Maybe I'm in the minority here but I listened to this directly after Dune, and then Dune Messiah after this and really puts things into perspective. Pretty good, much more adult and dark than the other dune novels yet I still enjoyed it.
This is a great story that ranks 10 on a scale of 1-10 right next to the Last Days of Krypton, also by Kevin J. Anderson. My introduction to Dune was the 1984 movie which always baffled me. Then the revamped mini series a few years ago along with Children of Dune. I would say read Paul of Dune first and then go back to House Atriedes, House Harkonen and finally House Corrino.
The repercussions of Paul's triumph over Emperor Corrino. The Fremen are an uncontrollable monster in the making. They rampage through the empire solidifying Paul's rule as new emperor. Also his travels back to Calidan and his attempts t re-establish his relationship as Duke. Memories of Gurneys life and his new role as Paul's right hand as he attempts to control the Fremen zealots during water training is very insightful. Also Count Fenring skulking about in the peripheral is also intriguing.
Scott Brick masterfully weaves the story together, his voice captures the essence of each page of dialogue and overall storytelling.
I was skeptical of this series at first and debated listening to one. Dune was one of the best books I've ever read but the subsequent volumes lost something. Paul of Dune comes very close to the original Dune. Perhaps its the characters and the connection to the first book, but regardless I was more enthralled in this story than most of the original series.
When it comes to audiobooks, there are two essential parts - first, that the book be a good book; and second, that the narrator is a good one. I made the mistake of buying this on the merits of the book, and didn't check the narrator.
The narrator, Scott Brick, is dreadful. After I bought this, I lasted about 5 minutes before his singsong reading with dramatic emphasis on words that don't deserve it drove me to distraction. Then I realized that I had bought one of his readings before (Darwin's Children - also lousy). The narrator disappointed several of that recording's reviewers, several describing his reading as overly melodramatic on every sentence. Every. Single. Sentence.
Brick has 393 books listed on Audible, and it seems to me that this is part of the problem. I suspect that every read he does is the first time he has seen the text, and although he is trying to do a dramatic reading, he doesn't know how the current sentence is going to end, let alone how it connects to the next one. I think he's reading the words, but not the story. It's like watching a soap opera with the actors reading off teleprompters because the scripts weren't ready for them to read ahead of time.
It's a shame, really. I learned my lesson on this one and now check the narrator and listen to the sample on every book I am considering. It means, however, that some very good-sounding books (e.g., the Quantum Thief) are now ruined for audio listening - I doubt very much that Audible will re-record them with a competent reader. I do know that were I an author, I would be devastated to find out he was reading my book.