Title: Chapterhouse Dune
Author: Frank Herbert
Page Count/Review Word Count: 476
It was bound to happen eventually, just because I’ve been reading so many of the Dune books, but I’ve finally reached one where I wasn’t particularly into it. In fact, after a few books in a row where it was a pleasure from start to finish, this one mostly dragged, a bit like the part in the original Dune where they spend about 200 pages just wandering around in the desert.
Considering that this is the end of the original run of Dune books that Herbert himself worked on, I can’t help feeling as though it ended with a whimper as opposed to a bang, and I can’t really imagine the next books being particularly gripping for me. I suppose it depends how they’re handled, and it certainly felt as though some sort of change was needed.
I think part of the reason for that is that so much time passes between each of the different novels. To begin with, that was an advantage because it allowed it to feel more epic. By this point, though, it just sort of feels pointless in getting invested in any of the characters because they’re unlikely to still be around if another huge chunk of time is going to pass and leave them all dead by the time that you return to them.
That should place more of an emphasis on the action and the plot, but then the plot wasn’t particularly gripping either because it was more about expanding the lore than on action. I’m not sure whether it was deliberate or not, and I guess it’s impossible to know because Herbert died, but it felt as though Arrakis and the Dune universe itself was on the decline. I’m not sure whether that was deliberate or whether it was just a byproduct of my waning interest.
Funnily enough, as I was reading this, I was sent a message by someone who said that this was the point at which the series started going downhill for them, although they also couldn’t remember whether this came before or after Heretics of Dune. Heretics was a little bit better than this one, but it was certainly the turning point for me when the series started to lose its shine.
So that brings us to the final question of whether I’d recommend this or not, and it’s not an easy question to answer. I guess it really depends how much you’ve been enjoying the series as a whole. If you’ve read through all of the books, reached this point and still want more, it can’t hurt. If you’ve just been forcing yourself through them and aren’t really feeling it, turn back now before it’s too late. You have been warned.