I hate to begin a review by revealing my indecision but here we are. This book is a solid four-and-a-half stars for me. I’ve had the hardest time trying to decide which rating I want to give to this story, but we’ll leave it at four-and-a-half for now in favor of being decisive.
So what did this book do right? So, so much.
- Dynamic characters
Where to begin? I love the characters of Dune from the bottom of my heart. First there is Paul Atreides, the main character. I typically don’t care for main characters, as they tend to all mesh into the same strong and mighty category, but he is an exception. What’s even rarer for me is to like a main character who is only fifteen for the majority of the story. Yet he is written in such a lovable way I can’t help but sympathize with him and his otherworldly problems.
His mother, Jessica, is also high up on the list of characters I like. Again, it isn’t common for me to love the main “strong female character,” as they typically end up being carbon copies of one another. Jessica, however, is nothing like what I’ve seen before. She is a complex, multifaceted character that can’t possibly be described in just one way or another. She constantly surprised me, and my love for her never waned throughout the story.
As anyone who knows anything about me already has guessed, I couldn’t make a list of my favorite Dune characters without Gurney Halleck: the man to end all other men, the Dune universe love of my life. What can I say? He plays music at random, sometimes inappropriate times throughout the book. He quotes the Bible. He knows how to expertly wield a knife. What is there not to love? Nothing. There is nothing not to love.
- Compelling story
I genuinely cared what happened, and that’s saying something. What I like most about the story is its constant movement. It isn’t a stagnant plot that leaves me wanting to skim the rest of the book. It keeps moving. There’s plenty of action.
We transition from place to place and character to character, meaning that even if one particular part starts to get a little boring, chances are you’ll be moving on to a more interesting scenario in just a few pages.
- Point of view
Third person omniscient usually isn’t my favorite point of view from which to read. When the narrator can look into everyone’s thoughts and speak about them all in turn, I typically find that I’m trying to process too much information at once. Oddly, though, I felt it was perfect for this book. I didn’t feel confused but, rather, more connected to each of the characters.
In books with a smaller cast, where just a few characters spend a lot of time together, I find it more beneficial to have learn just one person’s thoughts, either through first person or third person limited. The character whose perspective is used can typically tell who is feeling what, rendering it unnecessary to know everyone’s thoughts.
Fortunately, Dune is not one of those short-character-list books. It has a rather gigantic number of characters the readers needs to pay careful attention to. That makes it perfect for third person omniscient, as it allowed me to learn about each of the important characters through their own thoughts. It also worked to heighten the suspense: having multiple characters feel vaguely guilty will obviously make me want to read more!
So, does Dune live up to the hype? In my opinion, absolutely!
If you’re a fan of fantasy, science fiction themes, action-packed storylines, and complex characters, this is, indeed, the story for you.
Seeing as I just finished its sequel, Dune Messiah, be sure to look out for my review on that one very soon as well!