Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've always held that it's impossible to compare the Dune sequels to the first book but it would be insane to say that they're anything less than excellent in their own right.
It doesn't even matter to me that this particular book was nommed for the Hugo in '77. The fact that we get much more of a look into the hearts and minds of the Fremen, watch the tragedy of Alia unfold with the help of her maternal grandfather, and uncover the secret of the wandering Preacher shouldn't make much of a difference, but it does.
Jessica's transformation is something else. I particularly liked when she became a teacher and when she toyed with her own Gom Jabbar.
But the true stars of this book have got to be the twins. Leto and Ghanima are something special. Almost abominations like their aunt, they both walk a knife's edge and Leto leads the way. She's his rock, but Leto's ultimate choice to follow the Golden Path is ultimately only his to walk.
Mirroring Leto with Paul was amazing in the story. The focus on timelines either forking or narrowing down as more and more choices are made really illustrated how prescience is the ultimate trap. Paul absolutely fell into it, but one could make the argument that Leto's choice is the true tragedy.
A TOTALLY awesome tragedy, mind you, with tons of benefits and an even more explosive benefit for the human race to come -- (this is COMPLETELY debatable) -- but it's still a mind experiment and worldbuilding masterpiece that has continued to haunt me since the first time I read it in the late '80s to this very day.
An excellent SF? Well, to me, it's something of a BENCHMARK.
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