Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles #6) ★★★★☆

chapterhousedune (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Chapterhouse: Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #6
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 452
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Honored Matres are wiping out Bene Gesserit worlds while on their search for Chapterhouse, the nerve center of Bene Gesserit’ness.

Duncan Idaho and Murbella are on Chapterhouse and Murbella is being trained as a BG Sister to see if Honored Matres CAN make that transition. Duncan is just doing his thing and staying in the no-ship so nobody can find him. He becomes the Teg ghola’s weapon master [as he has visions of face dancers and somehow steals info about super advanced weapons from their minds] and in the end takes off in the no-ship with Sheena, Scytale and others.

Scytale continues his bargaining with the Sisterhood but is pretty much stymied.

Darwi Odrade is now Mother Superior and has plans to tame the Honored Matres by melding them with the BG. But to do this she must kill the High Honored Matre and convince the rest of the BG to accept Murbella as a synthesis of the two sisterhoods. She succeeds and dies and Murbella is confirmed as leader of both groups.

It is revealed that the Honored Matres have been fleeing something even more powerful than them and it is now up to Murbella to guide humanity to survival against whatever this “other” threat is while combining the best of the Bene Gesserit with the best of the Honored Matres.

And some Jews. I don’t even know why Herbert put them in, but they are shoehorned into this story like nobody’s business.

 

My Thoughts:

This really felt like 2 books. One of those books I liked, the other I thought was a steaming pile of poo poo. And I mean really stinky poo poo.

One book was about sexual obsession (by the author) and child rape and pages and pages of philosophical gobbledy gook that was batted back and forth by cardboard characters like a badminton birdie.

The other book was filled with planets being wiped out by super weapons and the discovery of eternal life through ghola memory being awakened and threats so large that they might be the end of all humanity all across the universe.

I enjoyed the first 10% of this book, then went out of my mind for the next 45% and finally enjoyed the last bit, thankfully. All of that is just to show that I don’t hold it against anyone who hates this book, doesn’t like it or just think it stinks (like really really really stinky poo). But being the man I am, I was able to go beyond Frank’s weaknesses and still enjoy the strengths this book has to offer.

But I had the mantra “why Frank, why?!?” running through my head the entire time. He has huge awesome plot material and tons of cool action stuff and he focuses on conversations about power and sex and religion? For phracks sake man, let it go and just tell a great story like you did with Dune. I think that is what each book after Dune lost out on, telling a good story. Each sequel became the vehicle with which Herbert drove us around his little personal psychology museum and bored us to tears with his ramblings.

One thing about this re-read that I enjoyed, or at least noticed without feeling like I needed to pass judgement, were terms and conditions that ended up being used in the Dune 7 duology by Baby Herbert and KJ Anderson. Noticing those things made me a little more forgiving of them and made me wonder if perhaps they weren’t the total wankers I think them to be. Yeah, that’ll last until I start reading the Dune 7 duology. Don’t worry, there will be no good feelings of comraderie and brotherly love then. Nothing but cold scorn and derision for ruining such an epic as the Dune Chronicles.

So why the 4stars? I’m beginning to wonder myself!

  1. The Action. When it happened, it happened fast and furious and there was NO messing about. Death and carnage and billions snuffed out in a heart beat.
  2. The Ideas. Once you got past Herbert’s obsession with power and the really weird ways he expressed that obsession, some of the points on humanity and how humanity acts and interacts were quite intriguing. I suspect they’re not very original, but in SF, it really works.
  3. The Direction. This series had moved beyond the Atreides family directly and towards the Gene Gesserit as a whole being a shepherd to humanity. Humanity had gotten larger and so the need for some guidance had gotten larger. Where this was leading was great.

Of course, it ends on a cliffhanger with Duncan and the No-ship in unknown space just hanging out. Like, duuude, where’s my spaceship? If you read my initial review from ’12 you’ll see how I reacted to that. This time around, knowing I had the completed story, no matter from who, that made a difference.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

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Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles #5) ★★★★☆

duneheretics (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Heretics of Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #5
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 484
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

1500 years have passed since Leto II, the God Emperor of Dune, has died and relaxed his iron grip on humanity. After his death came the Hard Times and the Scattering. Humanity spread out to stars beyond count. Only now, they are returning and they want control of the Old Empire. Ix has produced mechanical space navigating machines and the Tleilaxu produce the Spice by the ton from their axlotl tanks.

The Bene Gesserit are still playing their genetic game. They have been continuing the line of Duncan Idaho gholas through a connection with the Tleilaxu. They have also been keeping their hand in the Atreides gene line and their top protector, Supreme Bashar Miles Teg, is an Atreides who’s mother was Bene Gesserit. She also trained Teg in the Bene Gesserit ways.

At the same time, a young girl named Sheena starts communicating with the worms. She comes under the Bene Gesserit’s control and they’re plan is for her and the latest Duncan Idaho to mate and have lots of little worm talkers. Things don’t quite go as planned.

Honored Maitres, some of the returning forces, attack several Bene Gesserit worlds and put Sheena, Duncan and Teg all in danger. Teg is captured, levels up under torture and escapes. He rescues Duncan and eventually Sheena and they go off in a No-Ship. No-ships are invisible to guild navigators and other prescient beings.

The book ends with the Bene Gesserit planning on being conquered by the Honored Maitres and planning on subverting the Tleilaxu for their own purposes.

 

My Thoughts:

I was able to appreciate just how this is the beginning of a new Dune trilogy. The first, Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune all form a tight weight on one side of the see-saw. God Emperor of Dune is really the pivot point and here we begin to see the other side of the balanced weight. It is almost exciting to realize such a literary device.

There is a lot of talking going on in this book and I mean a lot. Monologuing, diatribes, half-finished sentences, blah, blah, blah. Herbert gives us all the unnecessary in excruciating detail while completely ignoring a fantastic action story. But hey, that’s typical Herbert for you. In many ways, this could have been as exciting a novel as Dune with its huge scope and action scenes. Teg and Duncan are running from a planetary invasion of Honored Matres for goodness sake. Sheena is balancing between the Sisters and the Rakian Priesthood and the Bene Gesserit are dealing with Face Dancers that can mentally imprint and BECOME that person, to the point that the Face Dancer loses its own self-identity and forgets that it is a Face Dancer. Those are all completely awesome ideas.

And Frank shoves them off to the side to talk about control and sex and government and esoteric religious ideas. Don’t get me started on the sex. Not graphic, but it is underlying everything. Reading my review from ’12 when I last read this, it was obvious that that was what stood out to me then. This time I was able to look past it a little, but still, it is like the Spice. It is in everything, it is everywhere and you can’t get away from it.

dunefreud

It doesn’t get much more Freudian than THAT!

The main reason this gets a 4star rating and not a 4/12 or 5, is because so many of the ideas are cloaked in half-sentences and unfinished thoughts. That kind of writing infuriates me. If you have a clever idea, or a big idea, or just a plain old hum drum idea, state it! Don’t hint at it, don’t take an upskirt photo surreptitiously, don’t hem and haw around the edges. Grab that sucker, throw it down on the bed and ravish it! As you can tell, Frank’s freudian obsession with sex has overcome me and now everything I say or do will have some sort of sexual connotation.

So I’m going to end this review. Read this book ONLY if you’ve read the previous 4 and liked them all. Not liked them a little bit, but liked them a lot. You’re going to need that “like” to get you through.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

 

God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4) ★★★★ ½

godemperor (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: God Emperor of Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #4
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 436
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Dune is transformed. The worms are gone. The Spice is a dwindling product handed out each decade by the God Emperor from his private stores. Leto is now a pre-worm and 3500 years old. Mentats are outlawed and gone. The Fremen no longer really exist. The Tleilaxu grow Duncan Idahoes for Leto. Leto has taken control of Bene Geserit breeding program. The Ixians supply Leto with technology while experimenting on their own.

There is peace. The Great Houses are gone. Populations reside on their own planets and enjoy a level of living that has been unheard of before. Leto’s Fish Speakers, an all female army, provide whatever force is needed should a situation arise.

Leto is fermenting humanity. Trying to change it from the inside out. He sees the glimmer of this in Siona Atreides, who is currently leading the rebellion against him. She can fade from his pre-sight, which means that her descendants will free humanity from the curse of prescience and prophecy.

Of course, Leto has enemies. The Tleilaxu plot his overthrow with their face dancers. The Ixians are breeding a human who is the perfect fit for Leto, and who they will control. Siona co-opts the current Duncan and they are figuring out how to kill Leto.

Leto knows.

Leto also knows that when he dies, his body will release sand trout that will begin the desertification of Dune once again and bring back the worms and the spice in a couple of hundred years.

 

My Thoughts:

This version that I read had an introduction by Frank’s son, Brian. While I normally hold my nose at the travesty he and that son of a goat Anderson created with the Dune prequels, I did find this introduction extremely enlightening and helpful. It prepared me for the kind of book this would be.

This felt like a play, with Leto II being front and center and soloquizing for most of the book. A lot of action happens, a lot of information is told, but it is all off stage, as it were. Leto talks. A lot. With his Major Domo, Moneo Atriedes [Siona’s father], with The Duncan, with Siona, with the love of his life Hwi.

Hwi. Now there is pathos. To have someone built to love you and to have them built so as to attract you. It is redeemed from pablum by Hwi knowing all of this and still choosing Leto over her Ixian masters. She does love Leto, willingly and unwillingly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read, yet again.

However. If someone were to read this book and call it boring, dialogue heavy or unenjoyable, I would not try to correct them. Leto constantly tries to push other characters into understanding by asking them questions instead of answering their questions. Leto does that a lot and it can be frustrating. There were a couple of times that I wanted to shake him and shout “Just answer his question, you gigantic jerk!”. This was an idea book but those ideas were not all nicely queued up like bowling pins in an alley. They were disguised, hidden, scattered. It was frustrating and I will not deny that. I don’t think it is a weakness of the book or the writing though. It was deliberate. Herbert wanted his readers to think and thinking can be hard work at times.

This was a re-read book, like all the other Dune Chronicles books I’m reading. My first recorded instance of reading it was only back in ’12. However, I know I read it in highschool and in Bibleschool at least 3 times. So this is my fifth time? The fact that I’m still frustrated with it and yet enjoying it so much says a lot about the quality of the writing.

 ★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. God Emperor of Dune (2012 Review)
  2. Children of Dune (Book 3)
  3. Dune Messiah (Book 2)
  4. Dune (Book 1)

Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles #3) ★★★★ ½

children (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Children of Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #3
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 420
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Paul is dead, Alia is ruling as regent and conspirators to topple the Atreides Empire are crawling out of the woodwork.

Paul’s children, Leto and Ghanima, are 10 years old and must begin to take on the trappings of power. They must also avoid the path of Abomination that has overtaken Alia [she’s given in to the inner voices and allowed one of them to take control at times] while fulfilling the vision that Leto has of the human race. A vision that apparently Paul saw and couldn’t bring himself to commit to.

So all the children have to do is: survive their aunt who wants them dead, survive their grandmother who wants them as pawns for the Bene Gesserit, survive a rogue group of Fremen who want all Atreides dead, survive the other Houses who want to ascend to Imperial status and finally, survive the lives inside of them who want to take over.

Easy-peasy.

 

My Thoughts:

Overall, my thoughts haven’t really changed from my ’12 read. There were places that still bored me to tears. I suspect some of that is because the underpinnings of Dune have an islamic cast to them and so I couldn’t follow all the half-sentence, unfinished, thoughts.

This time around I realized that Leto had seen the Golden Path before he was dosed with spice, so what he was seeing was not a prescient view of the future. So how did he see it? He makes a point of calling it a vision instead of prescience, but where did it come from? Paul’s “visions” were him looking into the future when he was high on spice. Leto couldn’t take the chance of taking spice because the inner lives would overwhelm him during that time. The only thing I can think of is that he was able to see everything his father saw because of his preborn condition.

The other thing I noticed was that most of Herbert’s speculation about viewing the future and such were all predicated on there NOT being an Omniscient Being. Which is interesting because the Dune mythos is built on the whole idea of prophecy and gods, albeit humanity ascendant. Prophecy, or visions of the future, are something that come from God. He is an omniscient, omnipresent Being and hence is not bound by time or space. Herbert’s idea of The Future was where humanity was not constrained by ANY force, within or without. He was writing about humanity without a guiding hand. Which is the antithesis of what I believe as a Christian. And yet the questions he asks are just as intriguing and eye opening as any I could think to ask. And THAT is why I like the Dune Chronicles so much. The questions about humanity.

Completely satisfied about this re-read. While I had re-read it back in ’12, I hadn’t read it before then since at least ’99. This is one series I am very glad to own in hardcover as well as in digital form for my Oasis.

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Children of Dune (2012 Review)
  2. Dune (Book 1)
  3. Dune Messiah (Book 2)

Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles #2) ★★★★ ½

dunemessiah-review (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 
Title:       Dune Messiah
Series:    Dune Chronicles #2
Author:   Frank Herbert
Rating:    4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre:     SF
Pages:     340
Format:   Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Paul Atreides is Emperor of the Galaxy. His Fremen have swept planets under his rule and nobody can stop him. For Paul can see the future and how do you fight a man who can see THAT? The answer appears to be, very carefully and with layers upon layers of plots.

The Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, the Bene Tleilax and Princess Irulan are all in to bring the downfall of Paul Atreides, who seems to be on the cusp of attaining godhood. They attack his family through Chani. They subvert his Quizarate. They foment rebellion amongst the Naibs who cannot deal with the rapid change of climate on Dune. They tempt Paul himself with the gola of Duncan Idaho, the man who gave his life to save Paul.

And Paul sees this all and knows this all and he doesn’t know how to stop seeing the future. He is walking a path of least resistance, the smallest amount of chaos but as the Navigators found out in Dune, that eventually leads to Stagnation. So Paul lets the future happen and hopes that his children can somehow change things.

And as a blind Fremen, he walks out into the desert to die.

 

My Thoughts:

Some seriously wicked crazy plotting going on here. Not everyone is happy with Emperor Paul. In fact, most of the power groups aren’t. We get introduced to the Bene Tleilax, a group/race of people that are, in essence, shapechangers. They can also mimic those they change into. The Bene Gesserit are upset because their little breeding program is off the rails; what’s the point of creating a superman if you can’t control him? The Spacing Guild, CHOAM and the Landsraad are all pretty put out as Paul exercises supreme authority and they have to do what they’re told.

I really liked how Herbert figures out a way to make it possible to blind someone who can see the future. If nothing else in this book impresses you, the fact that Herbert doesn’t make Paul unassailable should make you re-read Dune with new eyes.

There was a lot of philosophy talk being thrown around. There was a lot of political machinations going on. This had nuances and creases and folds that were not only not apparent in Dune, but were pretty much unthinkable. Herbert completely throws Paul under the bus because that is the only place he can go.

Alia plays the second biggest role here, in my opinion. She’s not quite as powerful as Paul and is constantly trying to catch up to her big brother. That isn’t very ominous until you’re doing a Re-Read. Then it becomes the scary music in the background. In many ways it seems that Paul does nothing to try to stop her. But that is a “thing” for him. He is hemmed in by prophecy of future sight and so he is so afraid of meddling with others and somehow damaging their free will.

Free will is about having the choice. Not all the choices, not clearly spelled out, not with all the knowledge of the consequences. Free Will means being able to say “yes” or “no” to something. Even while bemoaning the future sight, Paul still had Free Will. He just didn’t want to face the consequences of taking a different path and so he didn’t.

And so like in our world, one generation of heroes must make way for another.

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

  1. Dune
  2. Dune Messiah Review from 2012

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)

cc16958ce14ce6a089bef54903d68f81

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 
Title: Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #1
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 611
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

Mortal enemies, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, through political machinations, end up trading control of Arrakis, Dune. The one planet that produces the Spice; an addictive substance that prolongs life, allows the gifted to see glimpses of the future and cannot be artificially reproduced.

Baron Harkonnen has secretly allied himself with the Emperor though and through trickery, deceit and the use of the Emperor’s Elite Forces, destroys the Atreides line on Dune. Unknown to him, however, the scion, Paul and his Bene Gesserit trained mother Jessica, have escaped to the desert where they fulfill prophecy for a group of desert dwellers known as the Fremen. Unrivaled warriors, the Fremen believe Paul is the long prophesied savior who will turn Dune into a paradise world. Paul, a product of millenia of Bene Gesserit breeding plans and living in conditions where he is infused with Spice at every turn, takes the next step in human development. He can see the Future, like it was the Past.

With his ability to now destroy the Spice, and hence destroy the Imperium, Paul ascends the Imperial Throne. The Future is firmly set and Paul Muad-dib is at the reins.

However, The Saga of Dune is Far from Over.

 

My Thoughts:

Phracking Fantastic, what a good book. I read it in ’11 and then again in ’16 and I found that 5 years seems to be a good amount of time between re-reads. While I enjoyed it this time around, the frission I experienced in ’16 was not there. Some things do need a bit of time between tastings.

Since I do plan on re-reading the whole Dune Chronicles, I was keeping an eye out for little glimpses of the future. Not a lot to see, really. Which just cements my thoughts that while Herbert wrote this as a series, Dune itself was really meant as a standalone novel.

The ONLY thing that stuck out to me as a negative was the little dialogue about ecology that the dying character Kynes has with his dead father. While he knows it is a hallucination, it just comes across as Herbert allowing himself to talk about a subject that he’s interested in but not strictly related to the immediate plot. It is much more detail oriented than is needed for an understanding of the “Turn Dune into a Fremen Paradise”, ie, a world with Earth normal weather.

I also read this with an eye towards how the Prequels books by his son had influenced me or my perception of events within the book. Honestly, it was very hard to tell. It did feel like I was more influenced by the rest of the Chronicles and the future they hold then anything that came before. But just the fact that I have read the prequels fills in little gaps in my mind that I might not even notice.

star50-custom-custom

 

 

bookstooge

 

  1. Dune Review from 2011

  2. Dune Review from 2016

 

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1) (Project Reread #8)

Dune - Frank HerbertThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.anobii.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Dune

Series: Dune Chronicles

Author: Frank Herbert

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 894

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Project Reread

I am attempting to reread 10+ books in 2016 that I have rated highly in the past. I am not attempting to second guess or denigrate my younger self in any way but am wanting to compare how my tastes have changed and possibly matured. I am certainly much more widely read now [both in the good and bad quality sadly] than then.
I will hopefully be going into the reasons for any differences of opinions between then and now. If there is no difference of opinion, then it was a hellfire’d fine book!
Links may link to either Booklikes or Blogspot, depending on when the original review was.

 

Synopsis:

Paul Atreides, born of rebellion and love, has the potential to be the next step in Humanity. A man who can look into the past and into the future. But becoming a superman is not easy, nor is it guaranteed.

With a space operatic House feud, the Bene Gesserit bent on creating and controlling him, a Galactic King bent upon his House’s destruction and a prophecy that was seeded by the Bene Gesserit hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago, Paul will succeed or die.

 

My Thoughts:

What do I say? This is just as good as ever.

Having read more of Herbert’s works since my last read of Dune back in ’11, it is very apparent that Dune was an aberration in Herbert’s style. It is easy to understand, light on the psychosexual tones that Herbert seems to revel in and keeps the monologuing on philosophical themes to a minimum. None of those things are gone, but they aren’t in the foreground.

While the Dune Chronicles continue for another 5 books and then has its final sequence penned by the execrable Kevin Anderson & Brian Herbert, Dune can stand on its own and in many respects, it should. It tells a complete story arc. If you LOVE Dune, then I recommend reading the rest of the Chronicles. If you aren’t sure, then read another book by Herbert, perhaps The White Plague, and see if you like THAT style. If you can enjoy that one, then you’ll probably enjoy the rest of the Chronicles.

I was also reminded of Red Rising by Pierce Brown, in that the main character was young [Paul is 15 at the start of the book and it covers no more than 5 years] but this is in  no way Young Adult. I think part of that is because Herbert has his main character becoming an adult at an accelerated pace due to circumstances. In fact, the more I think of it, Darrow from Red Rising reminds me more and more of Paul. Young, but having gone through a crucible, emerges from the other side with all adolescence burned out of him and maturity, responsibility and ability coating him like an armored suit. An adult with a purpose and the will to accomplish that purpose.

This Project Reread was a complete success and I got to read a 5star book that STAYED a 5star book. It just doesn’t get much better than that.