Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dune Messiah (Dune 2), by Frank Herbert

Book cover Dune Messiah is the second book of Frank Herbert's Dune saga. It is two and a half times smaller than the first book and it feels almost completely different. Paul has been emperor for some time, not much, but enough for his jihad to bring the death of tens of billions. The government of the universe is now his, a combination of religion and bureaucratic despotism that he foresaw, but could not have prevented. The house of Ix and the Bene Tleilaxu make their appearance. There are conspiracies against Muad'dib and his family from every corner and, if the first book was of his victory over his enemies, however painful, the second book is all about his defeat at the hands of the future. He walks the edge, loses almost everything, all in the name of a better future for human kind. All the characters are weaker, more human, some less human but still weak.

All in all, it is a nice book, well written and interesting, but it felt like a kind of bridge between Dune and the next two books, which have their focus on Paul Atreides' children. We are certainly looking forward to brilliant stories and great writing, but Dune Messiah seemed a little too melodramatic, less focused, with less work done on it. Compared to its predecessor, it seems a disappointment; compared to most other books, it is still great.