Frank Herbert must have been very unhappy when he wrote this. I felt throughout most of the book that the preceding monumental work, Dune, was ultimately pointless and the universe would've been better off if most of the characters had all killed themselves. That sounds harsh, but Herbert tries to create a scenario in which Paul Muad'dib is basically powerless to prevent his life from being swept up in a devastating jihad, despite the fact that he is the Emperor and messiah giving out the orders. Planets are sterilized, billions upon billions of people are killed--how can I feel any empathy for these characters, either Paul himself or the ones who just stood by and said nothing? There are even a few points in the book that feel like bad Star Trek episodes: ten thousand years of history and Paul has Stilgar studying Genghis Khan and Hitler as models of how to kill (further increasing my disgust for this plot). In fact, I think there was an episode like that.
I love the detailed universe and characters that were created in Dune, but this book ruins all of it. I've heard that Children of Dune is better, and I may still give that a try. As for the performance, on the whole it's good, but there are several times where the readers mispronounce words. I don't mean Dune-related terms; I mean English words. And that rankles me to no end, because it means no one in the production stepped up to correct these mistakes or none of them were smart enough to know they were mispronounced. Ergh.
The book: Surprisingly well-written. I was expecting a typical fantasy novel--imaginative but struggling to be real literature--however, Game of Thrones is complex and intelligent.
The performance: On the whole he does a decent job and seems to stick to the spirit of the words. But he sounds like an old man, and most of the characters, even the young ones, also sound like old men. One or two of his accents are a little bizarre. One woman from the southern tribes sounds Irish. And the Imp's accent is way overacted--it sounds like a really bad and fake Welsh(?) accent, and is so annoying I cringe every time he speaks. That was a big disappointment, because he's probably my favorite character.
I think these performers need to do a little less "performing" and more good reading.
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