Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Book Details
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
Hardcover, 288 pages
2008, Ace Hardcover
ISBN: 0441015611
Series: Book 2 in the Dune Chronicles

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known-and feared-as the man christened Muad'Dib. As Emperor of the Known Universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremens, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne-and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.

And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family's dynasty.

Dune Messiah is set twelve years after the end of Dune, with Paul firmly ensconced as emperor of Arrakis. Never have I read a sequel that so closely followed the feel of the original. Had I not known better, I would have sworn this book was the second half of Dune as opposed to a separate sequel.

Being so well matched to the original was very good and kind of disappointing. The story continued in a comfortable fashion, written in a a tone I was already accustomed to. I easily reentered the world Frank Herbert created and found the new twists to the Atreides story meshed well with the characters I already knew.

Unfortunately, while Dune felt like an epic story that changed everything from beginning to end of the story, Dune Messiah felt like a small snippet in the life of the emperor. Things that seemed as though they should have been major didn't have the impact they should have. It all felt less important. This is a common problem with sequels to huge books like Dune. The next book never measures up to the original.

While I enjoyed the story, I don't feel compelled to continue the series. The book was good and it was fun to revisit the characters, but ultimately Dune was best left with its original ending. Dragging things out further promises to mar my opinion of the first book.



  1. I read Dune a few months ago but haven't yet had a chance to read the sequel. I'm really glad to see the review of it hear as it gives me an idea of what to expect.

  2. Yes, I agree that Dune Messiah isn't as good as the first book. It's the one I least liked of the entire series, but the rest are quite good.

  3. Dune Messiah is the slowest burn in the series, but definitely grows on you. Frank Herbert begins to get into esoteric descriptions of the perils of prescience, which bogs down the pacing of this books and the ones to come.

    That said, Dune is one of the greatest series of all time, and your decision to stop here is like quitting after reading The Fellowship of the Ring... Herbert has 5000 more years of story to share with you in this series, and it would be a mistake to stop now. You must continue!

  4. I should read this again. Thanks for the review and the reminder.