The Winds of Dune by Brian Herbert
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
No matter how competently a novel can be written, and this is absolutely a COMPETENT novel, it must still fit in the full chronology of the original series.
Yes, this is a very special case. Yes, this slips in between the 2nd and 3rd novels of Frank Herbert's Dune series. Yes, it attempts to slide around in that delicate area of Paul's EMPIRE and Paul's full decline.
In THEORY, this might have been a fine novel. In THEORY, I might have even LOVED the ideas presented here, building the reasons for the full political nastiness in Children of Dune, the reversals, the tragedies.
But what we've got here is not only Dune-lite, but a larger embellishment of Bronso, the Ixian, which had no mention in the originals. Sure, we've got the continuation of the separation of Paul the man and Paul the legend, but that had already been happening naturally and even more impressively during God Emperor of Dune, with more tongue-in-cheek, better analysis, and better heartbreaking commentary. I loved Leto II. He may have been a monster, but he was a monster fulfilling his father's Terrible Purpose.
Bronso, on the other hand, is rather ... ahem... mild. Sure, we give Paul more credit for the effort he put into his own downfall, but that was pretty damn clear in the originals already. And Leto II knew it clearly, too, even as a kid.
The reveal, too, in Children of Dune, was a lot more powerful. Did we really want all the reveals before the novel unfurls?
Personally, I wouldn't recommend reading this novel in chronological order. Read it after the original series or as a curiosity AFTER God Emperor of Dune, perhaps, as a 20/20 hindsight thing while being fully aware that it is filler with just a few stop-gap plot fill-ins and an otherwise fine SF adventure that would have been perfect in an unrelated series.
Maybe. But as a fan of the originals, I must protect my own.
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