Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Really, 3.5* rounded up.
Do you remember that time that you read Dune for the 6th or 12th time and thought, "Hey! Wouldn't it be great to write fan fiction and mix up some of the elements in it, change all the names, and make it longer, more convoluted, and make Paul rebel against his family? Maybe just put him in House Corrino first, throw out the godlike abilities but keep 80% of the other worldbuilding under a thin shroud?"
Yeah. Me too.
And that's exactly what kept me from precisely enjoying this the way I wanted to. It was too close to the original. If I wanted a confluence of events exactly like the original, I think the original is STILL BRILLIANT.
This one reads in a more modern style with a first-person PoV. A huge stretch of the beginning just FEELS like Dune. And then, after it diverges, we have all the important scenes from Dune, such as playing with your opponent, extra gladiator stuff with Russel Crowe, and even a mad dash of what Patrick Rothfuss is known for. I guess I would have enjoyed this more had there been a lot LESS nods to Dune. Fear mantra? Floating Fat Man? Benighted race with a religious secret allowing total dominance of the universe?
Well, no, we haven't gotten THERE yet. That'll be in another huge honker of a book.
Whereas Dune conquered the known galaxy in ONE BOOK.
I guess the case could be made that this is for a new generation, blah, blah, blah, but there's just a bit too much imitation for my taste. Let's just write in the Dune universe instead. Or cut out all the homages, fly on the strength of your own tale.
There's something here. It might be a bonafide epic... eventually. But it's pulling on a few too many shirts right now.
View all my reviews