Dune #2: Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Read: 2007

The Atreides star has risen. Paul is emperor and rules the universe from his seat on Arrakis, transforming the empire into a theocracy. And yet Chani, the imperial concubine, has still not produced an heir.

Dune Messiah was not nearly as good as Dune, but it was still very interesting. Paul’s reaction to becoming Muad-Dib – a kind of prophet – have greatly shaped my views on religion and on those who seem eager to speak on behalf of a god. This book does suffer from some sequelitis (trying to be both the original and it’s own book, but failing to strike the right balance between the two), but it’s still very much worth the read.

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Other books in the Dune series:

  1. Dune
  2. Dune Messiah
  3. Children of Dune
  4. God Emperor of Dune
  5. Heretics of Dune
  6. Chapterhouse: Dune

2 thoughts on “Dune #2: Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

  1. Why did you think it wasn’t as good as Dune? Was it the condensation of the scope of the work? From empire wide action to more restrained action? Just curious… people tend to say that but don’t give any real explanations.

    • It’s been a long time, so I don’t remember specifics. I think some of it may be due to sequelitis (expectations are so high after the first that it’s almost impossible to live up to them). But also, I feel that it lost something that was in the original – it may well be the change in scope.

      In Dune, the narrative was pretty firmly rooted in human experience, and the magic of spice was peripheral, and introduced slowly enough that the reader’s submersion into fictional world is almost imperceptible. But in Messiah, the fictional world (or universe, I suppose) is front and centre. Perhaps it’s the alien-ness of this that makes Messiah harder to love on an emotional basis.

      Also, the court intrigue of Dune was stunted by Paul being so powerful. He knows everything, can predict the future, and and is therefore somewhat removed from the games the other characters are playing. Having so much knowledge also makes him less human, and it’s much harder to sympathise with him than it was in Dune.

      Maybe that’s it?

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