Dune Messiah picks up the story of the man known as Muad'Dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to fruition an ambition of unparalleled scale: the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing who reigns not in the heavens but among men.
But the question is: DO all paths of glory lead to the grave?
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©1969 Frank Herbert; (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
I really did love the first title in the series, and plan to continue through the rest. There are 2 parts to any review of an audio book, the story and the narration, so let's break this into two.
1. The story. It was slow to get into, especially for a short book. It starts as a series of meetings, and slowly start pulling the story together. By about 3/4 of the way through you start to get back to what you excepted from Dune. It does a nice job telling the story of Paul, and over all was an enjoyable story. 3.5 stars.
2. The narration. I found it more than acceptable, and much better than many books. I was a little hesitant after reading some reviews, but it was no where near as bad as I had feared. It wasn't fantastic like the first book which truely is stellar. So I can understand how this would be a led down compared to that book. Over all it worked well and was an enjoyable listen, and it did not get in the way of the book, and may have even helped. When compared to other books 4/5 stars.
Dune Messiah is the sequel to Frank Herbert's masterpiece, Dune. As is often the case, it does not live up to the high standard of the first installement, but it is still pretty good.
First off: if you haven't read/listened to Dune, ignore this book until you've done that.
This book wraps up the story of Paul Muad'Dib Atriedes; 12 years after the successful war to capture the imperial throne, Paul is dealing (struggling?) with the issues of governance, the imperial succession and plots to overthrow him. The story deals with strategems, plots and plots-within-plots. For those who desire swashbuckling action, laser battles in space, exploring strange new worlds and menacing merciless malefactors will find this book disappointing....Dune Messiah is mostly conversation and internal dialogue. It's a slow-moving story...most of the action (and there isn't much of it) occurs in the final quarter of the book. (This style is common among Frank Herbert's writing.)
Dune Messiah is a bit more mystical than Dune, and focuses a great deal on some of the odder issues surrounding Paul's prescient visions and his sister, Alia, who is now in her teens.
Overall, I give the story 3 stars...it's not a seminal work, like Dune, but it does follow up the original and bridge to the next few works.
I am not as fond of the narration as I could be. There are several readers, and they each read a separate chapter. They are all great readers, and I love the idea, but it would have helped if the readers had some common ground rules. It's a minor quibble, but sometimes the characters (like Stilgar) have thick accents and at other times they do not. It makes it a little hard to keep track of who is speaking.
Dune Messiah is interesting to Dune fans only in that it carries forward the narrative and answers some of the questions from its predecessor, the masterpiece "Dune". However, judged on its merits as an adventure and sci-fi story, it is a failure. Except for one brief foray into the suburbs of Arrakeen, the action is completely static. It is a series of meetings, internal dialogues, and conversations between a small handful of characters. Boring. You feel like you're reading the notes of a board meeting. With the rich scenery of Dune, the jihad, and off-world conspiracies all exploding in the wings, it must have taken a real determined effort to squeeze the life out of this book. Informative without being interesting.
Dune is a sci-fi classic, so this review pertains to the audiobook version. They have a cast of different readers who perform the voices of the various characters along side the reader who narrates. But throughout the book, in new chapters, the cast of readers are suddenly absent, leaving the narrator to do all the voices, only to have the cast of readers eventually return in the following chapters. The effect is a major distraction: characters without accents suddenly have one; characters suddenly speak in a completely differnt tone, accent and manner. The is especially true with the character of Baron Harkonen, who at times has a deep menancing voice in the neighborhood of James Earl Jones, then other times, when the narrator is doing all the voices, the villian speaks with a higher, reedy, quicker voice and acquires a more pronounced British accent.
The first audio book in the series is completely engaging. This one is a bit of a let down. Reading the book is enjoyable. Listening to this one is almost painful at times. The changing narrator is an interesting idea, but doesn't come off well in practice.
Also, the voices this time just don't capture the story this time. Likely this book was just too much exposition for the format.
Overall, good story, but not a great listen.
I would have preferred it if this was series was presented by a single talented reader narrating the books. I was however willing to accept what the previews state was done, a multiple reader version with different readers "performing" individual characters.
Unfortunately what is actually delivered is a confusing third option, where sometimes a single reader narrates, and other times (seemingly at random) actors read specific characters. This disjointed production method causes nothing but distraction and prevents the listener from full immersion in the story. I could only speculate on why this inconsistent pattern is followed, but whatever the reason, the result is a less than stellar product.
In addition, none of the actors really nails their respective parts. In fact, some are so distractingly bad (Piter for example) they cross over into embarrassing and cartoonish.
The original Dune Saga remains one of, if not my favorite books, but I am sorry to say that this production just does not deliver. I was hoping to acquire the entire series, but I am stopping here.
After reading a lot of the reviews here, I expected this to be pretty boring. And while I'd agree that it starts out boring, it doesn't stay boring. It picks up speed as it goes and I found myself enjoying it more than expected. I'd say the first hour is pretty boring. The second half of the book is better than the first half. Overall, I gave it a 4 as I really found myself enjoying it. I'd say it's a 3.5 but I don't see it letting me choose half a star.
I've been a fan of Frank Herbert for many years, and I'm glad to see that Audible.com is FINALLY getting some of his work. Dune Messiah is every bit the fabulous book I remember, but the narration leaves something to be desired. The pronunciations of various words and phrases unique to the Dune novels are at odds with both the films and with other readings of Dune novels (like George Guidall's adept reading of Dune for Borders Audiobooks). It also seems unnecessary and disorienting to have multiple narrators, and some of them are too obviously English for the reading to jive with the cadence and syntax of Herbert, an American writer. Not fatal flaws, but something to gripe about...
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.
"Great Book, Great readers"
Great reading. clear and easy to understand. while the reading does change a few times to different narrators i found this a good thing. A superb book explaining what happened 12 years after Paul Atreides took over Dune. As gripping as it is intricute. This is a must read for those who want to know what happened to Paul, channi and the others in the royal court
"Not as good as the original book"
I had heard that this book was a bit of a week link in the Dune series so I was a bit apprehensive in ordering it. However, after listening to the original Dune audio book I knew I had to find out what happened to Paul and the others.
It was always going to be a hard act to follow but the production of this audio book is not as accomplished as that of Dune. I think this is mainly because many of the more distinctive characters from the first book do not appear in the sequel. The plot starts very very slowly and the clue is in the title - it is very Messianic and almost spirtual in the descriptions of the 'oracular vision'.
That said, there are some superb original concepts in the sequel, including the ghola 'Hate' and the descriptions of the Tleilaxu culture. The book also ends very well.
I'll certainly be downloading the next one.
"Too much melange by the author?"
I listened to the first book and loved it. Although I found the first book hard going at the beginning you drop into the new words, and now 50 years on a lot of the Arabic words the author drops in a more familiar to westerns - Haj, Jihad.
I can't help thinking though that this book is slightly addled and more of it's time - 1969! Book one seemed timeless and I was amazed that after 50 years it still felt fresh and relevant, but this one felt like something from the height of flower power and hippy trippy acid frenzies. The author seems to jump from event to event, with little to interlink the story and long, rambling, impenetrable, and frankly nonsensical passages that drift off to nowhere describing the nature of Paul’s visions of the future with a torrent of words that seem thrown together and make little sense. Maybe the author is genius and the nonsense of his passages were meant to reflect the confusion of Paul trying to read the right path in the future … but frankly I got bored of listening to long passages of babble and garbage thrown together with little attempt at a coherent story thread.
Here’s just one extract (and I could find many) that will give you an idea of how mind bendingly nonsensical it is
“He became a motionless chain of relative existence, singular, alone. Old memories flooded his mind, he marked them, adjusted them to new understandings, made a beginning at the integration of a new awareness, an new persona achieved a temporary form of internal tyranny, the masculating synthesis remained charged with potential disorder, but events pressed him to the temporary adjustment, the young master needed him.”
I won’t be listening to the rest of the saga, this just disappeared up it’s own behind. I found myself listening to it more, just so I could get it over with faster. Thankfully it was under 10 hours so less than a week of my driving schedule, if it had been longer I'd have just ditched it.
"Not as good as dune"
Though this was an enjoyable book a lot of this is from the third person, therefore making it too different from the first. The characters voices from Dune didn't stick to their own characters and were doing voices of other characters which in the first book were done by different people.
"A solid sequel."
The narrator keeps the story interesting throughout giving characters credible tones and emotions.
The ending of the story is unexpected and memorable. It does not follow the typical path that stories of a powerful lead character often does. Muad'Dib does not always triumph.
There is no doubt that Paul as Muad'Dib grips the listener but a small character the uncanny dwarf Bijaz steals the few scenes he enters before meeting his untimely demise.
It is impossible to remain aloof when reading the book. I identified with both sides in the plot's struggle but always there is the fascination with the machinations of Muad'Dib. Will Paul succeed and where do his powers of perception truly end.
"A Classic that I haven't read for years"
As good as I remember. Nice touch having some music etc to give atmosphere. Well worth a listen even if you have read it a few times as I have.
good voices, nice atmosphere.
LOL, it's long!
but definitely more-ish!
"Not enough Scott Brick."
In the middle
Listeners beware as this recording lacks a gripping performance in my opinion. I felt rather cheated by Scott Brick's name appearing on the credits as he speaks for less than 10 minutes or so and just starts and finishes the recording.
A good story but as gripping as Frank's first in the series.
"Good, but not that good"
I enjoyed the continuation of the Atreides mythos; Herbert understands that the reader gains political insight by giving the characters' thoughts alongside what they actually say to each other.
The book doesn't quite stand up to the original. The story is a little more static, with a sense of inevitability permeating the plot; Dune was filled with unknowns.
The narration was good, though not as good as the original.
Emperor of Dust
This is a highly political novel. Much of the action and excitement of the first novel is traded for politics, thoughtfulness and mythos building.
After the superb 'Dune' I though this was a very disappointing sequel. Nothing much happens and it seems more like a mere episode than a book.
This is a very analytical and political second book in the Dune series. It grasps the loneliness of a powerful emperor, in the meanwhile letting the reader take a sneak look at the conspiracy against him. I found it fascinating how it proves that seeing the future is a very tricky business and can cause infinite boredom if not used wisely and in moderation.
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