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?
©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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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...
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.
More forward moving plot.
Yes, I am done.
The narrators were excellent, wasted talent on this flat story.
OK, so I get this book was written by a famous author. And I also get there are a ton of books in this genre and a countless fans of the Dune series. When I was a teenager I read book one and watched the movie and loved them. But the speed of this book when compared to the first is drastically different. For me it just moved too slow and every little detail of every little moment was explored and explained in painful detail. I found myself saying out loud several times "ok ok ok, I got it, I get it, message received. Lets move forward."
I get it when a story has to slow and plot development or character development has to take over(see dragon tattoo book three) but it really felt like the plot slowed and no extra development was taking place. Couldn't finish it, shelved it, might come back to it but most likely I won't. It just feels like the author was trying to hard to live up to the might and expectations of the first book.
"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.
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.
"Enjoyable but a bit of a commitment"
I've always enjoyed the concept of the Dune books, and love the slow pace and build up to an almighlt climax. This was no expectation and i could not stop listening towards the end (in fact I had to replay the last 20 minutes to make sure I had taken it all in).
Due to the books philosophical and religious content this can sometimes feel a little heavy going, but ultimately very enjoyable.
"Got me in the end"
I'd listened to Dune about two years ago, so it took a while for me to re-learn all the characters in this book, but once I had done I got really back into it. No other sci-fi author really uses politics like Herbert, and I always loved the way we get to hear the thoughts of the characters as they say one thing and think another. Great ending too.
"Fantastic Production of a disappointing story"
I've always felt that Messiah is a bit of a let down in the Dune series. It seems to try to be the last chapter of Dune, while setting the scene for Children of Dune. However this means that by itself, it is not a very good story. It kind of meanders around the various characters from Dune filling up some back stories and looking into their new motives and goals. However after coming straight off of Dune, it seems to take away a lot of the awe from the story and I can't help but feel it somehow cheapens the first book. Anyway, on to Children of Dune!
The production, like Dune, is fantastic. Clear, well read dialogue with a healthy balance of actors, voices and narration. If only all audio books were this good.
"Another great read"
I have all the books in this series and have had them for many years, if your in to sci-fi then you can't go wrong.
I must have read this book 10 or more times over the years and never get board of it.
"The Fall of the Empire?"
This sequel to the epic Dune was in some ways a disappointment. Having embraced our hero, it was sad to see him turn out less wonderful than we were expecting from the first novel in the series. Also, although there are multiple voices at times (as before) it is mostly read by just one actor. This is a shame but understandable from a cost point of view.
Nevertheless, these quibbles aside, 'Dune Messiah' makes a worthy sequel to the original 'Dune'. It is perhaps unfair to expect perfection on perfection. If you have enjoyed 'Dune' then you should certainly go for this too: it is miles better than most of the rubbish sold today as SciFi.
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