Okay, so I like Dune. Well, I think I do. I like the STORY of Dune, the world created and the ideas and vistas of thought that Herbert dwells within philosophically. But GOD I hate Herbert's writing style. There are times when it's almost Lovecraftian. He pretends to get inside the heads of his characters but he really doesn't--he says crap like, "They were struck with fear" without actually illuminating the scene further. What in the bloody nine Hells does that MEAN!? Arrrrgggggh. I want to love this book because I love the IDEAS, but OHMYGOD do I want to slap Herbert upside the head for his style (or lack thereof).
So do I give this book four stars (or even five) for the thoughts and ideas or three for the fact that I wanted to throw it across the room because he wrote such flat characters, terribly stilted dialogue, and frustrating prose overall? I guess I'll stick with three--straight down the middle--because I'm sure I'll sucker myself into reading more Herbert when I find myself yearning to learn more about the political, religious and philosophical evolution of Arrakis and the universe that surrounds it. But I'll probably want to wring Herbert's neck through the entirety of those novels, too.
And Herbert has to have succeeded, at least to some degree, if he managed to get me invested in the world itself. I think I'd even recommend this book to others if I feel they'd be interested in the ideas Herbert presents, but my suggestion will probably always be presented with a caveat I wouldn't give when suggesting other idea-laden sci-fi or fantasy like The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia
, American Gods
or Slaughterhouse Five
. He's got a talent for imagining worlds; I just don't know if I can give him credit for imbuing those worlds with life as successfully as someone like J.R.R. Tolkien
, who made me love not only the ideas but had me breathless and in tears at the end of the Fellowship.