No Fear in the Desert – (Dune – A Book Review)

Dune

Author: Frank Herbert

Published: 1965

On Goodreads

Rating:

Rated S for spice and the struggle to have control over it and what it means.

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Gesserit knows” (p. 3)

Taking place on the desert planet, Arrakis, Paul Atreides, heir to House Atreides, is thrown into its deserts that are teeming with Spice—a drug that can enhance life and consciousness—and the worms that protect them. After the betrayal and destruction of his noble house, Paul is crawling closer to a destiny that is terrifying as a war for control over Spice rages on across the years. Paul transforms into the mysterious and almighty Muad’Dib of the fremen, desert dwellers.

Dune is 1 of 3 series that I’m accomplishing this year as a part of my bookish New Year’s Resolution.

I didn’t know why, but I guess I was like, “Sure, let’s read some really huge books to start the year off.” Dune was a powerful start to a grand epic. It was incredibly strategic like a game of chess with how calculated each of the characters were in their choices amid survival and war. I think this is a book, no not just a book but a series because you can’t only read the one, that you should take the time to delve into.

Cookie Break

The complexity of Herbert’s book was mind-bending. A vortex of religion, politics, and the belief of unbreakable destiny. This is a universe in which prophecy is held as high as religion. It was intense yet remarkable following the course of this book, its structure set in the present yet in the future with such intelligent and even terrifying characters. Herbert manages this with such tension in his writing that left me unnerved at times. It still doesn’t compare to 1984, but it was a runner-up.

We Heart It

I’ve never witnessed the birth of a villain quite like this. I was pretty shaken up and my eyes grew pretty big as this transformation occurred ever so slowly. What started with a brilliant stream of conscious awareness and strength turned into dark might driven by vengeance and heartache and power. It was classic. This may have been the main characterization of the book, but not the only. The many facets of the women in this epic was like a chrysalis of independence. Still, while they had it, it struck me how it was a mirage because it could be stripped away in a split second. It was a caged power. 

Side Note: Paul’s sister, Alia, was scary AF. 

The planet Arrakis was mesmerizing yet not. There are so many torn feelings about this world. LOL. On one hand, how desolate and unlivable, on the other, I kinda want to live there. Worms and all. It’s warm. And, as silly as it is, I felt bad for the worms. They’re out there trying to live their best lives while war is torn across their home for its resources. That also kind of struck an interesting relevance to our own world that made me laugh nervously. Past all of that, it was a hazy vision that endless and easy to get lost in. 

A book would typically end and fade to black, but Herbert continued to immerse me with the maps and appendixes to this planet and its universe. Such a smart and unique addition that gives extra dimension to this already massive world. 

Overall

This is a stunning and remarkable novel. An incredible start to a long journey that, as I hear it, spans a few good millennia. This has been a read of a higher level. Methodical, philosophical, and unlike anything I’ve read before. And while the adventure part mixed with survival and destruction between warring houses was a delight, it was these other parts that struck my core.

Quotables:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mindkiller. 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 its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” (Paul, p. 12)

“There is. No escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.” (p. 237)

“A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.” (p.413)

“The night is a tunnel…a hole into tomorrow…if we’re to have a tomorrow.” (Jessica, p. 425)

“Guilt starts as a feeling of failure.” (Paul, p. 549)

“How little the universe knows about the nature of real cruelty!” (p. 740)

More to come soon…

  -K.

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