Title: Heretics of Dune
Author: Frank Herbert
Page Count/Review Word Count: 512
I’ve been really enjoying reading the Dune books of late, and this one is no exception. In fact, I’d say that it continued the trend of the Dune books slowly getting better and better. The only thing that was missing from this was that I liked Leto II being the ultimate tyrant, especially because there was a little ambiguity around it and so it wasn’t always clear whether he was a good guy or a bad guy.
Luckily, there are plenty of flashbacks to Leto’s life and death, and I also tend to find that because there’s a huge passage of time between each of the novels in the series, it gave Herbert the capability of advancing the society and taking a look at how that affected things. Sometimes that made a big difference, and sometimes… well, not so much. It turns out that people don’t change too much with time.
That’s the cool thing about Dune. The books are decent sci-fi stories and space operas, but they also take a close look at the human condition, along with everything that entails. It’s actually pretty rare for a “genre” book to be able to do that, and I think that’s why we end up with comparisons between Dune and Game of Thrones. They both have that same kind of epic scope while still being human stories at heart.
Heretics of Dune is cool because we also get some new characters, although they’re offset by some familiar faces like the ghola of Duncan Idaho. I can’t tell you why, but the recurrence of Idahos really does something for me, even though that kind of trope normally devalues death and leaves me feeling nothing. I think it’s to do with the way that Herbert handles it and the way that the different Idahos are kind of the same but also kind of different.
I also thought that it was a lot easier to understand the nuances of the plot in this one, although that might just be because there’s been enough world building through all of the previous books that it’s pretty easy to remember. In fact, I think the most confusing thing about it is that right at the end, it has a page dedicated to Children of Dune. I can’t understand why anyone would have got this far by reading the books out of order.
All in all then, you can consider me officially a fan of Heretics of Dune, and the only main downsides are the fact that it took a whole chunk of time to read and that there’s only one Dune book left that was written by Herbert. Then there are the ones that his son worked on, and I plan to continue working through those if only because I own one of them and so I need to read through the rest of the series if I ever want to tick it off my TBR pile.