Children of Dune (Dune #3)
By: Frank Herbert
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
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…
Just to re-iterate from yesterday, like Dune (review), I had read this book in high school and greatly enjoyed it. In an effort to finally finish reading the series–and having picked up The Great Dune Trilogy published by Gollanz–I decided to re-read the book again 🙂 The first books had left quite the impression in my mind that despite going into this third volume having some memory of what transpired, I was nonetheless looking forward to revisiting this book again.
Oh man, this book just hit the book running. I had started reading this book late last night after finishing Dune Messiah (review) and just felt sad that I had to stop after a chapter because I had work the following morning, lol. Nine years had passed since the events of the second novel and Paul and Chani’s twins are now nine-years-old, their grandmother the Lady Jessica has returned to Arrakis for the first time in years, and Alia is…well, not who she was before.
This was something that was addressed time and again in the book but I appreciated the constant reminders that the royal twins were only nine years old. You forget by the way that they talk, all those lives and memories swimming in their heads, not to mention James McAvoy and Jessica Brook’s wonderful performances in the Syfy miniseries from 2003. Unlike their parents and the previous characters who have dealt with these memories and these lives, the twins are quite self-assured in their abilities to master themselves and control themselves; unlike Alia’s breakdown against the personalities of the past and their father’s inability to fulfil the Golden Path, the twins are able to, Leto moreso with the latter idea. He’s clearly the stronger of the two with his sense of the Golden Path and what must be done, but that’s not to say Ghanima isn’t strong as well; in her own right she can control their abilities whilst still retaining her humanity, something his brother isn’t quite able to, something he’s given up on in pursuit of the Golden Path. Nonetheless they’re as well-versed as the adults, and it was interesting to read them even own them at their own game.
Alia’s story is a sad one, one of being consumed by the paranoia and trappings of power, isolated by both her secular position and her abilities, the strength of the inner lives. She had never wanted to be what she had become, and unlike her brother or her niece and nephew, her personality wasn’t as strong to withstand the onslaught of the personalities within her over time. It didn’t help that her mother had left after Paul had become emperor, effectively leaving Alia to her own devices. Then Paul left…She’s quite the tragic figure, really. Again I think the miniseries did such a beautiful job in bringing that tragedy of her character to life, changes and all.
Amidst the personal drama and the ongoing discussion about the Golden Path and the direction of humanity are of course the politicos and the machinations and deceptions. But in a way they kind of take a backseat to all of the character interactions and tensions that are happening amongst the characters we do know and come to love over three novels, so I guess the political feuds didn’t appeal to me as much this time around.
Overall it was a pleasure to re-read Children of Dune and a satisfying conclusion to what the three books overall have been building up to. It was just intense from start to finish, could not stop reading it, really. Now that I’ve come to the end of my re-read, it should be interesting to see how my reactions will be reading the final three books in the series…