I can honestly say that this will be the last book I read in the Dune series. I have been warned after the next one it just gets even more convoluted. That's a shame. I really loved the story-telling in the first book, but this one made barely any sense and there was very little dialogue. You just keep reading what someone was thinking, what they were doing, and the machinations at the court. I started to skim towards the end. The last couple of pages were the most exciting in the whole tale.
Dune Messiah takes place 12 years after the last book. We have Paul Atreides as the new Emperor, married to Princess Irulan. Paul and Irulan are married in name only though. He is still with Chani, and though they have been together this whole time, she has not gotten pregnant. The Bene Gesserit, Spacing Guild, and Tleilaxu decide to put pressure on Irulan to help them with dethroning Paul since she still desires to have a child with him.
Honestly you would think that the above would make the book more interesting, it does not. It doesn't help that due to Paul and his ability to know all things/sense all things he already knows there is a conspiracy against him and he even knows what Irulan has been up to. So it's just people wandering around trying to make chess moves against each other while holding up a sign saying "I am so going to get you this round."
The characters were very flat in this one. Alia is Paul's right hand or something. I don't even know. We focus on her and her emotions a lot in this book and I was not a fan. We hear about Jessica a lot, but she's not heard from at all. Paul claims to love Chani, but it felt very flat to me. We also have a ghola of Duncan Idaho. I still don't get why he accepted it since you know, trap and all, but just go with it.
The writing was not that great and the flow was awful. Everything felt like it was taking a thousand years. The setting of Dune didn't seem as awe-inspiring as it did in the first book. I really felt like I needed a chart to understand how everyone was connected/not connected to each other.