This review originally appeared on WorldOfJoel.com
One of the books that have been on my "to-read" list the longest is Frank Herbert's, Dune. If I look at my GoodReads account I can see that there are five, 5-star reviews, and one, 4-star review for the book. That universal praise from my circle of reading friends is pretty unheard of. And so I tip toed into Dune not necessarily expecting, but hoping beyond hope that this was going to be great science fiction.
And sadly for me, it was anything but. Dune takes place on a desolate planet, aptly called Dune, and really that's by far the most interesting part of the book. Herbert goes to great lengths to explain the world, its inner-working, and the tremendous struggle to survive on the planet. He does a phenomenal job of making that world come alive and one that feels real. But sadly that's such a small part of Dune.
Everything else in Dune is bogged down by insanely overwrought exposition. The characters come off flat. The overarching plot is over complicated and underwritten. There's a lot of dialogue in Dune and yet none of it really means much of anything. There's this grand conflict that I'm guessing fans of the book got worked up about, but for me, it left me numb. There was just nothing in Dune that hooked me. It's a long book, and usually, with books of this length it can take a while for the characters to settle in, but that just never happens in Dune.
I think my biggest gripe with Dune is how it skips anything that could be conceived as the interesting parts of the book. Often times the book will lead you to a big conflict and then jump ahead in time and then explain over time what happened. It's a neat trick if used once, but it's used over and over again and each time it's less impactful. Had I not been reading Dune for Gamers Read I would have given up on it. It never gripped me, never made me interested, and so I'm sad to say that Dune for me was not the epic that everyone made it out to be.
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