Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you have all your ancestors’ memories, is that better or worse than having them watch you masturbate from the afterlife?
[Warning: this review contains a spoiler for a book released in the 1970s, which obviously requires a warning so that people will be adequately able to navigate to the comments section to complain.]
Paul Atreides’ twin children, Leto and Ghanima, are sick of being treated as children and are ready to rule. Their aunt Alia is possessed by her ancestor, Baron Harkonnen, and wants them dead. House Corrino is plotting to take over Dune, and wants them dead. Some of the Fremen want to return to the old ways, and want them dead. And their grandmother wants to test them with the gom jabbar, which could potentially leave them dead.
This review is being written almost a week after I finished reading it. Usually, a gap of this much between finishing and reviewing suggests I wasn’t left with any strong impressions of the book. And I think Children of Dune certainly falls into the category of “a book I have read”.
The book was entertaining. But it was only adequate.
Dune was a great novel. I felt Dune Messiah was a lesser novel in every way, whilst still enjoyable. Children of Dune was another few steps down the quality ladder.
I think the issue was that Children of Dune didn’t feel as well constructed. What appeared to be major plot points were essentially over before the halfway mark. Another plot point which has been hinted at for three novels essentially came out of left field. [Spoiler] Leto’s transformation really lacks supporting explanation. I mean, I find it really hard to believe that Leto was the first to get high on drugs, pull on a sand trout skin, and realise it gave them superpowers. Herbert introduces this idea as it happens and explains that it was something kids regularly did with their hands for fun. You can’t tell me that no idiot has ever been that wasted and tried it out.[/Spoiler]
Children of Dune was entertaining enough. But I don’t think I’ll read more of the series.