each character, and are used most often when there is direct dialogue between two or more characters. Some of the narrators are more successful than others, my favorites being Paul and Jessica. My biggest complaint is that the use of the full cast is not consistent. There are long passages when Mr. Vance is the only voice, and then suddenly, the book goes back to a multi-cast production. While this issue did stand out because I took notice a few times, it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story.

 

In the end, Dune remains one of my all time favorites and a book I will most certainly read (or listen to) again and again. Now if only we can get a decent movie of the book!

 

My Rating: A+
Narration: A-

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-30 08:07
March 2017 — Wrap-Up

 

 

 
 
 

Old Favorites

 

DU

 

Dune (Re-Read)

I’ve covered this book in too much detail to add anything here. Well okay, I’ll just leave this joke here:
 
Check out the final review instalment here.

 

New Delights

 

 

CO.jpg

 

Coraline

Coraline is a book that I would have loved to read as a kid. It is full of Dahl-esque quirkiness…okay, who am I kidding? I loved it even as an adult! Two of my favorite quotes:
 
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2
 
 

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Binti

Read my detailed review here.
 

 
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I dunno what to say about this book, except that it had nothing and everything in it! I wanted to pick it up as soon as I got off work and I didn’t want to put it down. The plot is simple and straightforward. The author hasn’t weighed it down with complicated science. You can see where the events are leading up to and yet… I am still ambivalent about the ending but I guess, I’ll just let it sink in for a bit before I come to a decision. This was my first Simak book and I can’t wait to gobble everything else by him!
 
 
P.S. The cover has NOTHING to do with what goes on in the book. 
 
 

Holocaust Horrors

 

TCM

 

The Complete Maus

This comic will just mess you up and yet, you’d be unable to put it down. Just look at how beautifully it portrays the impact of the dreadful event on not just the parents who experienced it but also on their kids who had to live with it:
 
 
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New Additions to Old Favorites

 

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Saga Vol.5.

 
Saga continues to be its beautiful, painful self. I’ve stopped thinking that the story is going anywhere. I just read it because I can’t not read it! Some of the artwork:
 

 

 

MWT.jpg

 

More Weird Customers Say in Bookshops

 
The first one was wayyyyy funnier.
 
 
 
 

New but Okayish

 

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The Lady Killer

Beautifully drawn but lacks anything that’d make it stand out!  I don’t think I will be continuing.
 
 
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Bag Lady

According to GRRM, this book is the first ever short story written in the Wild Cards series. However, it wast published as a part of the series, which had already changed and evolved.
 
I loved this nod towards Asimov:
“What are your orders?”
“To obey my creator, Dr. Maxim Travineck. To guard his identity and well-being. To test myself and my equipment under combat conditions, by fighting enemies of society. To gain maximum publicity for the future Modular Men Enterprises in so doing. To preserve my existence and well-being.”
“Take that, Asimov”, Travineck said.
 
He uncorked the bottle of vodka and raised the bottle on high in a toast.
“New Prometheus,” he said, “my ass.”
 
and this witty repartee:
“I am beginning to realize, said the android, raising a hot buttered rum to his lips, that creator is a hopeless sociopath.”
Black Shadow cnsidered this, “I suspect, if you don’t mind a touch of theology, this just puts you in the boat with the rest of us,” he said.

 

 

Unbound

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Read my review here.
 
 
A good month that was full of reading, I’d say. How was was your March reading-wise?
 
 
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url 2017-03-27 16:49
10 [Science Fiction] Books You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Really Read Them
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Dune - Frank Herbert
Foundation (Foundation, #1) - Isaac Asimov
Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
1984 - George Orwell
Last and First Men and Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
The Long Tomorrow - Leigh Brackett
Dhalgren - Samuel R. Delany
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Source: io9.gizmodo.com/5924625/10-science-fiction-novels-you-pretend-to-have-read-and-why-you-should-actually-read-them
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-25 17:21
Weirding It Out with Weird Enough: Dune Re-Read Update #4

 

 

 

Brief Recap:

 

1. Paul & Jessica finally meet Fremen, Stilgar's clan, who are about to kill them but are convinced to take them along. This decision is due to convergence of multiple factors, including Kyne's (who is the Liet) last decree to the Fremen, Jessica's sharp mind, BG myth-seeding, Fremen legends, the duo's weirding ability to fight etc.

 

2. Kyne is left to die in the desert by Harkonnen and takes part in a huge info dump before he kicks it. The main idea behind that dump and what Stilgar lets on to mother & son is that the Fremen are slowly amassing enough water to change the face of Arrakis. It won't happen in a day, it won't even happen in their time, but the world'd better watch out when it does!

 

3. We meet Paul's future intended, Chani, who is also Kyne's daughter & Stilgar's niece. Paul struggles with the pressure of the impending bloody future, crippling presence of prescience, and killing a person not because his life was in danger but because the Fremen was an idiot! The Fremen's wife and two sons are now under his care and will remain so for at least a year. His legend continues to grow and overshadow what he is trying to do.

 

4. Jessica enters into a whole ritual back at the Fremen settlement and walks out irreversibly changing her unborn daughter and with the memories of the previous Reverend Mothers.

 

5. Harkonnen is his evil, loathsome self but Feyd isn't a lightweight either. Then there is the emperor who is trying to make things uncomfortable for the both of them.

 

6. Of the Atreides can, Idaho is dead, Hawat has been employed by Harkonnen (and seems to be driving a wedge between the Duke & his nephew), & Halleck is on board a Guild ship along with a few of his men.

 

Find the rest of the review here, here and, here.

 

This time, we started at the beginning of the third book and read all the way to the end.

 

A summary of what happened:

 

1. Paul kicks Harkonnen, Guild, and Royal ass and takes over the world!

 

The Major Players

My Thoughts

 

Wow! I thought there wasn't that many pages left for all that to happen and I could not have been wrong. When I think back on everything that happened, it seems as if the author first intended Dune to be just one novel and not a sweeping series. I mean, that could be the reason behind packing so much of action in the last third of a novel that was not too thick to begin with.

 

This part of the story was filled with amazing lines that made my eyes pop out quite a few times.

Consider the time when Paul faced 3 Sardaukars and refused to be cowed, instead saying:

 

 

 

 

and these two ver different interactions with Gurney:

 

 

 

Surprisingly, after all the doom and gloom, this part seemed lighter to me, even though it had a climactic battle etc. For instance, we find out that Paul tried to go where even Reverend Mothers are scared of stepping. This is the conversation between Jessica and Chani while they stand over Paul's head and argue:

 

"How could you do such a foolish thing?

He is your son", Chani said.

 

Then, there were some deep insights that we hear from Paul as he evolves and becomes wiser. Thinking about Sardaukar, he muses:

 

They'd never known anything but victory which, Paul realized, could be a weakness in itself.

 

Saddened about Stilgar's awe and obedience for the Lisan al-Gaib, Paul thinks:

 

It was a lessening of the man, and Paul felt the ghost-wind of the jihad in it.

I have seen a friend become a worshipper, he thought.

 

We also see changes in Paul's and Jessica's characters and it was amazing to read how far they've come. Paul still has some of the bitterness towards how his mother treated him. When she asks him about the many legends that the Fremen believed about him, he scoffs at her and replies:

 

"A Bene Gesserit should ask about legends?" he asked.

"I've had a hand in whatever you are", she admitted.

 

The admission from Jessica isn't the only evidence that she has changed. She doesn't know if she wants to leave this harsh planet and go back to a life of opulence. Moreover, at one point, she gives Paul her blessings that he should marry out of love and not to make a political match.

 

So Shipping These Two!

 

She even starts to equate herself with Chani:

 

While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine -- history will call us wives.

 

Weird Enough's Musings

 

Yes, I missed writing the last review. Guilty as charged. But now that I have finished Dune, I CAN FANGIRL PROPERLY! HOW AMAZING WAS THIS!!! Why, WHYYY had I not read this before! I will be forever grateful to my book dealer, aka Midu, for showing me the right path in the literary world.

 

Sooo, starting after Leto dies, we see Paul showing signs of the Kwisatz Haderach (but of course we knew that). The shocking thing was how quickly he grew from being a smart kid to understanding fully what he had become. His BG training and the fact that he was a Mentat combines to give him skills to see possibilities in the future. It makes him, as he says, “a freak.” (That right there broke my heart when he says that). It’s not fair for someone so young to see all the different ways that he can die.

 

Anyway, Paul moves on to become lead the badass Fremen while the Lady Jessica becomes the Reverend Mother. But, in the process, she shares the knowledge and memories with the fetus inside her. The girl who is then born is not a normal child, and many Fremen women are afraid of the way she carries herself like an adult—which, technically, she is.

 

I think I should mention here that I simply LOVED the details that made this book so real. The politics, the religion, the layered meaning of words, the ecology and how the Fremen adapted to it, the Shai Hulud and how it fits into the ecology, the weapons, the stillsuits—EVERYTHING! I loved how it all came together so perfectly (this was mainly why I actually Googled “How long did it take Frank Herbert to write Dune?” I just couldn’t believe that so much detail could be put into a book that has been worked on for a couple of years. Just for reference: it took Herbert six years).

 

Okay so back to the story. I appreciate how Paul takes the lead, even beating his own mother when it comes to observing a situation and handling it like a pro. His relationship with Chani was very sweet. I love how he cares for the Fremen and chooses another way when he is pressured to kill Stilgar.

 

The Baron’s death scene was great in the sense that with all the build-up of his schemes and villainy, his death wasn’t so special after all (what I mean is that we don’t see him thrashing and twisting away in agony as a typical book villain is usually “supposed” to when he is being killed). He loses what respect he had in front of the Emperor, and before he gets a chance to even take it back, Alia (Paul’s sister) kills him with a gom jabbar.

 

The Siblings Together

 

The fight between Paul and Feyd-Rautha was super-satisfying. :D I was all DIE YOU LITTLE BITCH during the fight (it is really, really, really difficult to keep a straight face, and not make any noise when you are reading the most exciting parts while commuting, just so you know).

 

The bonding at the end between Chani and Jessica hits you. Jessica doesn’t approve of Chani, mainly because her BG training keeps her thinking that she is not the right match for Paul—that he should be married to someone with a higher lineage. Her views change when Chani essentially saves Paul’s life. And when Paul sees Princess Irulan (the daughter of the Emperor) as the key to his success in the future, and plans to marry her, Chani becomes insecure.

 

Princess Irulan

 

This probably reminds Jessica of her own position as the Duke’s concubine, and the book ends with this powerful quote:

 

“Think on it, Chani: the princess will have the name, yet she'll live as less than a concubine - never to know a moment of tenderness from the man to whom she's bound. While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine - history will call us wives.”

 

Okay, since this is going to be the last instalment, here's all the fun stuff that I came across:

 

Make Sandworm Bread Today!

 

The Gummy-Worm World of Dune

 

Make your own Maker Hooks

 

And an interview with Frank Herbert himself in which he discusses the ecology of the world that he created!

 

Featured Image

 

We had an amazing time with this re-read. We hope you did too! Keep checking this spot to find out, if we do decide to continue with the other books in the series or not!

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