I’m sad to write that it turns out Frank Herbert’s Dune series is actually terrible. The cover of the first book makes a bold statement when it calls itself the supreme masterpiece of science fiction. The book has inspired several film and television mini-series. So how could it be worthy of such reverence? I’m not sure.
The first book literally begins with a scene in which the main character, Paul, learns that he’s the messiah of a powerful cult. The next 800 pages, in addition to the second book, is spent listing off things he does that are messianic in nature. There is no real conflict in any of these situations because his success is always inevitable due to his godlike abilities. What his role actually means for the universe is never explained. What does the messiah do? Nothing. I don’t expect action from science fiction novels, but the entirety of the second book Dune Messiah is made up of Paul thinking out loud about how he doesn’t know what to do.
Yes, the books have a couple interesting moments, but the Dune universe remains completely unexplored. There are the briefest mentions of things like a guild of space-faring people who are able to see the future. But that’s pretty much all that’s said of them. Nothing about what they’ve seen, or why they live and work as they do. Nothing.
I recommend never reading this series because it is absolute dreck.