“Paul of Dune” by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Paul_of_Dune_coverI had the benefit of reading many negative reviews about this book before I decided to read it. My expectations were so low that I found myself enjoying it far more than I’d expected. To be clear, this book is not high literature. It’s not nearly as deep or rich as any of Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. Nevertheless, it provides a fun and even sometimes interesting backstory for Paul Atreides.

The book has two interwoven parts, one set before and one set after the events of Dune. The chapters set before are less interesting and resemble the more space operatic aspects of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s Houses of Dune Trilogy. Also, there were several a few pointless contradictions, most notably the fact that we see Paul (yet again) traveling off Caladan before the events of Dune (Frank Herbert’s original novel clearly states Paul had never been off world).

However, the scenes set after Dune held my interest. I thought the authors actually did a decent job balancing the tyrannical aspects of Paul’s reign with his inner emotional turmoil. While not portrayed particularly subtly, it’s a fascinating dynamic. We also get further character development for Stilgar, Gurney, and Irulan. I also appreciated the subplot with Count Fenring. I always felt Dune hadn’t sufficiently explored his character and was glad to see his story finally resolved.

Does this book really add much to your understanding of Paul Atreides? Not really. Most of the important plot points are told or strongly implied in Dune Messiah. However, if you want to see more of Dune during the period after Dune and before Dune Messiah, those parts of the book at least hold some promise. Just go in with your expectations low.

My journey through Dune continues next week with Winds of Dune

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3 thoughts on ““Paul of Dune” by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

  1. Just as an fyi, you are reviewing Paul of Dune but state at the end that your next read will be Paul of Dune.

    My expectations were pretty low by the time I got to this but I don’t think they were low enough. Glad you got some good out of this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for catching that. It should be “Winds of Dune.” Just corrected it.

      I’m not sure if low expectations are a blessing or a form of soft bigotry. I’m probably giving the authors the benefit of the doubt in intellectualizing the contradictions between Frank Herbert’s Dune and their books. It could very well be that they made a mistake and are just covering their tracks. Still, I do like the idea of treating the original Dune almost as an epistolary text with unreliable narrators.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve refrained from my usual vitriol, for the most part, in regards to these authors, so I’d go with you’re really giving the authors the benefit of the doubt 🙂

        Like

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