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This is an excellent book, excellent, series, excellent prequel. If you loved Dune, you will love this series. If you tried to read Dune, but found it too complicated, than start here. The entire complex worlds and societies, created by Frank Herbert, are made easy to understand through these stories. The people, the worlds, the politics are deeply described in exciting detail. I normally hate politics of made up worlds, but this is so interesting, exciting and even possible, that I get got up in the intrigue, back stabbing, plans within plans, and brutality.
It would take pages and pages to describe all the unique characteristics of this universe, let's just glance over it slightly. First, atomics and thinking machines have been banned in the universe, due to the destruction they caused in the past. This has caused mankind too to come up with ways to accomplished things by mutating man. The Bene Gesserits are a sisterhood of women disguised as a religious order, who have developed telepathy, and have increased their power through a strict breeding program. The Mentats are humans who have developed their brains to be complex computers. The Navigators have mutated their bodies to be unrecognizable as human, but through their minds they fold space and make space travel possible. All of these sects relay on spice or mélange in order to achieve these changes. Melange can only be found on one planet, Dune or Arrakis. an inhospitable planet where it never rains. Dune is populated by a hard group of people called the Freeman. Then there are the planets, besides Dune, there is a planet where everyone lives underground, an industrial planet that is covered with so much smog it is always dark and more.
I just can't explain it all here, you have to read it yourself. I will also mention that I am not a fan of Brick, but even he can not ruin this book.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
This review is the same for all three books of the “House Trilogy.”
The author of the Dune [Chronicles] Saga, Frank Herbert, died in 1986 before completing the final installment, Dune 7. According to his son, Brian Herbert, a couple of years after the passing of his father, a safety deposit box was found with copious notes about the saga’s past and outlines for its future completion. His son collaborated with Kevin J. Anderson on the final book but also several prequels including a Prelude to Dune trilogy about the three prominently featured houses or families of the saga: Atreides, Harkonnen and Corrino.
I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version of the original Dune years ago. And, after just finishing the entire “House” trilogy, I reread the original to more freshly compare them. I must say, I think that I enjoyed the prequels more. However, I don’t know that I would have had I not read the original first. Before going on about the “House” series, because one cannot edit a review on Audible once it’s posted, a comment here about Book 1 might be helpful. The original Dune is narrated by Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, Simon Vance and a cast of others. At first it seemed like a good idea to have each character in the book have a unique voice. Unfortunately, from the way the book sounds, each narrator performs in a different studio setting. How do I know? Because it sounds that way. The dialogue sounds stilted, jerky and downright amateurish. Everyone of the characters in the prequels is played by Scott Brick. And they are far superior recordings. Scott Brick’s character dialogues are fluid, of the same ambience and just don’t sound dated like the original.
To continue about the prequels, they have an added depth to them. The characters are more fully fleshed out. The separate and familial relationships among all the characters are more fully explored. I realize this in not in accord with some other reviewers who sometimes seemed to find conflict with the original material. On the contrary, I found mostly only continuity that added to and enriched the original.
In the prequels we learn how Paul Atreides becomes the product of the generations of genetic “engineering” (selective breeding) of the Bene Gesserit to obtain the Kwisatz Haderach. And we learn of the backgrounds of all the other major players: Baron Harkonnen and his maniacal family, Emperor Shaddam and his, Jessica, Rev Mother Mohiam and a whole lot of background on the other Bene Gesserit “witches.” There was a mystical context in the original chronicles but these prequels greatly amplify on that.
The Guild Navigators and their relationship to the spice is mentioned only tangentially in the Original but plays a significant part in the prequels. All the female characters of Dune Prelude play a much more significant role and that too is much to the credit of these authors. It’s always nice to have that balance. We could just go on and on but why spoil it. Hopefully, I’m communicating my sense of excitement about the Prelude to Dune Trilogy. I think that each “House” installment was just excellent and the old man would have been proud of his son and his coauthor. If you’re a fan of the Dune Chronicles, you owe it to yourself to read the “House Trilogy.”
26 of 29 people found this review helpful