reviewed Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Dune Messiah (EBook, 2019, Gollancz) 3 stars

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known – and feared – as …

This could have been good

2 stars

Oof”, that was all I could think of on finishing this. Having failed to muster the interest to do this 35 years or so ago, I have, post-movie, finally caved to the fan recommendations that one “must simply” read this and the next two, at the very least.

What shall I say? 35 years ago me was right on gut judgment and the assessment of entertainment value. Herbert might have intended the Dune cycle to be a meditation on power and Messianic figures from the start, or he might simply have known a good thing when he saw it and milked the success of the first book, but there is a reason why Dune the book is an absolute classic, and Dune the series is for fanpeople* only. The writing is good and moody, but the whole thing is strung out far beyond what the flimsy structure is able to carry, a novella forcibly, and painfully, stretched to full novel length. It feels “like butter scraped over too much bread”, to quote an author who knew how to really make things last.

Which begs the question: what am I going to do with the next two novels, which I bought cheap and blind? Do bits rot if they are never read?