Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dune, the House Trilogy by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

You know, this group of books is way too much material to handle in a single review, but it would be even worse if I had to come up with separate reviews for Dune: House Harkonnen, Dune: House Atreides and Dune: House Corrino, so we'll just deal with it all as we may. Andy Rooney used to have a spiel for Sixty Minutes that began, "Didja ever wonder?" With that in mind:

Didja ever wonder how Jessica, the Bene Gesseret, ended up married to Duke Leto? Why Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck hated the Harkonnens so badly? Why everyone hated the Tleilaxu so much? What the heck, Kynes, the Imperial planetologist, was doing on Arrakis in the first place? How the Landsraad Council governed? What's the scoop with Beast Rabban and Feyd, and why was Baron Harkonnen such a fat pig?

Well, the answer to these and many other questions can be found by reading this trilogy, a set of prequels to Dune.

Quite some time ago, I read a book called The Garbage Chronicles, by Brian Herbert, and it WAS - garbage. So I was understandably reluctant to pick these up, but since I found copies of all three at the local library, I couldn't go too far wrong. Well, either time has honed Brian's skills, or the partnership with Anderson made him a more cogent and coherent storyteller, but this trilogy was quite engrossing.

Unfortunately, the amount of separate story lines that one has to follow through the books can make reading them frustrating at times, especially if, like me, you dislike jumping around from plot to plot and place to place. But, as the tension slowly builds throughout the series, each separate element adds the missing pieces to the puzzle, until you fully comprehend the situation extant in Dune.

Often brutal, highly imaginative, and good for both gasps and guffaws, I recommend these books highly.

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Jessica said...

I've been quite leary of picking these Dune novels up, precisely because I had doubts about Brian Herbert's writing chops. The original Dune captivated me, so I wasn't willing to read garbage writing to get more of the world/universe. I might actually look them up, now.

Tracy said...

Hey Jon, I thought Jessica and Duke Leto were NOT married. But it's been a long time since I've read Dune and my most recent Dune experience was a re-run of the movie.

Jon said...

Tracy, my memory's not so good, either. Jessica may have merely been his concubine, more like an "assignment" than a marriage, tho I believe she came to love him in the end.