Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain

Dune was on my reading list for this year, read about my fantasy journey here. Dune was nothing like I expected. How I slipped this science fiction piece into my fantasy list is beyond me.

I highly recommend the dramatized reading on Audible, read by: Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Evan Morton, Simon Vance, Ilyana Kadushin, Byron Jennings, David R. Gordon, Jason Culp, Kent Broadhurst, Oliver Wyman, Patricia Kilgarriff, Scott Sowers. It’s a full cast and worth every minute of listening. I know this version is not considered to be the best, but it adds fun to the story.


Set on the desert plant Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending the life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

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My Thoughts

I don’t know. I wanted to love this book, but Dune is hard as hell to read. I was very confused within the first few chapters, gave up, and watched the old movie. With the movie and a few articles to pave the way, I was able to finish Dune. I wanted to love Dune, but I did not. Without the audiobook, there is no way I would have finished it. I do not see the appeal of this famous series. I am disappointed I feel this way, but like The Way of Kings, Dune and I are not meant to be.

My simplest description of Dune is the rise of Paul Atreides as the Muad’Dib. Hold on to that thought, because Herbert has crafted a complex universe in which Dune takes place. After reading, I found this video from Quinn’s Ideas that helped my feeble mind understand what I read. I highly recommend the Youtube channel for all of your Dune needs and questions.

Before you judge me harshly for not loving this classic science fiction piece, know that my favorite part of Dune was the worms. I waited for 600+ pages for worm attacks, mentions of worms, and hope for more worm encounters. Why? So much happened, yet nothing, but lots of things…I am not exactly sure what happened. Again, I really wanted to love this book. But instead, found myself enjoying the full cast reading over the story itself.

Dune is not my typical read. I was interested in reading Dune because of its fame and the release of the new movie. Dune has had a huge influence, but I do not know if it is worth it. The writing style is hard to tackle as well as the plot. I listened to Dune for months, a chapter or two in the evenings. I enjoyed the audiobook and story as a whole, but Dune is a lot to take in. Personally, more effort than it is worth. I am here to tell you Dune is not for everyone. It is a dense read (see a preview below).

Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man

Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans as it is of gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who so survive.

Dune is a political science fiction piece and probably falls into many more categories that I did not pick up on. Herbert crafts a brilliant world rich with culture and a well-developed political system. I respect world-building but found myself wondering what was happening. Honestly, I kept listening for the entertainment of the audiobook and the hope of more worms. By the end of the book, I had a better understanding of what had taken place but felt as if the ending was flat.

Dune is a foundation piece in the science fiction world. Does that mean you have to read it and love it to appreciate what Herbert build? Nope. Overall, Dune is interesting but too complex for this casual reader.

Should you read Dune?

You should definitely LISTEN to Dune. The audio version of Dune is amazing, due to the intense nature of Herbert’s story I think reading a hard copy is a lot to take on.

The Dune movie releases today October 22 in theaters and streaming on HBOmax. If anything, watch the movie! I am hoping it is an awesome adaptation. I will watch the movie and any movies that follow but will not continue to read the series.

One Comment

  1. Dennis Mitton

    I’ll leave a dissenting opinion. I felt just like you about the old Dune movie. From the ’80s? I wanted to like it, but couldn’t figure is out. Someone told me to read the book first. Get through it, and then watch the movie and I’ll see that both the movie AND the book are great. I did and they are. But it is a hard book, kind of like Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: If you can get through the first 50 pages of Russian names then the rest is readable.

    Liked by 1 person

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