Dune by Frank Herbert
I.L 11th and up
I. Synopsis- Duke Leto Atreides, Lady Jessica, and their son Paul move to the desert planet Arrakis because of the downfall of the Harkonnens. Yet, the Harkonnens didn’t actually fall, they only made it seem that way so that the House Atreides would come to Arrakis where and there the Harkonnens would make sure that they would fall. Yet, even as they go to Arrakis, Leto, Jessica, and Paul know that they are going straight into a trap. Jessica and Paul know a bit more then Leto because they have been through Bene Gesserit training. In fact, Jessica and the Reverend Mother are hoping that Paul is the Kwisatz Haderach. When they get on Arrakis, the people there start calling Paul the Muab’Dib. There are many prophesies about this messianic person that will make Arrakis into a paradise. Arrakis is a desert planet where water is the most important thing. Water is like their currency and many people have died over water disputes. Leto learns of a people known as the Fremen. They live outside of the cities, in the desert, and to his knowledge, they are against the Harkonnens as well. It isn’t too long after they have gotten settled in that the Harkonnens make their move. They have a spy in the House Atreides. Dr. Yueh captures Leto and gives him a tooth which if he bites hard on it, it will release a poisonous gas that he hopes will kill the Baron Harkonnen, for the Baron killed his wife.
II. Evaluation of Work as Literature
-Setting- The setting is described very well. Most of the action takes place on Arakis but other planets are explained. There is even a map in the back of the book of Arrakis to help explain where places are, although I personally found it confusing. The setting really plays into the story and it makes everything more life-or-death. Also, it plays largely into the lives and culture of the Fremen who live in the desert and have made up ways to survive the heat, lack of moisture, and the giant worms that eat the spice.
III. Personal Comments- I thought that it was a good book, it had a good story line, but over all it was so long and drawn out that I started getting sick of reading it. Frank Herbert crams so much information in it that it gets confusing pretty quick. I would recommend this only to older young adults and those really into sci-fi for if you aren’t into sci-fi, then you will hate this book.