Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Book 30: Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Title: Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
How it was obtained: Bargain bin at Barnes and Noble. I would have bought it outright, but I knew it was going to be a two book story, so I waited.
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 6 months.
Days spent reading it: 3 days.
Why I read it: Nearly 10 years ago now, I started and finished the original Dune series by Frank Herbert. I have long considered Dune (the original novel that kicked off the franchise) and Chapterhouse: Dune (Book 6 of the series) two of my favorite novels. I loved the complex story telling, interweaved with innovative (and strange) ideas about science, religion, politics and technology. But most of all, one of the last chapters in Chapterhouse is one of my favorite chapters in a book of all time. It was not expected and simply blew my mind away. The possibilities were endless. Frank Herbert had left a door so wide open my mind raced with the different scenarios of what happened after the book ended.
Frank Herbert was supposed to write a final 7th Dune novel, but sadly he died before this could happen. Then his son, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson found some outlines for the last novel and started writing. The result has been 2 trilogies of prequels to the Dune series and now the final 7th novel (which became 2 novels). I waited patiently for the 2nd of the two novels to be released and then preceeded to read books 7 and 8 in the Dune saga.
Brief review: I enjoy the Dune universe. I think Frank Herbert had a very creative mind that was both full of intrigue and subtlety. He was nuanced in his writing. It is truly sad that he could not be the one to complete his grand epic. Instead his son Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have picked up the mantle.
There are pros and cons to this situation.
Con--Brian and Kevin are no Frank Herbert. Frank's thoughts were dense and his overall vision broad. He was a visionary and a creative genius. Brian and Kevin, not so much.
Pro--Brian and Kevin are MUCH MUCH easier to read. I cruised through these two rather large books (each over 500 pages) in a little under 3 days each. It would have taken me a few weeks to manage reading 1,000 of Frank Herbert. Really its the difference between pop fiction and literature. Frank Herbert wrote literature, it just happened to be sci-fi. Brian and Kevin write pop fiction. Not bad, just not of the same caliber.
I know I did not get much into the plot here. And I won't really because it would reveal too much from the previous books and the next book. What I will say is that I did enjoy reading Hunters of Dune. It was cheesy at points, it was action filled adventure at others. But it was a fun read. This book is definitely defined by the "Hunters" that exist in many forms through the book. It is a constant game of hide and seek, of hunting and being hunted. There is a real sense of danger for the main characters through the whole book.
Did it live up to my expectations for book 7 in the Dune epic? No, but I think with the way my brain was rolling after Chapterhouse:Dune, perhaps nothing ever could. Not even if it was written by a Frank Herbert ghola himself (gholas are people who have been cloned from dead cells in the Dune universe...often they can get their old memories back, for those who have never read the series).
I think anyone who has read the entirety of the Dune series would read Hunters of Dune and its sequel Sandworms of Dune simply for closure. Its not bad, its just not as great as it might have been.
Favorite quote: "As human beings, we have trouble functioning in environments in which we feel threatened. The threat becomes the focus of our existence. But 'safety' is one of the great illusions of the universe. Nowhere is truly safe."
Stars: 4 out of 5.
Final Word: Spicy.