So much plot expansion happens in this installment of the Dune series, and it's amazing. Truly a case of plans within plans, feints within feints.
I wish the narration had been kept in the same format as the first book because there were so many more characters and events in this sequel that the changes in voices for narration became a little muddy. Other than that, this was expertly read/performed.
Dune was wonderful. if you can forgive a terrible book 2 because book 1 was fantastic, then this is for you.
Story has no heart. In Dune, characters developed depth as the story progressed around them. In Dune messiah Paul sits in his throne room as a crappy story is narrated to you. There is no story that unfolds around that action of the characters. For example, The Fremen jihad is unleashed across the universe. Oh how awful. Yet there are no good storytelling examples. There is no plot that makes you feel there is a jihad. You just have to believe there is an awful jihad.This book is full of this. You are told about things but never feel it. Imagine if in Dune all that was said about Baron Harkonnen was that he is a very bad man who is evil. You don't feel it. Dune was good because you knew Baron Harkonnen was evil by a storyline that showed he was evil.
Much of Herbert's description of prescience is confusing and gets you lost. Which I think is the point. You can understand the position Paul is in and understand how he feels like a slave to his own life. Definitely worth the read.
The first installlment of Frank Herbert's Dune Saga (the original saga) is, as has been duly noted by previous reviewers, a sci-fi classic. Dune Messiah, being a sequel, lacks the introductory appeal of the first one, however rendering a more profound view of the universe created by the author throughout the whole series. It is not as action driven as the first but it is intellectually provocative as well as theologically and philosohpically moving. Having said that, I must stress that the narration is terrible. Honestly, this is not a kids' story, there was no need to disturb the essence of the characters inflicting them with ludicrous accents and mannerisms, to the point where it even tends to picture the story as if it was taking place somewhere in the Middle East when it actually takes place a few millenia away from this time and space.
I listened to this book right after finishing Dune, which I liked a lot. Sadly, I found this book to be a letdown on two important fronts. Firstly, the plot was ultra-boring. I struggled to stick with it until the end, continually hoping that something exciting or interesting would happen, but it never did.
Secondly, the narration used a different style than in Dune. In Dune, Simon Vance was the primary narrator, and other characters were acted by different narrators. I'm a big fan of Vance and the division of roles in Dune worked well. In this book, however, the narrators took turns reading. So, for example, Vance would read for a while non-stop doing every character, then the next narrator would take over. For me, this style of narration didn't work quite as well. Every time the narrator would change, I noticed it and it took me a while to get used to how the new narrator played each character. It ended up being a distraction. Too bad.
The reading of the story is good, but the story itself is kinda bland. Whereas the first book had a lot more battles and excitement, this is more about politics and back room deals than exciting battles. Even the assassination plot is so drawn out there's rarely any excitement.
If this review feels negative it is because I don't feel the need to point out all the amazing things about F. Herbert or the Dune series as you probably discovered that in the first book. While I enjoyed this book and am glad I listened to it, it was only about 1/2 as fun as its predecessor. I found myself tired of the constant speaking of prescience, lost in increasingly complex philosophy, and it felt like there was a metaphor or 5 in every paragraph. No Jessica, no Gurney, barely any Stilgar, mostly just Paul and Alia, with a few new but stiff characters. Again, it is an amazing series, but I felt like I had to listen to this one to get to the hopefully more exciting books.
This book suffers from the power creep in the last one. Our hero is overpowered and we don't know how to have interesting adventures with him anymore... the only thing to do is sit around and pontificate, and wait for the plot to somehow get rid of Paul. The book mostly consists of talking, and talking about talking, and vague magic powers stuff. Pretty weak.
High hopes for the next one though.