I really wanted to like this book, being a huge Dune fan (I've read Dune at least four times now, and I'm sure I'll read it again) but this book was painful. Still, despite the amaturish writing and obvious plotting, it's still good to learn more about the universe of Dune.
A few bits stood out -- the writing appears not to be able to think of alternative phrasing, so the book is extremely repetitive. This might not be as annoying in written form, but after you hear the phrase "thinking machines" fifty times in an audio book, you want to scream at the author to exert a few neurons. There's no reason that the cyborgs would make their single most vulnerable component easily externally accessible in combat -- they're suppose to be smart, not suicidal. And the number of "coincidences" that occur is absurd -- most of the important inventions of the next 10,000 years occur during a few years, because the author wanted to be able to write about the origin of various interesting plot devices. To me, it looked like the editor decided that it didn't matter what they printed -- if it said "Dune" and "Herbert" on it, people would buy it.
And, damn them, it worked on me.
I've heard this album almost every night since I bought it from Audible. It's a perfect mix of fun and relaxation. The kids insist on us playing it every night, and we (parents) enjoy the stories and songs as much as they do. Most books that Audible sells are long, but you only listen to them once. These stories are perhaps an hour long, but if you have kids (or are very silly) you'll listen to this over and over again.
The writing is still nowhere near as good as the real Dune books, and the phrasing is annoyingly repetitive. Still, Dune is a wonderful thing, and even a so-so Dune book is worth listening to while stuck in a subway.
To elaborate on the repetition: once the author hits on a phrase for a thing, he uses that same phrase mechanically for hundreds of pages. For example, this book is about the war between humanity and the AI's, which are referred to hundreds of times as "Thinking Machines" -- it would have read much more naturally if the author had put a little more effort into his writing.
To be fair, the book has a lot of interesting things going for it. The humans aren't the generic "good guys" that they could have been -- in the midst of a war to save humanity from being crushed by the "Thinking Machines" the humans are corrupt, greedy, cruel and self-destructive and also clever, dedicated, and noble. So it's not as two-dimensional as the earlier faux-Dune books.
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