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Dune #3

Children of Dune

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The desert planet of Arrakis has begun to grow green and lush. The life-giving spice is abundant. The nine-year-old royal twins, possesing their father's supernatural powers, are being groomed as Messiahs.
But there are those who think the Imperium does not need messiahs...

408 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published April 1, 1976

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About the author

Frank Herbert

465 books12.4k followers
People note Dune (1965) of American science fiction novelist Frank Patrick Herbert for its intricate plot and its broad intellectual scope.

Frank Herbert authored five critically acclaimed and commercially successful sequels to this best-known work. Widely considered among the classics in the field of science fiction, the Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes, such as human survival, human evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power.

He was the father of fellow author Brian Herbert.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,069 reviews
Profile Image for Richard Houchin.
400 reviews28 followers
May 6, 2008
The Dune series is remarkable in that each sequel gets progressively worse until it's unreadable.

The first book is truly excellent. It's mantra on fear alone makes it great.

The second book a very good sci-fi novel.

The third book is merely okay.

The fourth book is sub-par, but still interesting.

The fifth book is a pain in the ass to read.

The sixth book will leave you concerned about the author's health, so terribad is the writing.

But hey, the first book kicks ass!
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
793 reviews3,605 followers
October 26, 2020
There are two opinions one could have about this series and they both are true because it´s so highly individual and polarizing:

If it could have been a bit less complicated and confusing it would have had the potential to be as good as the first two parts, but the characters are talking so much over the top complicated philosophical, religious, Dune specific stuff that it´s truly hard to follow. It just doesn´t work as well as in the first two parts. There was much potential, but it didn´t feel right.

Another one could say that what is said is deep, full of innuendos, pretty many plot twists are interwoven and Herbert is trying to make it bombastic, which works great. But I am more on the critics' side.

There´s a bit of a problem with characters´ motivation, credibility, and authenticity too, as they don´t seem to follow completely logical reasoning and don´t really know what they want. Possibly I am overlooking some of the subtility and it´s part of a perfectly orchestrated subtility, but subjectively it felt as if their premises switched drastically between one and three times without understandable reasons.

I´ve heard some people say that one should just read the trilogy and don´t read further because the other parts are average and worse and I don´t know what to do now. I see what Herberts´ problem is, writing so complicated and arcane that it can be a pain to follow the plot, but on the other hand it´s great, complex storytelling and the audience is very divided about it. I fear that it could get in the direction of pseudo-philosophical and unsatisfying, but some say that the elements that made the series great are even deepening and becoming more grandiose with each part because there are more and more innuendos and connotations to the other parts before.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
401 reviews3,480 followers
May 13, 2023
What's the hand signal for terrible?

Children of Dune is missing the elements that worked so well in Dune: no heroes, no unexpected, shocking deaths, no common goals, no building up of characters.

This book is so dreadfully boring. When I was at the 80% mark, I could have DNFed the book--I just didn't care how it ended. That is how little I was invested in the characters and in the story.

Herbert over relies on fan favorite characters, and the characters have the same discussion over and over and over again. Perhaps Herbert thought the reader fell asleep during sections of the book?

Ugh, and why do you name to different characters the same name? Did the author have a lot of Leto merch that he needed to get rid of?

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Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
August 9, 2021
*** 2021 reread -

I posted the review below ten years ago after first reading Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, the third in the series, this one published in 1976 which followed Dune Messiah in 1969 and Dune in 1965. I liked it but didn't love it.

There is an old saying that you can never step into the same river twice, meaning that the water is always different. And also, you have have changed as well.

Ten years later and I have read all of Herbert's original six and many of the books about the Dune universe written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I've seen the 1984 film and the 2003 Children of Dune mini-series and am an overall fan of Dune.

I'm not sure why I didn't like it more back then but I sure do now.

Herbert's intricate attention to detail and his brilliantly complex characterization and dialogue, as well as his internal monologues are science fiction gold.

The interactions between The Preacher and the rest of the cast and Leto's beginning transformation, providing a foreshadowing of the next book, God Emperor of Dune, was a pleasure to read.


The third of the Dune and the slide away from the quality of the original masterpiece has begun in earnest.

Better than Dune Messiah, but only in that it is more ambitious and with a more cohesive plot. Herbert takes a more introspective narrative to prepare the way for Leto II. The concepts of shared DNA, collective memories and possession run astride a vehicle of rapid autocratic decline.

Some cool scenes, a few interesting new concepts, but ultimately Herbert's vision is starting to fray and the great bulk of his masterwork is becoming as cumbersome as the Baron's ghost.

A cautionary tale for creators of series - go back to the well too often and the water gets stale.

Profile Image for Gerhard.
1,051 reviews525 followers
November 16, 2021
I kept getting these telephone calls from people asking me if I were starting a cult.
The answer: “God no!”
- Frank Herbert.

I originally read the ‘Dune’ sequence in my teens when I discovered SF for the first time. Among my own Golden Age pantheon of seminal writers such as Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Zelazny, Farmer, Simak and Smith, Herbert exerted a certain exotic allure.

I recently reread ‘Dune’ and ‘Dune Messiah’ again, inspired by Denis Villeneuve’s superlative Part 1 movie adaptation. Now in my early 50s, I was surprised at how well the diptych stands up against the test of time and memory.

I do believe that ‘Dune Messiah’ is superior in how much layered texture it adds to its age-old monomyth, and how cleverly it subverts the narrative arc that seemed so inevitable in ‘Dune’. Yes, it is a total bummer of an ending, but it is an ending that is both psychologically and thematically astute.

(Editor John W. Campbell certainly didn’t think so, and rejected ‘Dune Messiah’ due to it being ‘anti-heroic’ – which is kind of ironic when you think how large the ideal of the anti-heroic figure looms in so much of modern SF and fantasy, especially the Hollywood superhero factory.)

Which brings me to ‘Children of Dune’, which can only be described as a gibbering hot mess of a novel. Actually, it foreshadows another trend in much modern SF – here’s looking at you, Star Wars – to not only reveal too much detail, but to focus on so much extraneous minutiae that the overall story is completely lost in a maelstrom of granularity.

A tiny example is the mythical sietch of Jacurutu, and the inordinate number of pages that Leto agonises over whether it even exists or not. When he actually arrives on its dusty, forgotten doorstep, he spends even more pages agonising over the actual reality of what he is seeing…

Well, of course ‘real’ Jacurutu turns out to be a sand-screen for the ‘mythical’ Jacurutu, which does exist, in fact, but is shrouded in even deeper mystery and obfuscation by yet another (mythical) name. It is this kind of unnecessary navel-gazing that turns ‘Children of Dune’ into an exceptionally tedious rabbit-hole of a novel that wallows in its own inflated sense of self-importance.

In a short but revealing note at the end of the book, Herbert weirdly states that portions of ‘Children of Dune’ were completed before the first two novels. And it does, indeed, read like a series of outtakes or discarded ideas strung together to make up a semblance of a plot.

‘Dune’ itself is by no means perfect, but it has a certain logic and narrative drive, not to mention pacing and attention to relevant detail (leaving much to the reader’s imagination), that makes it a much greater whole than the sum of its parts.

Sadly, ‘Children of Dune’ struggles with way too many moving parts to gain any coherence, let alone narrative urgency. For example, the culmination of Leto’s conversion process, which drives perhaps the last third of the novel, is completely botched and butchered by Herbert.

He is way too busy keeping his characters speechifying preposterously and sententiously than to pay attention to the specific narrative mechanics of such a crucial and deeply weird scene. It is one of many such missed opportunities in the book, which rattles along as mindlessly as a sandworm in the great bled.

Herbert has always been thought of as representing a ‘colonial’ approach to SF in that he portrays the terraforming of Arrakis as the end result of a just process of civilising the natives and uplifting them (more like bringing them to their senses from their barbaric ways.)

In this dialectic, a contemporary writer like Kim Stanley Robinson is perceived as the spiritual heir of Frank Herbert, tackling similar ideas of colonisation and politics, but with a much more modern approach that accounts for key, but often subtextual, influences such as cultural appropriation and authorial bias.

In ‘Children of Dune’, however, Herbert completely subverts his colonial label by introducing the jaw-dropping idea that the sand trout are not endemic to Arrakis, but are essentially an alien lifeform (where they came from and who introduced them is another story.)

Which makes the Fremen themselves a parasitic entity feeding off the lifecycle of Shai Hulud, instead of the noble oppressed savages and ‘desert power’ they were always thought to be. This plot strand is supposed to culminate in the transformation of Leto, but it peters out quite frustratingly rather than achieve the narrative crescendo it deserves.

Seeing that so much of the book is about the consequences, shortfalls and perceived pitfalls of prescience, it is perhaps fitting that chunks were completed even before the first opening salvos of the trilogy (well, it started out as a trilogy.) And while on that subject, the whole bloody Golden Path gibberish makes no sense whatsoever.

Leto is determined to remove Paul’s stranglehold on humanity by effectively un-deifying his own father. But ends up following the very ‘path’ that Paul expressly chose not to follow, thereby promising to become an even bigger monster (literally) than Paul had ever been!?

Just as Paul felt himself increasingly trapped by his own prescient visions, so does Herbert seem unable to break free from the plot cycle of the first two books. You thought Paul walked off bravely into the sunset at the end of ‘Dune Messiah’? Up pops the mysterious Preacher, decrying the empty religion of Alia. And where is a good villain when you need one … up pops the Baron (literally) in Alia’s mind to pollute her consciousness with his conniving perversity.

And forget about any tender Paul/Chani moments here either. Herbert is all matter-of-fact business, describing Leto’s attraction to Sabiha (which does indeed mirror the Paul/Chani relationship) in the following totally romantic manner: ‘There was an adult beefswelling in his loins …’ Okay, time to move along.

There was a seven-year gap between the publication of ‘Dune Messiah’ (1969) and ‘Children of Dune’ (1976), which is notable for being the first hardcover bestseller in the genre. Either readers did not know what they were in for, or they were much weirder than they are today. Probably the latter, lest we forget that ‘Dhalgren’ by Samuel R. Delany (1975) would go on to sell a million copies.

Another problem is that ‘Children of Dune’ veers rather determinedly away from SF into much choppier and murkier waters. The long (and I mean long) digressions on politics, governance and the philosophy of morality (or is it the morality of philosophy?) are simply stuffed into the mouths of characters who, ironically, increasingly come across as robotic in a universe where the very notion of AI is anathema and deemed to be anti-human.

As with ‘Dune Messiah’, there are some passages of nature writing where Herbert’s singular passion for the raw environment, and his technical proficiency as a writer, combine to create such haunting passages as the below:

It was difficult to take his gaze away from the sands, the dunes—the great emptiness. Here at the edge of the sand lay a few rocks, but they led the imagination outward into the winds, the dust, the sparse and lonely plants and animals, dune merging into dune, desert into desert.

But it is too little, too late. The worm has, indeed, turned for this ambitious saga, which cannot escape its own Golden Path into repetitive dissolution.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.6k followers
September 17, 2012
Might work better as a version of Monopoly. Here are some suggestions for the Chance and Community Chest cards:






etc etc...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
647 reviews92 followers
October 20, 2020
There are two schools of thought on the Dune series. One is that they are epic, revelatory scifi all the way through, one is that after the glorious first book you traverse a lonely, winding path of diminishing returns in the sequels. I'm going to throw in with the latter group. Herbert created a fascinating, fully realized universe with Dune, and it was a joy to dive back into it: the Fremen, the litany against fear, the melange, the Atreides Battle Language. The point of Herbert's whole series is the inevitable corruption of power in the institutions of government and faith. There's never a happy ending, or never one that lasts from one book to the next.

While I loved the immersive nature of Herbert's world, and appreciated the thoughts behind it, this book is a bit of a grind. There are chapters full of conversations that are so difficult to follow. The two main characters are Paul Atreides' deeply weird young twins who are pre-born, thus they have the memories of hundreds or thousands of ancestors (one accepts a large amount of mystical shenanigans when reading Dune.) They are not very likable, or dislikable. They are just. There. Talking. So. Much. Many characters from the first book show up, and I was glad to see them as a reader, but I just wasn't invested in much of anything. I loved the atmosphere, but if a giant sandworm would have eaten the Atreides twins 100 pages in, I would have been very much not sad.

The plot picks up a few years after the last book. Paul's sister Alia is running a corrupted version of the cult of Muad'Dib on Arrakis. She's also been possessed by the inner ghost of Baron Harkonnen (there's those mystical shenanigans again!), and as a result is also in the only storyline I found very interesting. Jessica has been living off-world for some time, but returns to Arrakis on a mysterious mission from the Bene Gesserit. The twins are weird and make everyone uncomfortable, and Leto II has this plan for the future called The Golden Path which he will simultaneously not shut up about while never explaining what in the Hell it is. And there is a plot by the Corrino's to get back in power. So much plotting in this book, and so many conversations about plotting and thinking about plotting and counter-plotting. It was hard at times to figure out exactly what the purpose of some of the schemes were, other than to exist. Honestly, it probably didn't help that I would occasionally find myself zoned out mid-paragraph.

Am I too stupid to get this book? Yes, that is completely possible. The philosophical ideas are sometimes interesting and Herbert's world is so immersive I don't feel right giving this less than 3 stars. In between the inner and outer monologues, I really enjoyed the further world-building. I can't even say whether I recommend it or not. If you can't get enough Dune (and I wouldn't blame you if you couldn't), you can continue with this book, but you may not feel the magic of the original.

Having read a synopsis of God Emperor, I'm not sure I'll ever tackle that one. Leto babbling about his stupid Golden Path for several millenia. I think the point of this series' later volumes may be that Gods are boring af.

ETA: Got a shouty complaint that there were spoilers in this review with no specifics. I don't see any except a throwaway comment about book #4 and anyone who is trifling gets deleted. Come correct or don't bother.
Profile Image for Markus.
471 reviews1,522 followers
September 11, 2015
Buddy read with Athena!

”This rocky shrine to the skull of a ruler grants no prayers. It has become the grave of lamentations. Only the wind hears the voice of this place. The cries of night creatures and the passing wonder of two moons, all say his day has ended. No more supplicants come. The visitors have gone from the feast. How bare the pathway down this mountain.

Paul Muad’dib, god and emperor of a universe divided, is gone. The religiously pantocratic Imperium has been left with his two nine-year old children, Leto and Ghanima. But despite being born with the knowledge and memories of a thousand generations, the two Children of Dune will not be allowed to take their father’s throne at such a young age. Instead the Atreides empire is ruled by a council of advisors, among them Stilgar and Irulan. But true power rests in the hands of Muad’dib’s sister, Alia Atreides, who clings to control of the regency.

But in Alia’s mind there are voices whispering. The voices of evils long gone, who intend to forge the woman worshipped as the Womb of Heaven into a dangerous weapon to be unleashed. And while Alia descends into madness, House Corrino sees its chance to take back all that the Atreides have stolen from it. And a mysterious old Preacher walks out of the sands to publicly denounce the religion of Muad’dib. Meanwhile, Leto and Ghanima journey together into the desert, chasing old myths and desperately trying to understand why the legendary sandworms are slowly disappearing from the surface of Dune…

”This is the fallacy of power: ultimately it is effective only in an absolute, a limited universe. But the basic lesson of our relativistic universe is that things change. Any power must always meet a greater power. Paul Muad'Dib taught this lesson to the Sardaukar on the Plains of Arrakeen. His descendants have yet to learn the lesson for themselves.”

One very interesting aspect about the book, is the fact that it’s filled to the brim with quotes about politics, religion and power. Just as is it a science fiction classic and an epic adventure, Children of Dune is something of a guidebook to the very meaning of power. Of how one struggles for it, how one gains it, and what absolute power can do to the person wielding it. And some of these lines would be worth quoting over and over.

”"There were in olden times certain tribes which were known to be water hunters. They were called Iduali, which meant 'water insects,' because those people wouldn't hesitate to steal the water of another Fremen. If they caught you alone in the desert they would not even leave you the water of your flesh. There was this place where they lived: Sietch Jacurutu. That's where the other tribes banded and wiped out the Iduali. That was a long time ago, before Kynes even - in my great-great-grandfather's days. And from that day to this, no Fremen has gone to Jacurutu. It is tabu."

While not as outright astonishing as the first two books in the series, this is definitely a great addition to the wonderful universe of Dune. Frank Herbert’s writing is better than ever, which is the reason for all the quotes in this review. And while certain characters are absent from this book, other character who were absent in Dune Messiah are brought back onto the scene.

The part of the book that fascinated me the most was definitely the character development of Alia Atreides. When reading Dune, it's quite easy to notice that elements of it have directly inspired a lot of later fantasy authors, including Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. And there are many things of Alia, her rule as regent and her descent into madness that are particularly reminiscent of a certain queen named Cersei. But in my eyes, Alia is a more fascinating character still.

Thus ends the final book of the Great Dune Trilogy, one of the absolute greatest series every written within the genres of speculative fiction. But the tale goes on; a tale of spice and sandworms, of assassins and great houses, of the calculating Mentats and the devious plans of the Bene Gesserit; a tale of the planet Dune.

”The desert is my home.”

Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,533 followers
July 23, 2021
In Children of Dune, we learn of the destinies of Paul Atreides-Muad'dib's two children, the two pre-born Ghanima and Leto and the tyranny of their Aunt Alia. I found the story to be beautifully written and the action kept the pace throughout. The appearance of the Preacher was interesting (if the identity was somewhat predictable) and I liked all the intrigue with the would-be usurper and his particularly out of control mother and their plots against the Atreides twins. The Golden Path which will drive the last three official Dune books is introduced here but only explained in God Emperor as we see the bizarre fate to which Leto II voluntarily succumbs.

There is quite a bit of philosophy here (and even more in the next books it seems) and lots of reflections about religious fanaticism as most everybody detests Alia and she loses this reader's sympathies when the extent of her Abomination is revealed. Against this backdrop is the loss of tradition for the Fremen as Dune is terraformed and the old ways of life pass away. This is even more intense in God Emperor, but it is touching here as well.

The thing that many take exception to is the ghola of Duncan Idaho. I think he is a fun character and obviously Frank Herbert, having killed off his Ned Stark early in Dune as well as his Robb Stark in Dune Messiah, wanted to keep his Jorah Mormont alive throughout the series if you allow me to abuse the Game of Thrones analogies. Actually, there are more similarities than that: the span of time that Dune's alternative history covers is as long and complex as that of RR Martin. The male-centric point of view, disdain for homosexual relationships, and fascination with incest is also a commonality. Lastly, although Frank had the excuse of dying before writing #7, Martin apparently may never get around to writing #6 Winds of War or #7 A Dream of Spring leaving us (and the Targaryans, Lannisters and remaining Starks eternally hanging!)

The ending was spectacular - perhaps the best ending in a Dune book as far as I have read them (reading Heretics of Dune now) with the palace scene and the Leto II cliffhanger. I am definitely glad that I persevered this far in the Dune series and found this was a particularly strong entry.

[UPDATE] I am looking forward to Denis Villeneuve's Dune in October 2021. The previews I have seen so far seem to be quite coherent with respect to the book. I was a fan of Lynch's Dune and am curious to see what Villeneuve does with this one. Feel free to comment below.

Fino's Dune Reviews
Dune Messiah
Children of Dune
God Emperor of Dune
Heretics of Dune
Chapterhouse: Dune
Profile Image for Drew.
Author 6 books18 followers
March 9, 2011
The conventional wisdom seems to be that only the first Dune book is good and that the rest of them are awful, but I've found this to definitely not be the case. This 3rd book in the series was gripping and exciting...I literally couldn't put it down! Don't listen to what everyone else says, read these books for yourself and make your own decision...you won't be disappointed! This one focuses on the children of Muad'Dib, as well as his sister Alia, wife-in-name-only Irulan, and the return of his mother Jessica to the political goings-on of Arrakis and the struggles with the almost cult-like religion that has sprung up around his supposed death and his sister as its new figurehead. Behind the scenes there is all sorts of plotting and double-dealing between a whole host of characters and factions, and the shocking revelations from the middle of the book on make this book one of the best in the series, and it wraps-up the first trilogy of books and this time period with a bang!
Profile Image for Ethan.
215 reviews236 followers
May 20, 2021
"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

- Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

"I do not have to be what my father was. I do not have to obey my father's rules or even believe everything he believed. It is my strength as a human that I can make my own choices of what to believe and what not to believe, of what to be and what not to be."

- Leto Atreides II
The Harq al-Ada Biography

In Children of Dune, the third entry in Frank Herbert's infamous Dune Chronicles, Emperor Paul Atreides (a.k.a. Muad'Dib) has walked off into the desert after achieving prescience; he is presumed dead. His sister Alia now rules the Imperium. Waiting in the wings to become the next Emperor is the young Leto II, Paul's son. Young Leto II and his sister Ghanima are "pre-born", meaning their personalities were fully formed in the womb. They carry the memories, and, it seems, the personalities, of their entire ancestral line in their minds. This gives them the wisdom and knowledge of many lives and countless centuries, so they are effectively mature adults in the bodies of children.

In this new post-Paul Imperium, Alia's grasp on power is tenuous at best. The mysterious Bene Gesserit continue to plot in the shadows, attempting to maintain their long-developed breeding program, which had seemingly already met its goal of producing a Kwisatz Haderach with Paul Atreides. Can Alia hold on to power? Will Leto II rise to become Emperor? What really happened to Paul Atreides? And who is The Preacher, the mysterious man who has been speaking heresy against Alia's empire and spreading dissent across the galaxy?

There is a lot to like in Children of Dune. It's beautifully, at times lyrically written. It's like reading a work of art in prose. Some of the best Dune characters return in Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck, and Stilgar, but there is also an interesting cast of new characters, like Prince Farad'n Corrino, Leto II, and Ghanima. I also really liked the exploration of the ecological transformation of the planet Arrakis (Dune), which in this book is rapidly transforming from an arid desert world into one with rain and vegetation, a transformation that comes with powerful economic and sociological consequences. The ending was also enjoyable, though it left much unanswered.

That being said, I think the Dune Chronicles are starting to wear on me a bit. The books are all basically the same, and it's becoming a bit tiring. Each book is built using a predictable formula of palace intrigue, a confusing plot that raises more questions than it ever answers (even by its conclusion) and that frustratingly keeps the reader always in the dark, the bizarre and futile plotting of the Bene Gesserit witches, which begins to appear more pathetic every book that goes by, power struggles, doubletalk thoughts and ruminations that add no value to the story and are just plain boring, etc.

This particular entry was absolutely filled with doubletalk, or what I call "word soup". Probably about half of this book was made up of these boring, confusing, and seemingly meaningless thoughts and reflections about time, life, consciousness, and other such topics. I normally love a good dialogue about such thought-provoking subjects, but it just didn't work here. Even the characters were confused in this book! There were numerous scenes in the book where a character openly admitted they had no idea what was going on.

As a character in a Dune book, anyone could be your enemy, even your own family members. Everything must be questioned, every assertion doubted. Secret plots abound everywhere, most of which are never explained to the reader, or even understood by the other characters. Sound like fun? Maybe for a few books, but there are six books in the Dune Chronicles, and after a while it becomes a bit tedious. This feels like a classic case of an author stretching something that would have worked really well as one or two books into something that doesn't really work very well as six longer books.

I can't say I'm excited to read the next book in the series at this point, which makes me really sad, because I loved Dune and Dune Messiah. I'll probably put the Dune Chronicles down for a little while, or, perhaps more likely, for a longer while...

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Trish.
1,916 reviews3,402 followers
July 29, 2021
I'm very much looking forward to Villeneuve's interpretation of Dune that will be shown in theaters this year so I decided to not only read the original book but also the rest of the series.

Nine years have passed since the end of book #2 and the twins have grown, protected by Stilgar and others still loyal to Muad'Dib. Or are they? Every single one of them seems to be unsure.
Liet Kynes, Chani's father and thus the twins' maternal grandfather, always dreamed of Arrakis becoming a green planet full of life ... interesting considering he was an ecologist and should have known the kind of death that would bring. Now, his dream seems to be coming true more and more - with dangerous consequences.
Thanks to the Melange/Spice addiction in the family, the twins have genetic memory so they aren't just children. Consequently, they already sit in the council chamber with their aunt Alia and others, ruling the empire.
Part of the known universe has fallen in with the religious mania about the cult surrounding the Atreidis heir who became the messiah, while the other part of the universe strictly rejects this kind of madness and is still plotting to wrestle power back.
On top of the threats from without (the Corrinos, the Bene Gesserit, the "preacher", …), there is the threat from within. Because interestingly, confusingly, the Atreidis family is kinda falling apart. For example, (I will freely admit that I did NOT enjoy that part and it made me dislike a lot). Jessica was an actual disappointment. I felt almost as if she was no longer the Jessica we knew from the previous book(s) and I really didn’t like her trying to split up the twins, her judgment and that she had gotten so stupid.

"Too much knowledge never makes for simple decisions." - Ghanima is definitely right about that one as her father is proof.
"A universe of surprises is what I pray for." - Leto II

There were quite some big surprises for me, one being that the twins have red hair! *lol* Yes, I'm influenced by the mini series Children of Dune.
But there was also the revelation that the Fremen are NOT native to Arrakis and migrated there (Arrakis, in fact, seems to be the 5th planet they migrated to).
The biggest, however, was that the sandtrouts, the fore-form (larva) of the sandworms, do not originate on Arrakis either! That revelation led to us learning in even greater detail of the ecology and biology of the planet as well as of the process that creates Melange/Spice.

Once again, I enjoyed the exploration of the Spice addiction, that it is indeed called an addiction, and that we see not only the positive effects but also the dark side.

This volume is another coming-of-age story, albeit a bit different from the one describing Paul growing up. The twins are even younger here than Paul was in the first book and just like his father, Let II too, has to grow up too fast and learn to use these crushing powers. How he does it, however, is quite different.
You see, thanks to their powers, both Paul and Leto II see timelines either branching out or narrowing down, which intensifies as more and more choices are made, and that really showed how such god-like powers are nothing but a trap. A trap that Paul coulnd’t escape but Leto II did.
Or is it the other way around? That really IS debatable.
Leto’s early wisdom and willpower also made for some highly entertaining encounters - especially the one with his grandmother. *lol*
What was quite disorienting, however, was how most characters evolved . Heartbreaking in and of itself.

Plans within plans, some caught within the machinations, one intrigue after another, arranged family loyalties / marriages, the return of one of the best literary villains ever. It made for a tense reading experience indeed (not least because of my investment regarding some of the characters).

The final confrontation was ... epic. There is no other word for it. It will be highly interesting to see how the author handles the upcoming, immense time-jump.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,964 followers
July 29, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Sv.
322 reviews107 followers
November 12, 2020
Ayık kafanın ürünü olamaz bu seri ya. Cidden. Bitirmem çok uzun zamanımı almasına rağmen cidden sevdim. Karşı koyamadığım bir cazibesi var. Devamını daha da çok merak ettim o sondan sonra.
Profile Image for Alina.
755 reviews253 followers
November 23, 2021
I rounded up a little because I didn't like this as much as the first book and it was hard to comprehend sometimes, but it's still a great work. This time I couldn't help thinking how much Star Wars was inspired by Dune, and when I searched on this topic, my suspicions were confirmed. I'm clearly reading a true seminal work.
Profile Image for Timothy Urgest.
504 reviews263 followers
June 26, 2018
And I stood upon the sand, and I saw a beast rise up out of that sand, and upon the head of that beast was the name of God!

Children of Dune follows the aftermath of Paul’s decision at the end of Dune Messiah. The planet is flourishing but this weakens Dune’s greatest resource. Chaos begins to breed in the Empire and a savior is needed.

The narrative moves between several characters and their motivations, choices, and conspiracies. The pacing of this novel is much slower than the previous two books. I think this is mostly due to a large portion of the focus being placed on the internal metaphysical mechanics of the characters. But what I did enjoy about that aspect of the novel is that none of the characters are who they appear to be at first glance. Their depths are endless.

This is a worthy continuation of the Dune Chronicles and I am an invested fan.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews656 followers
May 19, 2014
This may be heresy, but I think this is my favourite of the Dune books so far. I found Dune interesting, but oddly opaque. The second book was more accessible, but didn't really grab me.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Josh Cutting.
76 reviews4 followers
July 17, 2012
This is when I officially gave up on the Herbertverse. This was awful!!! I really do not care for the children of Mu A'dib, they're both creepy and way too articulate (kind of like Dakota Fanning) I was actually rooting for the assassins the entire book. And when the kid smears worm larvae on himself and becomes a god!?!!?!!?! Sorry folks, I checked out. I don't even care how the rest of the saga works out. No God Emperor of Dune for me, no Heretics, stop this universe, I want to get off!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mizuki.
2,971 reviews1,179 followers
February 4, 2022
Note: It's the first time I read a book from Frank Herbert's Dune series, ideally I would prefer reading from book 1, but I could only find book 3 in the library, so I have to make do. But after I watched both the old and new movie adaptations of Dune and read some online articles about the basic things about the series, I do hope I now know enough to continue reading into the Dune saga.

PS: I have never been much of a fan for the hardcore Sci-Fi nor the Space Opera genres.

PSS: the 2021 Sci-Fi epic movie, Dune Part 1, is pretty damn great! Do watch it!

PSSS: a friend shared her insight with me: "The Voice used by the Sisterhood is pretty much the same like your mom putting on her Scary Voice and using it to order you to do homework/housework." XD

My review for Dune vol. 2: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
My review for book 2, Dune Messiah: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

In Children of Dune, Paul Atreides' children, a pair of 9 years old twin, Leto II and Ghanima, were born possessing all the memories of their ancestors. They were fearful of their own consciousness being overwhelmed by the 'voices' of their ancestors. Meanwhile, their aunt Alia, now the true ruler of the empire, wanted to use the twin for her own ends but in secret she also struggled to handle the 'voices' of her ancestors within herself.

Then the twin's grandmother, Lady Jessica, returned to Arrakis (a place she lost her Duke, Leto I) to visit her daughter and grandchildren, but soon power struggle within the court, conflicts among different religion groups and the Fremen tribes threatened to throw everything off balance, whilst a mysterious Preacher (who was believed by many to be Paul Atreides himself) became popular among the people and the twin realized the desert and the sandworms, and in turn the Fremen's old way of life, were threatened by the terraformation the planet Arrakis had undergone through decades.

I read the Chinese translation of this book, some parts of this novel are a bit dry and the many characters and their relationships are a bit hard to follow at times but overall all the court's intrigues are a delight to read (yes I view this book as a court's intrigues fantasy wrapped in a Sci-Fi wrapping)

It's also delightful to see all the power struggles going on among the different factions and I like Mr. Herbert's insight of how good intention might not come up with good results and his intention to break up the messiah myth around the main character of the first two books, Paul Atreides. In fact, as Paul's children Leto and Ghanima struggled to right their father's mistakes and Leto , it is made quite clear that blind faith and promoting a mortal to the height of godhood had done more harm to the world than good.

The scene with the twin going into the desert is also well written.

On the other hand, I don't think I like Alia's story and its conclusion, she doesn't have much room to develop excepts being a victim to madness and the typical bad ruler --although at the back of my mind I am not entirely sure Alia is intended to be put up as an example of a bad ruler, since most of her opponents aren't any more merciful and righteous than she.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews780 followers
October 6, 2013
”I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain."
If you have read at least Dune you must be familiar with the above “Litany Against Fear”. I don’t know about you but it gets old very fast for me. When it shows up in Children of Dune I read it like “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” – SHUT UP! Fortunately it only appears once but Mr. Herbert still sneaks in the odd snippet here and there whenever I am feeling too complacent.

To my mind the Dune series really finishes with this third volume. It ties up all the loose ends nicely and ends on an optimistic and suitably poignant note. Come to think of it the very first Dune novel feels very complete within itself, and you could read it as one of the greatest standalone sci-fi novels of all time (or one of the most overrated if it doesn’t do it for you).

So the Atreides are at it again with their mystical shenanigan. These Atreides are so damn verbose 24/7, I swear none of them is capable of speaking like a normal person. I can not imagine how they say “pass the salt” at dinner without mentioning the cosmic ramifications should the salt passing project not be successfully concluded. That said Children of Dune is actually quite an entertaining read, much more so than Dune Messiah which often had a soporific effect on me when I was reading it. Children of Dune focuses on the two Atreides kids, Leto and Ghanima (or non-kids because their heads are stuffed full of their ancestors’ memories and it makes them super weird). Their father, the legendary Paul Atreides A.K.A. Muad’Dib walked off into the sunset of the Arrakis desert nine years ago, very pissed off about what the world has come to thanks to his leadership. He is now presumed dead as the Dune desert is deadly and not conducive to a pleasant stroll after dinner.

The planet Arrakis has come a long way since we first encountered it in Dune the terraforming project is going well and water is more abundant with plants appearing in some areas, other areas of the global desert is becoming moist. Rains and clouds are often seen and early in the novel eight Fremen drown in a flashflood. When you have a culture based on the scarcity of water this development really turns the world upside down. The cultural and social ramifications of Arrakis becoming more watery are the most fascinating aspect of the book for me.

The book starts off slowly (as most books do) with the introduction of the Atreides twins and ambles along pleasantly enough. At almost exactly the half way point Mr. Herbert suddenly shifts gears and the novel becomes much more plot intensive and relatively fast paced. Exciting things are certainly afoot in the second half the the novel; featuring a murder plot involving tigers, a possession that makes you fat, the birth of a sort of Duneman superhero and many spoilerish things that I won’t mention (probably said too much already – sorry!).

All in all a fun read, there is plenty of subtexts and philosophy to think about if you want to (I had my brain switched off, it’s my standard mode). The theme of religion and fanaticism is ever present. I don’t know if I will go on to read God Emperor of Dune and the subsequent volumes. I am afraid of coming across the Litany Against Fear again.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
October 12, 2019
Children of Dune (Dune #3), Frank Herbert
Children of Dune is a 1976 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, the third in his Dune series of six novels. At the end of Dune Messiah, Paul Atreides walks into the desert, a blind man, leaving his twin children Leto and Ghanima in the care of the Fremen, while his sister Alia rules the universe as regent. Awakened in the womb by the spice, the children are the heirs to Paul's prescient vision of the fate of the universe, a role that Alia desperately craves. House Corrino schemes to return to the throne, while the Bene Gesserit make common cause with the Tleilaxu and Spacing Guild to gain control of the spice and the children of Paul Atreides. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش نسخه اصلی:
داستان تل‌ماسه در آینده‌ ای دور می‌گذرد و در جامعه‌ ای ملوک الطوایفی که با الهام از جوامع اعراب بدوی ساخته شده‌ است. سه عامل اثرگذار در این جامعهٔ فراسیاره‌ ای عبارتند از: پادشاه امپراتور (صدام چهارم)، و خاندان‌های حکومتی، اتحادیهٔ فضایی (صاحب انحصار حمل و نقل فضایی) و گروه بنی جزریت. پس از جهاد بزرگ باتلری، ساخت و ایجاد دستگاه‌های خودکار و رایانه‌ ها تابو شده، بنابراین جوامع انسانی مجبور به افزایش توانایی‌های جسمی و ذهنی انسان‌ها با استفاده از پرورش نژاد و نیروهای مرموز ماده‌ ای به نام اسپایس ملانژ یا ادویه شده‌ اند. ملانژ ماده‌ ای است که قادر است نیروهای ذهنی آدمی را تا حد بسیار زیادی افزایش دهد، حتی در مواردی می‌تواند باعث ایجاد پیش آگاهی از وقایع آینده و طی الارض شود. ملانژ تنها در سیارهٔ بیابانی و بسیار خشک آراکیس (اقتباس از نام عراق) یافت می‌شود. خشکی آراکیس به حدی است که مردم آن (فرمنها) برای از دست نرفتن رطوبت بدن مجبورند از جامه‌ های مخصوصی استفاده کنند و آب در آنجا ارزشمندترین چیز است. ملانژ را ماسه کرمهای آراکیس می‌سازند و استخراج کنندگان ادویه علاوه بر جنگ دایمی با آب و هوای وحشتناک این سیاره، مجبورند گاه‌ و بیگاه ب�� آن‌ها هم سر و کله بزنند. ماسه کرمهایی که قطر آن‌ها گاهی به بیست متر هم می‌رسد. «آب حیات» نیز از همین موجودات استخراج می‌شود. ماجرای اصلی رمان، نبرد بین سه خاندان بزرگ آتریید، هارکونن و کورینو (خا��دان صاحب مقام امپراتوری) بر سر تصاحب این سیاره و زندگی‌نامهٔ قهرمان افسانه‌ ای فرمن‌ها پل مودیب است. خاندان امپراتوری، تسلط خود را با کمک نیروی نظامی هولناکی به نام ساردوکار بر عالم مسکون حفظ می‌کند. ساردوکارها از کودکی آموزش می‌بینند که بی‌رحم باشند و در نبرد از هیچ عملی فروگذار نکنند. گروه بنی جزریت هم از سوی دیگر، برنامه‌ ای دیگر برای خود تدارک دارند. آن‌ها نسل‌هاست که اذهان مردم را با اعتقاداتی مذهبی اسیر کرده‌ اند و برنامه‌ ای دقیق و حساب شده برای کنترل نژادی نسل انسان‌ها دارند. هدف آن‌ها تولد کویساتزهادراچ است که بر عالم حکومت کند. آترییدها جزو محبوبترین خاندان‌های حکومتی هستند. پادشاه امپراتور صدام چهارم که از قدرت آترییدها هراسان شده و به خاطر ترس از اعضای درباری لندزراد نمی‌تواند خود مستقیماً علیه آن‌ها وارد عمل شود، کنترل منابع ملانژ در آراکیس را از بارون ولادیمیر هارکونن (بزرگ خاندان هارکونن و دشمن قدیمی دوک آتریید) می‌گیرد و به آترییدها می‌سپارد. دوک لتو آتریید، سرور خاندان آتریید، آراکیس را با وجود آب و هوای خشک و سختش سرزمین خوبی می‌بیند، زیرا امید دارد ارتشی از فرمن‌ها که زندگی در آراکیس آن‌ها را سخت و خشن و شکست‌ناپذیر کرده، بسازد تا با گارد ترسناک پادشاه امپراتور، سارژوکار، برابری کنند. از سوی دیگر پسر دوک آتریید، پاول و وارث بارون هارکونن، فیض-روتا، هر دو از پروردگان برنامهٔ بنی جزریت هستند. تنها با این اشکال که طبق برنامهٔ بن‌جزریت، پاول باید دختر به دنیا می‌آمد تا از فید-روتا هارکونن، کوییساتزهادراچ را به دنیا بیاورد. اما سرپیچی مادر پاول، لیدی جسیکا، این برنامه را برهم زده‌ است....؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Alex Nieves.
174 reviews652 followers
November 5, 2021
Not gonna lie..... I didn't finish Dune expecting Paul's would-be son to morph into a tyrannical sandworm that will rule Dune for 4000 years but here we are.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amin Matin.
289 reviews46 followers
March 18, 2023
تمام طول کتاب با چهره‌ای پر از تعجب ادامه می‌دادم، بین کتاب اول و سوم فرسنگ‌ها فاصله‌ست، انگار دو مجموعه متفاوت می‌خونی، تنها مسئله‌ای که میخوام روشن باشه همین هست که تفاوت در کیفیت نیست، کتاب سوم ملغمه‌ای از بهترین‌های کتاب اول و دوم تلماسه‌ست.

تقریباً نه سال بعد از ماجراهای مسیحای تلماسه و به دنیا آمدن دوقلوهای پل آتریدیز، مهدی جهان تلماسه، به نام‌های لتو و غنیمه می‌گذره، و آلیای در حال حکومت بر کهکشان و آراکیس هست، سیاره‌ای که دیگه به مانند گذشته نیست، شروع تغییرات بوم‌شناختی در سیاره تلماسه و ابرهای سیاه بارونی در حال تغییر زیست‌بوم سیاره تولید کننده ماده باارزش ملانج یا همون ادویه هستند که همزمان با همین اتفاقات ماجراهای سیاسی و از پشت خنجر زدن‌های شخصیت‌های کتاب شروع می‌شه، در همین بین مادر پل آتریدیز بعد از بیست سال به سیاره آراکیس برمیگرده، و به دیدن نوه‌ها و دختر خودش میاد، دختری که دختر سابق نیست، آلیایی که توسط خاطرات بارون هارکونن تسخیر شده و به اعماق تاریکی سقوط کرده.

اتفاقات و ماجراهای سیاسی ادامه پیدا می‌کنند و ما در فرزندان تلماسه بیشتر از اونکه شاهد کتابی علمی‌تخیلی باشیم، شاهد یکدونه تریلر سیاسی، روانشناختی عمیقیم که با نهایت نبوغ آینده دور انسان‌ها و حداقل یکی از سرنوشت‌های احتمالی نژاد انسان رو بررسی می‌کنه.

قبلاً هم گفتم، بازم اضافه می‌کنم، برای من تلماسه همیشه ارزشمندترین متنی هست که حداقل در ادبیات گمانه‌زن با اون مواجه شدم و بالاتر از همه چیز برام قرار میگیره، امیدوارم افرادی بیشتری تلماسه بخونند و از این داستان لذت ببرند.
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