It’s called one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time, though I believe a more proper designation would be a mix of fantasy, drama, and political thriller. Dune takes place in a feudal space-travelling society far in the future, run on the desire and necessity of the spice melange. The intertwinings of the various Royal Houses collide with their personal desires to take control of power. There’s definitely a large barrage of characters in this novel–in a respect, it felt kind of like Game of Thrones–though to be fair the important ones were developed to an extent that was appropriate. I enjoyed how Frank Herbert didn’t mind killing off several of the characters I really enjoyed in certain times to emphasize the sacrifices necessary for the undertakings that other characters would need to pursue. It gave the story a sense of realism that I think is often shied away from in other novels.
The heavy sense of time that’s shown by the book is also done well, although I concede that maybe that’s just affected more by the way I think nowadays. By the time I got to the end of the novel, thinking back to the beginning definitely felt as if I’d seen the change of Paul Atreides throughout the past 6 years of his life, and, in particular, his loss of naivete. By the end of the novel, I’m rather unsure of what his intentions are as well–someone who once seemed a fair and just ruler now attempts to sabotage power for essentially vengeance purposes. Certain things could have been explained better, but I think the character of the book stands.
The forage into sci-fi territory is beautifully executed. The planet’s ecology, as its revealed throughout the book, is interesting, though certain themes aren’t fully fleshed out. Similarly, the stillsuits and ornithopters seem like exciting creations that carried a tone of true sci-fi with them.
I think that I just didn’t ‘get’ into the novel the entire time that I read it. It wasn’t something that I felt completely immersed into, although it did have my attention (for the most part) at all times. It might have been due to a lack of action, though that’s more something on my part rather than book. I enjoyed the world that was set up in the book and sense of flowing time, which were definitely some of the key ideas that Herbert wanted to convey. People seem to recommend the sequels to truly understand the book. I’m a bit apprehensive of that, but I might return to it in the future. What I think of Dune definitely depends on how the sequels pan out.