We learn of the betrayal that made mortal enemies of House Atreides and House Harkonnen. Herein are the foundations of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, the Suk Doctors, the Order of Mentats, and the mysteriously altered Navigators of the Spacing Guild. Here is the amazing tale of the Zensunni Wanderers and here, too, is the planet of Arrakis, where traders have discovered the remarkable properties of the spice melange...
To emerge victorious over their brutal adversaries in the Jihad, the human race and its leaders have only the weapons of imagination, compassion, and the capacity for love. It will have to be enough.
©2002 Herbert Limited Partnership; (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
"Offers the kind of intricate plotting and philosophical musings that would make the elder Herbert proud." (Publishers Weekly)
"Required reading for Dune fans." (Library Journal)
I am a huge fan of the original Dune series by Frank Herbert. They were intricately written and exciting to read.
This book has only a touch of the original spark the Frank Herbert books did. I did enjoy, though, reading of the origin of a few of the concepts, people and history that were put forth in the original series. The plot held me for most of the book nearing the completion of the book I was simply waiting for it to be over.
What I thought took away from the novel most of all was the poor narration. Audible and other sources of 'audio books' have usually never failed to impress me with the actors who read from the book. Jim Dale comes to mind as an actor made to read books. The narrator for this book, while having a good voice and being able to properly hear all the words, did not have the same acting abiliities as I have become to expect from audio books. It was the odd time to hear a character have a different voice which made it seem inconsistent to even have any character voices at all.
Overall, this audible would be only for the true die-hard Dune fans who wish to have a glimpse at Frank Herberts ideas prequeling the original series.
As a Dune junkie, I have read the "House" series from Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. So I knew what to expect with the audible version of Butlerian Jihad. A light, plot-dependent read with just enough respect to the original series to satisy my need for more info on the world of Dune. I knew it wouldn't have the depth, subtlety and richness of the original series, and it didn't. It is entertaining enough for a listen, but you'll be left wanting more.
I listened to this book when it first came out, and then again recently, when I had forgotten just how bad it was.
The plot: boring and predictable.
The characters: one-dimensional and annoying.
The writing: stilted and repetitive.
Throughout the whole thing, I could hear the authors shouting "see? See what we did there? We made a reference to a person/place/thing mentioned in the original series! Isn't that *great*?"
I might have been able to overlook some of it if it hadn't been for Scott Brick. I really don't get why everybody loves him so much. He has a melodramatic, overblown style, which is a particularly poor fit for the awful writing in this book.
What bothered me most is that it didn't give me any insight into the original series. Sure, it filled in some backstory, but those details didn't tell us anything important about what happened in the main series or why. That's just a story set in the same universe, not a true prequel.
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.
About the book: This is a prequel written by Frank Herbert's son and another author. Rather than an apocryphal and an exciting extension, it is mediocre science fiction. None of the mystery of the various competing factions of the original series is present, although it attempts to explain the origination of the ban on computers, the long standing hatrid between dynastic houses, of the development of the spacing guild, and everything else in the original book, except for the Emperor. Much of the promised explanations are done as an afterthought, whereas other things tediously repeated over and over and over again. Most of the book is about man vs. machine--a longer and dumbed-down Eric Asimov. Characters are two dimensional and completely predictable. Women are ravishingly beautiful or stunted and deformed. Men are portly and red-faced politicians or tall and handsome. However, there is one loveable drug addict and another character who reminded me of my pompous dissertation advisor--I liked them.
There is one love scene in the book which was embarassing to listen to (alone): I winced. It involved a hunt for deadly wild charging boars, a secluded hot spring, and much ripping of each other's clothes, between the two most important young people of the universe. Think dumbed-down Jackie Collins in space.
The format includes the made up quotes of the original book, but these are really, really bad, and don't seem to have any relationship to the text.
Never-the-less, it is a Dune book, so I listened to the entire thing, and I didn't feel cheated; esp. on a per-word basis.
The Production: It is narrated by a single reader. He attempts to do a few accents and voices, but they are really, really bad. But he had to talk a long time. Some of the voices (esp. of the robots) will make you laugh.
Conclusion: Get it if you are a real Dune buff. I ended up enjoying it because it is so much worse than the real thing that it is funny.
This is ~really, really bad~ science fiction, from writers who are Cuisinarts of mixed metaphors and perpetual motion generators of scientific impossibilities. But there are enough scenes of graphic violence, enough different venues, enough subplots (most left unresolved, to be taken up in the inevitable next book) and enough characters (badly drawn though they are) from Frank Herbert's notes to have kept me listening for 23 hours. I'll admit, though, that part of what I enjoyed was the number of times I got to say, "Oh, that is just so stupid," and the number of times I got to laugh at some ridiculously bungled turn of phrase. And I'll admit I'm glad to be done. This book is worse than "House Atreides" or "House Harkonnen" -- and they were both pretty dismal. I suggest victims of this "Jihad" listen to the Arthur C. Clarke collection after this book. The excellent science, superb plotlines, and sound psychology in characterization of which Clarke is such a master will help said victims recover any damaged faith in how inspiring ~good~ science fiction can be.
I listened to this book after working through the three Dune, Messiah and Children. I looked at this book because I really enjoyed the Dune books and from the summary I felt this book would be more of the same. I belive the coauthors of this book and some other prequel's to the Dune series did a good job in using a simular writing sytle and creating with Herbert's notes a vast and complex universe.
I found this book to be enthralling. The characters were all highly conflicted, which made them come alive - the visionary Serena Butler, who experienced a rude awakening at the personal price one has to pay for saving mankind, Xavier Harkonnen, Vorhien Atreides vs. his father Agamemenon, Norma Senva and Theo Holtzman, and even the machine characters, Erasmus vs. Omnius. Even the Titans were well-characterized. The story was fast-paced, well-written and had many unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed it thoroughly and am completely baffled by some of the bad reviews. The reading was a little bit slow for my taste, but very clear and with good renditions of the individual characters. I highly recommend this audiobook.
I am amazed how close Brian Herbert is to his father in writing style. It is somewhat different, only to be expected, but very much in keeping with the Dune series. Excellent.
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