Amber’s Goodreads Review of Chapterhouse: Dune

Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles, #6)Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My opinion of the Dune series is that the first book was the best, and each subsequent book diminished in quality somewhat. I got to the fourth, God Emperor of Dune, and decided that it was really hard to relate to things when the characters I’d grown to know and love for the first three books were now at least a thousand years dead, except the God Emperor himself of course.

Because of this, I didn’t bother reading Heretics of Dune or Chapterhouse: Dune… until now. And I didn’t read it, exactly: my commute to school four days a week for an hour and a half each way exhausted my interest in my music, and my mother suggested audio books. This was one of the few the school library had that wasn’t what I refer to as “supermarket checkout books”: popular, not frequently quality but easily ingested by most people novels usually by big names like James Patterson, Dan Brown, etc.

The main idea is that the Bene Gesserit are on the run from the Honored Matres, a bunch of women who are a lot like the Drow from Forgotten Realms: women-run society, control men through sex, very deadly, etc. The Honored Matres are trying to exterminate the Bene Gesserit, who are holed up on a planet that they are trying to transform into another desert-covered, Dune-like planet by introducing “sand trout,” the precursor to sand worms, so that they can have Spice/Melange, which they need to do their Bene Gesserit thing.

Overall, Chapterhouse: Dune was interesting but not fantastic. It livened up the drive, and I’ve always enjoyed the frequent, chewy chunks of Bene Gesserit wisdom, but overall it was a book where people mostly discussed/debated things, thought to themselves about stuff, agonized over decisions, coughed up more Bene Gesserit wisdom, thought about each other and plots both theirs and others’, talked, thought, talked and thought. Not that I’m averse to talking, thinking, or character development, but it started to feel more like a collection of people’s thesis papers on various philosophies. The ending was pretty unsatisfying, and I was a little lost (my fault) due to not having read the fifth book, and having read the fourth book so long ago.

What it did make me want to do is reread the first half of the sexology (if that’s what you call a 6-part series, and not the study of sex or something). Unfortunately (or fortunately, since it is the best) I only still have the first. I suspect I lost the other two when an ex’s brother borrowed them and then either was or played dumb about where they got off to. I hope someone’s enjoying them.

As for the sequels written by Herbert’s son and another writer, I’m not sure if the junior Herbert actually writes any of it or the other guy ghostwrites the whole thing and the Herbert name is just appended for legitimacy, but the one book I did read of that (I think it was House Atreides), I wasn’t impressed. Stick to the first one, before the Honored Matres and all that junk comes in, when things were still nicely simple (though “simple” in the Dune universe still requires a Dramatis Personae and a full glossary – not that that’s a bad thing). You’ll be better off.

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~ by Amber on February 8, 2013.

3 Responses to “Amber’s Goodreads Review of Chapterhouse: Dune”

  1. My opinion of the Dune series is that the first book was the best, and each subsequent book diminished in quality somewhat.

    I think that is how most people feel. Though after reading it a second time, I do have a particular affection for “Children of Dune”.

    • Oh I agree. The first trilogy of the series is the best. I think part of the problem is that the… not point of view so much as point of attitude switches between the first three and the second three from pro-Atreides, somewhat anti-Bene Gesserit to just the opposite. Every time in Chapterhouse that someone mentioned the “damned Kwisatch Haderach” I retorted (being alone in my car with the thing playing) “You witches are the ones who spent all that time trying to bring him about, you hypocrites!”

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