God Emperor of Dune (Dune #4)
Author: Frank Herbert
Rated R for rebellion against a giant, god emperor worm that only seeks reform for his people.
…But they are two separate beings—Leto the emperor and The Worm Who Is God…
Millennia have passed since the events of the last book. Leto II has been the emperor of the known universe. On his journey toward the Golden Path, Leto has turned into something far from human. He has merged with a sandworm which is what has granted him near immortality.
Leto’s rule has been a deadly one and gained him enemies such as one of his many reincarnations of Duncan Idaho and Siona, one of the only remaining ancestors of the Atreides family. She has grown to lead a rebellion that resists Leto’s rule. Leto leans into that rebellion. He discovers that she has a destiny to fulfill in order to reach the Golden Path he has dreamt of for humanity.
Leto has transformed beyond anything that could ever be human. After the loss of his sister, Ghani, everything changed. His worldview and desperation to follow the Golden Path increased into a dictatorship of horror. More so, he has transformed into something between human and sandworm. Not going to lie, I gagged. It’s pretty disturbing. A monstrous man-worm was hard to handle. Herbert did not hold back in his vivid depiction of him.
The story is one of maneuvers, strategy, and evolution. Leto’s dictatorship did yield particular goals. Though he chose to keep Duncan Idaho as a recurring point in his life as a way to remain attached to the little humanity in his life, he didn’t allow it to lead him astray from his Golden Path. That Golden Path was his idea of keeping the human race alive. Still, so much was sacrificed in order for that to come to fruition.
So much advancement has been made in civilization and evolution that the planet, Dune, is no longer the dry desert wasteland it used to be. Water is able to be wasted at the expense of luxury rather than for survival. Sandworms are going extinct. The Fremen people are barely a myth. The spice has become a rare commodity controlled and doled out as Leto sees fit. It is one of the many resources that Leto used to control people. The passage of time didn’t only change the world I’d become quite familiar with, but also the tone of the story itself.
This really turned into a Star Wars vibe. Leto becoming the emperor of the dark side and Sonia with the potential to rise up as a lost jedi or the rebellion with Duncan AKA Han Solo on his side. I’ve got no complaints about it. LOL. But I can’t ignore the similarities. Leto even looks like Jaba the Hut, though incredibly more grotesque.
Sonia and Duncan were amongst my favorite characters in this installment. Each bore their own distaste and rebellion for Leto’s rule. Sonia reminded me so much of Choni. She is probably my favorite character. Bullheaded, going off half-cocked, and with a sense of duty and loyalty, she was one of the few that didn’t crumble under Leto’s rule. Duncan was shaken by it after realizing soo many secrets that destabilized the life he was continuously reliving. When the two finally collided it was like watching a nuclear bomb go off and watching the mushroom cloud go up, Dangerous but gloriously beautiful.
The intertwining of characters was wild. From family lineage to understanding who was in love with whom and who hated whom, you had to keep a close eye on each character. Each of them had their own plot twist that added to the divine design of this book. The overlapping of characters and arcs all leading to one major plot. It’s so smart.
Though this book took one of the largest time-jumps ever, it still kept pace with its previous books. A fresh and also slightly horrifying new dominion from the House of Atreides.
“How naïve. Chance is the nature of our universe.” (Leto to Duncan, p. 27)
Beware of the truth, gentle Sister. Although much sought after, truth can be dangerous to the seeker. Myths and reassuring lies are much easier to find and believe. If you find a truth, even a temporary one, it can demand that you make painful changes. Conceal your truths within words. Natural ambiguity will protect you then. Words are much easier to absorb than are the sharp Delphic stabs of wordless portent. With words, you can cry out in the chorus.” (Leto to Sister Chenoeh, p. 175)
“Most people are not creatures of reason.” (Leto, p. 284)
“The universe is timeless at its roots and contains therefore all times and all futures.” (p. 305)
“Every living thing has a fire within it, some slow, some very fast. Mine is hotter than most.” (Leto, p. 458)
“Survival has always been cruel.” (Leto to Siona, p. 484)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Dangerous Night by Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!