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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Currently reading

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House Atreides (Dune: House Trilogy, Book 1)

House Atreides - Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson Review courtesy of The Literary SnobMy brother-in-law and friend is an avid reader, even more than myself. Our reading tastes overlap somewhere in the middle and go in two very different directions. For years he has been trying to convince me to read Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and other similar titles, but I have been stubborn, telling him that once I finish the 1,568 real books on my current to-read list, I will get around to one of those.One of his favorite series, however, sounded promising. Seeing a crack in my resistance, he took full advantage and delivered two books in the series. Thus, I became a reader of Dune.He thought it best I begin with the "House" books, three prequels written by Brian Herbert, son of original Dune author, and Kevin J. Anderson. He also felt it important to let me know that the titles written by these second generation Dune writers do not live up to the original Frank Herbert series. With this information, I set off for a very long adventure across the universe to a planet named Dune.Initially, I was pleased with House Atreides. The plot didn't seem overly sci-fi. The plot was interesting. The plot grew. The plot, the plot, the plot; and soon I realized the plot is all there was. A major event happens every four pages, and then the reader is asked to skip to another part of the universe and read about another major event. Fifty pages later, the reader is taken back to the first plot, but five years have passed, just in time for another major event. How incredibly action/adventure.For all its many characters, House Atreides has not one ounce of character development. This is not the future of mankind, it is a future of automatons. Further, there are the good guys and the bad guys and their every action is reflective of their respective stance in life. In the incredibly patriarchal society of the future, women have two roles as well: simpleton and manipulator. Apparently an additional ten thousands years of human evolution closely resembles our modern perception of the middle ages—complete with sword fights and castles.Despite my mockery, I do see some potential for this Dune-thing. I don't foresee having an enamored love for it as my brother-in-law does, but I do recognize a backstory that might be really quite good. Unfortunately, Herbert the lesser and Anderson do not have it. I have heard many fans of Frank Herbert's Dune bash on Herbert/Anderson's. I am one of the few who has a different perspective having read the newer books first; nonetheless, I agree with these "fanatics": this is not a good book.I have little hope that the next two will be much better; regardless, I will trudge on down the road to Dune.