One of the granddaddy's of science fiction. If you (like me) aren't a huge sci fi reader, then let me introduce you. Dune is one of the best selling science fiction novels in the history of all time and was written by Frank Herbert in nineteen-sixty five. In the world of Harry Potter and Twilight, that seems like ancient history. So long ago, that while I was reading I kept thinking "Imperial troops and an Emperor? What is this, Star Wars?" and then "really, did we have to revisit the Renesmee character?" or "somebody's been copying Joss Whedon's Firefly." I have to remind myself, Dune came first... if anything, all the later works are copying it, not the other way around.
And it's pretty gripping.
Nothing wrong with the writing here, it is brilliantly written. Paul is a 15 year old kid, not unlike his Percy Jackson/Harry Potter/Artemis Fowl successors. Paul finds himself fighting against an evil Baron on a desert planet where you have to save your own pee to turn back into water, otherwise you die. To have a waterfall would be like being a millionaire, and what is money against the life giving water? To quote the book there are "intrigues within intrigues and feints within feints", if this is the sort of book that birthed the Orson Scott Cards and then the Brandon Sandersons of this world, then I am eternally grateful. You can kind of see the subtleties.
The only thing I didn't fully appreciate was the Narrative Point Of View. I don't think I'm a huge fan of the omniscient viewpoint. Maybe it's because I'm used to main characters having at least a chance of surviving till the end, or maybe I'm just partial to the angsty first person POV... whatever the case, I found the multiple viewpoints in one paragraph to be jarring. That, and I don't think I'm testosterone-infused enough to appreciate all the glory filled dying, especially when I have to experience that dying first hand (and many times). Instead of making me love and trust the characters, I became cynical and detached about one third of the way through, sure that any attempt to lure me into loving anyone was a sly trick to render me devastated two chapters later. Oh omniscient POV, how you flirt with my emotions.
But don't let that deter you, I am decidedly wimpy when it comes to violence. Dune deserves its place as one of the greats and I have no doubt it will become one of Jamie's favorite books in oh... about eight years.