Honest Book Review: Dune


Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann via Unsplash

By Brooke Miliote, Staff Writer

I’m almost entirely sure that the first thought people have when they’re presented with the option to read Dune is, “Is it worth it?” After the absolute Oscar sweep of the film (6 wins out of 10 nominations) it’s likely that people will want to go back to the source material, and see what is so entertaining about the series. After reading Dune shortly before the movie was released, I’m going to break down the age old question: Is it worth the torture?


Honesty is the best policy…I don’t think I understand the pacing of this novel. Clocking in at 865 pages (797 excluding the Appendices) this book may be considered a crime against humanity. Granted, you do have to consider that depending on your copy, you may only be subject to about 400 pages. Regardless, Part I takes you all the way to 325, followed by Part II until 589, and rounded out by Part III until 797. Yes, Part I alone is to 325. I felt that the pacing was genuinely painful at some points. Part I covers nearly half the book, making Parts II and III feel like a rush to wrap up the story. Occasionally I felt as though Part I would end soon, only to be greeted by what was in fact…just more Part I. As introductions go, it is definitely an informative one. Despite the ‘rush’ of the latter parts of Dune, it never loses its intense descriptions or plot heavy story line. 


This book is very plot heavy. Like The Batman (2022) plot heavy. So much happens in this novel; I genuinely think Frank Hebert might’ve forgotten past events immediately after moving to the next chapter. This isn’t to say there’s any discontinuities, I just don’t believe I’ve ever read a book with so many layers and just pure plot. Despite the focus on combat and skill in battle throughout Dune, it never loses itself to the action, focusing on politics and interactions before fighting and violence. Next to the sheer length of the novel, this is probably the most daunting theme that keeps readers away: politics. Even with the fantasy world of the future Herbert has built, the politics feel real and corrupt, mirroring many of the political situations we face in real life. But it’s a lot to keep up with, which can scare away many readers. The devotion this plot has to diplomacy, political ideals, and discussing oppression is remarkable. The political savvy of our strongest characters is clear from the get-go, but the twists and deceptions are shocking all the same. 


If you’re looking for a book that feels like the author must’ve never left their little cave, Dune is it. The world building here is crazy, to think of all these little details, new languages, technology, terminology, and detailed lore had to have required intense hyperfixation from Herbert. Can the person who writes something like this even remain sane? Dune is immensely detailed, and each page is filled with a plot that keeps you interested. Who will have to fall for Paul to ascend? Who could die next? What alliances will be broken, and who else could possibly be deceived? I feel that Dune has something of interest for every reader, but this shouldn’t be all too shocking because what couldn’t you fit into nearly 900 pages?