Book review: Dune

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Dune written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965 is considered a classic when it comes to science fiction books. it is a legend and arguably one of the best sci-fi works ever. So, with this knowledge I picked up this very large book to read. And it did not disappoint me.

Dune is about a planet Arrakis where living conditions are inhuman but it is home to the drug “melange” or The Spice which enhances one’s mental abilities and is also addictive. Duke Lato Atreides Duke Leto Atreides of House Atreides, ruler of the ocean planet Caladan, is assigned by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV to serve as fief ruler of the planet Arrakis.

Lady Jessica is an acolyte of the Bene Gesserit, an exclusively female group that pursues its own political interests and wields superhuman physical and mental abilities. Though Jessica was instructed by the Bene Gesserit to bear a daughter as part of their plan, she bore a son to Leto. This goes against the Bene Gesserit but they accept him and weave another plan around him.

Leto, his concubine Lady Jessica and their son Paul travel to Arrakis. Leto is betrayed by his physician Yueh but Yeuh makes sure that Jessica and Paul escape. What appears to be the end of Paul Atreides becomes the beginning of Paul Muad’Dib. From here on, the story continues about how Paul and Jessica survive the harsh dunes and the political powers that are active and continuously at work to bring the other down.

Dune is a story of family bonds, addiction, lotalty, politics and the struggle to gain power. There are many characters and for a while it had become difficult for me to remember who was who and on whose side. The story moves at a fast pace and the words will take you to the sand dunes and you will feel the oppression of sand and sun like Jessica and Paul do when they are running to save their lives.

It is a big book but the story is woven so brilliantly by Frank Herbert that not one moment is dull. It is action packed and you can never know what will happen next. The fight for melange in this fictional world does sound a little like the fight for oil in our real world.

The first of a six part series, Dune surely packs a punch and maybe that is the reason why it is still considered one of the best sci-fi books of all times. And yes, reading this needs time and patience but you will love every minute of it.

My rating: 4.8/5

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