Book Review: “Dune” by Frank Herbert This book all started with the family Atreides landing on planet Arrakis, commonly known as Dune. The planet Dune was the centre of the universe due to its immense amounts of spice. This spice is greatly needed for all planets as fuel and for raw materials. The family Atreides were asked by Emperor himself to go and mine the spice on the planet. Their greatest enemy the Harkonnen’s, were also on Dune.
These two families mining the precious spice on the same planet would lead to great troubles and wars. Soon after that, I was introduced to a very brave and insightful young man. The young man is Paul Atreides. Paul is medium height with short, black hair. His mother Jessica is a Bene Gesserit that means she knows the “weirding way.” This means Jessica is trained to kill and is also trained as a mind reader.
She is very tall and beautiful and is always concerned with the actions of Paul, the future ruler of the galaxy. Jessica’s teacher, the Reverend Mother heard of Paul and thought that he might be the great leader that the prophets told of. The Reverend Mother came to Dune and tested Paul to see if this was so. Paul underwent great pain and suffering but passed the tests with the highest reverence. Duke Leto, Paul’s father now came into the picture. He was the leader of the Atreides Family.
He seemed very established and perceptive. The Atreides family represented good and honesty while their enemies, the Harkonnen’s, were ruthless killers. The Harkonnen home planet, Gedi Prime was very desolate and dark. It represented the immorality and darkness within the Harkonnens. Their leader Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was very obese and inhuman. He killed his own slaves for fun and hated the Atreides with a passion. He hated their peaceful and honest ways. Most of all he despised their coming to Dune. This Harkonnen leader appeared the typical tyrant leader. Vladimir Harkonnen’s most trusted solider Feyd-Rautha was also like him except his physical appearance was that of ideal shape and form. Back at the Atreides base more characters are introduced to me. They are Duncan Idaho who was the personal trainer for Paul Atreides, Dr. Yeuh who was a good friend of the Duke and later was found out to be a traitor, and Thufir Hawat the security officer of the base. All these men seemed greatly trusted in the Atreides family. They taught Paul much about fighting and protecting himself from his enemies. These men along with Paul’s mother and father helped prepare him for the coming hardships ahead. A group of people named the Fremen also were presented. They were people who lived in the desert within the forbidden zone. The forbidden zone was where no one would ever travel. It was said that there are huge masses of Fremen there along with giant sandworms reaching a length of four hundred and fifty meters. The Fremen harvested spice, lived in the cities and in underground cities. Their eyes were bright blue on blue due to the saturation of the spice which changed their colour. The beginning of this book was very interesting and told me much about each characters background and personality. I knew there was something special about Paul and his mother right from the start just by how the author described them. The family Atreides was very strong and even feared by the Emperor himself because he knew that Paul was the prophet who was destined to stop all violence, hunger, spice mining, armies and fighting. He was to bring a new era along with his leadership. This frightened the Emperor that forced him to act against the Atreides family. The Harkonnen’s seemed a bit too uninteresting and average to me. They were evil and hated all that was good. The author should of added a bit more “spice” to their characters. This would of made the story more enjoyable. Otherwise, this science fiction novel is like it says on the cover, “A world beyond your experience, beyond your imagination.” The emperor sent the Atreides to Dune for one purpose only. Their destruction. He joined forces with the Harkonnens and attacked the Atreides. The Harkonnen spy, Dr. Yeuh turned off the defence’s of the base that resulted in the defeat of the Atreides. All were killed except Jessica, Paul and Duncan Idaho. They managed to escape in a spice mining ship deep into the desert, in the middle of the forbidden zone. The forbidden zone was very desolate and all you could see was sand dunes and rock piles. This place was to be inhabited by the Fremen. Paul and Jessica were amazed when they found an underground cavern that had thousands of Fremen in it. These Fremen looked strong and experienced. Their bright blue eyes stood out like the moon at night. I knew that these Fremen would play a big part in the book. It was said that a man would come to lead them out of the caves and they thought this was Paul by how he knew their traditions. Paul began to grow more powerful with each passing day. This part was very interesting because I was shown how Paul has grown and how his dreams were coming to reality. The Fremen also developed because they seemed amused, but simultaneously fearful of Jessica and Paul. These two knew the weirding way and the Fremen wanted to learn it in preparation for battle. Paul and Jessica started to teach the Fremen the “weirding way” so they could help fight against the Harkonnens and the Emperor. Paul now is also showing sings of a mature and experienced man. The novel now is progressing at a very fast pace because Paul and Jessica are training the Fremen, planning their revenge on the Harkonnens and their growth as characters in the novel. Although I knew that Paul was going to defeat the Harkonnens without finishing the book, the plot still was very captivating. I liked how the author described the feelings and pictures of different scenes. He really went into depth about the emotions of the character like whenever Jessica thinks about how Paul is maturing at an astonishing speed. Paul Atreides started to gain more power and fear throughout the planet. The Emperor knew Paul would soon be unstoppable so he must try to stop him. By the author making the Emperor fear Paul Atreides, it shows that even one of the most powerful and influential man in the universe is afraid of him. This shows that if the Emperor is afraid of Paul then many more would also be. Paul has already won half the battle by putting fear into the hearts of his enemies. After all the Fremen were trained and ready for battle, they call upon their most powerful friend; the sandworms of Dune. These massive creatures live throughout all the sand dunes. The sandworms were very well described and added imagination and originality in the book. The worms combined with the Fremen’s training would prove to be an unstoppable match. Sandworms were used as a form of transportation for Paul’s army. Since they are so large, many people could fit onto them. Armies would be crushed by their weight and would have great disadvantages from the ground which was a great advantage to the Fremen. No force could stop or even match their extraordinary power and all would be punished for the unfair deaths of the Atreides family. Blood would soon flow and Paul’s revenge would be fulfilled. To call upon the sandworms, a special tool named a thumper would be used. These machines would send large vibrations into the ground. Since sandworms can sense vibrations easily and are attracted to them, they would come. Once they have arrived, ropes are thrown onto the sandworms and the men climb on top of it. By making the sandworms sensitive to sounds and vibrations, people other then the Fremen are fearful to walk deep into the desert because they know the worms hear everything. This is a natural protection for the Fremen because the Harkonnens will never travel into the forbidden zone to attack. The final battle was approaching. All of Paul’s men were ready and riding to meet the Harkonnen’s and the Emperors legions of soldiers. Once at the battle field, the giant worms spread open their mouths to stop enemy fire and Paul’s men got the first attack. Much excitement and fighting were happening here so this part was worth reading the story. Much detail was put into the final fighting scene that made things more vivid and real. There were feelings of tension and fear. So much was happening in so little time. This final battle scene was the climax of the story. All of Paul’s dreams and training paid off by their victory over the Harkonnens. Now he can rebuild the empire to be what he was destined to make it. Once victory was achieved, Paul made rain clouds appear and rain poured onto the dry sands. All were amazed by his powers and no on ever questioned him or his decisions again. Paul was now the almighty ruler. In making a story get the readers appreciation the author must provide the following essentials; * Creativity * Action and adventure * Love and romance * Strong story line (opening, body and closing) The author Frank Herbert provided all these that made the story interesting to me. Frank Herbert’s imagination made the sandworms become lively and the mystic powers of Paul come into perspective. Paul fell on love with a beautiful young Fremen woman. This added romance made Paul work harder to free Arrakis of the wicked Harkonnens. Much extra background information given through the book made me understand the characters and their emotions with more comprehension. There were many themes in ‘Dune’ such as “you shall get your just deserves.” This means that what you have done to others shall be done back to you in full. The Harkonnens army combined with the Emperors attacked and beat the Atreides. Paul in turn strikes back with brute force that many have not seen throughout their existence. The Harkonnens and the Emperor were annihilated and Paul’s vengeance was paid. I must say that this science fiction book did create a sense of reality meaning that this situation could happen in the future. A boy or girl born in the future who is destined to be the almighty ruler. He/she will guide us out of depression and into a new era of peace and prosperity. Their may be truth to this story and one day a fight between good and evil may come to reality. Dune is the typical ‘Good guys vs. Bad guys’ theme. The Atreides are at war with the Harkonnens and the good always win (as you already know.) Although this plot is really used too much Frank Herbert did an excellent job to disguise this fact. He blended this into a great story line of action packed adventure and dreams of the future.