Oct 26, 2005

children of dune

I was a little worried I was going to get bogged down on this book. This is where I got bogged down last time I tried to go through the Dune series back in high school. Herbert by this book has made a conscious decision to steer away from his primary focus on politics and economics in a personal sense and venture into a focus of them in a mystical sense. This already started to happen in Dune Messiah but he completes the transition with this book.

Politics and economics and geology and the rest of the topics he covers so well are all here. It's just that he doesn't treat them on a level that we understand them. They are covered in a vague way with mystical and spiritual overtones peppering everything. This makes it much harder to comprehend what is going on than Dune. In some ways it's more rewarding when you do figure it out. But there are times when you are doubtful of your ability to penetrate what Herbert is trying to get at. The prescience and wisdom that Paul's two children have gained from their ancestors' spice history make them tough hombres to figure out as well. Ghanima, the daughter, is almost a throwaway character. She's a set up piece. Leto II is clearly the center of attention here. His father Paul is demoted to a supporting character as well as the Preacher.

This book is all setup. Leto II understands the mistakes his father made and is on a mission to right that wrong. They way he accomplishes this and exactly what he is trying to accomplish are never that clear. Everything is wrapped up nuances. At the end however it does seem that Leto is some mission to save mankind. Under Paul's actions, humans would eventually die out. Stagnate. Leto is going to shake things up. And therefore you can guess that the bulk of that action is not going to take place here but in the next book, God Emperor of Dune.

That's not to say this is a throwaway piece from Herbert. I enjoyed it a lot more than I did the fist time. But it's on par with Dune Messiah because it serves as a transition piece. And from what my friends tell me, God Emperor is the payoff. We'll see.

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