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 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.
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.
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.
I am usually a big fan of series books, but not in this case. I will probably listen to one more, but if it is a slow as this one, I will give it up. Much less compelling than the original book, the story lumbered along, did not have the drive of the first. I did not think the characters matured or developed through the story, which seemed more like a boring history lecture than a continuation of a big adventure.
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