So, you may have seen, I finished Dune. Finally. It only took forever.
First, I need to tell you about the circumstances surrounding my acquiring of the book.
I have this person. We’ll call her Amy.
She has the wonderful tendency to say things like “You should watch Doctor Who/Sherlock/Torchwood and also read this book!”. Her taste is impeccable and she is always, always, always right.
If you don’t have a person like that, you should get one. You can’t have Amy though. She’s mine.
Anyway, Dune was the one thing I seemed to be slowest taking her advise on. It’s humongous, for one, and really, I was a new mom, and I didn’t want to commit to reading something I wouldn’t be able to get through. But she finally nudged hard enough, and went to Barnes and Noble, grumbling all the way. I found the book with the help of a very old sale clerk named Frank, who waxed quite poetic about “The Greatest Science Fiction Masterpiece of Our Time!!”
Then I took it home and didn’t read it. For weeks.
I picked it up, put it down, picked it up again. Then, finally, somewhere after Munch’s first birthday, I received some of my mental clarity back and started reading. And couldn’t stop.
Dune is not just good. Dune is legendary. Epic. Extraordinary.
In case you don’t know, Dune is the story of…actually, read it here. I’m at 240 words at this point. Lets not waste more time.
I remember being so confused in the beginning. “Who is this Baron? What is the spice? Wait, are THESE the main characters? Jessica doesn’t seem like a science fiction-y name”. I actually flipped to the front to check if I had accidentally picked up the second in a series. It seemed like there was a lot of information I was already supposed to know. But no, that’s just part of the genius. Frank Herbert pulls you into a little web of “WTF is going on here?” and the BAM! Mind. Blown. Clarity. OMG.
And the characters. There are very few people who can make their characters truly multi-faceted. Jessica, with her calm exterior, her Bene Gesserit training, and yet her love and fear for her son and daughter. Leto, intelligent, cunning in his way, but almost too noble. And Paul. Paul, the hero. Of course Paul is noble. Of course he wants to do the right thing. But he is not naive. He knows what belongs to him, he knows his due, and he knows that occasionally you must wade through the muck to get the crown. I have heard things about the next book, that he turns down a less-than-pristine path. I’ve heard that turns people off. But I can see it. I can see Paul’s ambition turning too far toward the power-hungry. He is not a perfect hero. He is written to be human, changeable, fallible.
Can I say, before I go, that Princess Irulan in one of my very favorite characters in the whole book. I truly hope she is a bigger character later, because I love her. You don’t meet her until the end of the book, but each chapter begins with an excerpt from her own writings. Something about the writing and the circumstances she finds herself in toward the end of the book speak to an amazing strength of character, an understanding of how to play the great game of politics, and a fierce intelligence. I’d like to meet this girl a bit more.
If you haven’t read Dune, and Science Fiction interests you at all, pick this book up. Totally worth the wait.