Dune is difficult to grasp at first and requires patience, even for an avid sci-fi fan like myself. Here's the trick to stories like this one: don't try too hard. You won't understand everything at first, but that's ok. Just keep reading. Everything will become clear soon.
Dune is a superb story and rightfully deserves praise. The setting is brilliant: the planet and its inhabitants are intricate and arcane. You can feel the sand in your shoes and your lips cracked with thirst. The characters are well rounded and the spice (and its effect) is truly creative.
Dune does have a few flaws. For one, Herbert's writing is a bit unpolished. One of his bad habits is the lack of a consistent viewpoint. Within one section, we may jump from Paul's perspective, to Jessica, back to Paul, and then into third-person omniscient for a bit of narrative. It is awkward and amateurish. The plot is detailed and well-paced and my only quarrel with it is that Paul's over-confidence and detachment made the ending feel somewhat anti-climactic. It certainly seems set up for a sequel (and there are many).
A lot of reviewers have complained about the narration but don't let this deter you. Most of the the story is read solely by Simon Vance (who, by the way, is an excellent narrator). Yet, sometimes, and without any noticable pattern, the dialogue is read by a variety of narrators with Vance only doing the narrative. I have no idea why it was done this way and it is indeed inconsistent. Once you learn to expect this, it isn't that bad. It certainly isn't as terrible as some reviewers are claiming it to be. Regardless, all of the narrators are talented and they make easy work of the complex pronunciation and accents. Also, the background sounds and music were excellent and they really added great effect. I absolutely loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. It is a unique and enjoyable production.
The book series were great, enjoyed the film but this audio presentation of the book is fantastic. if you have read the book then I can't believe you won't enjoy this. The way its read and the atmosphere created when listening really brings it to life. Hope the rest of the series come out on audible soon.
The story itself is fantastic. Deservedly hailed as one of the greatest stories ever told, sci-fi or otherwise. A fully realized and richly detailed alternate universe filled with science, religion and political intrigue. A must read.
Unfortunately, the audio recording does not fulfill expectations. While far better than the original single reader audiobook (be glad you didn't spend 25 hours listening to THAT) the 2007 version is marred by the bizarre decision to have each reader read a chapter or section rather than have each reader read a character's part throughout the book. In other words, the voices for each character change throughout the book!!! Why? Baron Harkkonen's voice suffers the most. At one point it sounds like Michael Clark Duncan is voicing him and others it sounds like a sleepy Orson Welles.
It's a shame that one of the greatest books ever written has never received a proper translation into another medium. David Lynch's movie was stylistically and visually fulfilling, but the story edited and changed dramatically. The Sci-Fi channel's 3 part miniseries held more closely to the original plot, but the budget and casting left alot to be desired. The original 1997 audiobook was read in a horrible monotone and finally the 2007 version's inconsistent readers. Hopefully someday Dune will receive a treatment that it deserves.
I liked the book and would recommend it if you like more politics and ideals driven books but the main thing I wanted to address was the audio. Alot of people seem to have issues with it and I will admit that the voices may be a little over dramatic but in general its pretty straight forward. One person narrates the quotes at the beginning of each chapter and then the main narrator, Simon Vance covers most of the rest except for things specifically in quotations which are divided by character and voiced by different narrators. Since this does not include internal thoughts that the characters aren't represented as actually saying and Vance does imbue some character related "voicing" to the thoughts as would normally be done in a single reader rendition it does somewhat seem to lead to some of the main characters having 2 sometimes distict "voices" but it does make sense and it really isn't that difficult to follow. I doubt I would have noticed it if I hadn't read the reviews of everyone complaining about it. I guess basically my point is not to let the complaints scare you away from a good book.
I would have preferred it if this was presented by a single talented reader narrating the book. I was however willing to accept what the previews state was done, a multiple reader version with different readers "performing" individual characters.
Unfortunately what is actually delivered is a confusing third option, where sometimes you get a single reader, and other times (seemingly at random) actors read specific characters. This disjointed production method causes nothing but distraction and prevents the listener from full immersion in the story. I could only speculate on why this inconsistent pattern is followed, but whatever the reason, the result is a less than stellar product.
In addition, none of the actors really nails their respective parts. In fact, some are so distractingly bad (Piter for example) they cross over into embarrassing and cartoonish.
The Dune Saga remains one of, if not my favorite books, but I am sorry to say that this production just does not deliver.
I first read my now well-worn paperback copy of Dune in middle school and became a lifetime Frank Herbert fan. I've seen the movie and mini-series adaptations as well. This first book in his now classic series is still my favorite, and I found this multi-reader adaptation satisfying. While there were places in the narrative that I might have wished were interpreted differently, overall the characters were presented as individuals, the cultures of Caladan, Geidi Prime, and Arrakis were explicated, the rivalry between the Atriedes and the Harkonnens was developed, and the climax on Arrakis was appropriately intense. If you like Frank Herbert and love "Dune," I think you will enjoy this audio book.
Not sure why they decided to have both a narrator reading lengthy sections, then inserting actors speaking parts in odd places. I would have preferred they had stuck to one or the other, the switching was distracting, but not enough to make me stop listening. Otherwise it enjoyable, a good recording and the main narrator that you hear the bulk of the time was good. I kept wishing Scott Brick had done the whole thing though, instead of just Stilgar's voice here and there. Love the book, I've read it at least a dozen times, it was fun as always to hear it performed. I always catch something I missed when reading.
I first read Dune the regular way in 1979, watched the 1984 movies and the SyFy minis 2000/2003. I started reading it again in 2006. I found this audio version even better than the reading and watching.
The actors/readers lend dimension to the scenes and characters that for me are missing from my personal reading of the book, the two versions of the 1984 movie and the various SyFy mini series.
The epigraphs by Princess Irulan are great as is the music that is featured at cetain times throughout the work.
Both my understanding and imagination are much better now making the listening a much better experience. I listen on two diff PMDs and a docking appliance with good speakers - a must in my opinion if you're not on the road.
Dune is a great story to be told and in the case of this version the story is told in a great way!
It is simply excellent - again.
I'm a big Heinlein fan and the was my first Herbert "read", definitly won't be my last!. My throat is still dry after experiencing the world he creates. I don't usually care for "produced" stories with sound effects, background music, and multiple actors reading. Your mind's vision and interpretation of the characters and scenes changes to that of the director. Dune, however, pulled it off nicely. Like a well acted movie, these voices became the characters. Be warned though, the book switches back and forth between multiple actors and a single reader, I liken this to watching a movie where the main actor changes with every scene, very hard to grasp at first and I'm not sure why they did it. Should have been one reader or multiple readers, but not combined.
Dune is a classic of science fiction - relying on character development and an intriguing plot instead of techno-magic to capture the reader. So the book is outstanding. The reading of the book is also very well done. The problem was in the production (as others have mentioned) - it switches between a traditional audio book (one person reading everything) and a dramatization (different actors reading different characters) without rhyme or reason. The Baron Harkonen is read most often by a talented, deep voiced actor, however sometimes in the next chapter or page the narrator takes over. It can be very confusing (especially if you never read the book). Unfortunately this problem continues on in Dune Messiah, the second book in the series. One really has to wonder: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?