Twelve years have passed since the evens of the last book. Paul Atreides became an Emperor of the major part of the inhabited space worlds residing on planet Arrakis aka Dune. The Jihad he launched enveloped lots of planets and Paul realized it is often so much easier to start something than put an end to it. Literally everybody and their brother with even residual lust for power decided Paul the Emperor had overstayed his welcome; the time for good old conspiracies of all sorts had come.
The first thing that came to my mind and stayed there through the whole reading was the radical change of the meaning of word Jihad since the book publication. It completely lost it mystique and became synonymous with expression "lots of innocents killed just because, often brutally". For this reason my perception of Paul was different from what the author intended even though I tried to keep in mind the original intention of Frank Herbert.
Before I wrote my review I looked though those of other people and one person really nailed it. I could not have said it better myself and so I just repeat it here. Paul feels exactly like Harry Potter (hard to believe the comparison, is not it?) from Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix.
I even included the image of the book for you to make sure you read it right. They are both full of angst. At least the Hogwarts student has a legitimate excuse: he is of the right age which Paul should have overgrown a long time ago. A conclusion follows: if you like fifth installment of Harry Potter for its angst, this book is for you.
The first book has shown us the great world that feels alive. It had action, adventure, and flat characters with a sole exception of Paul himself (I could also include Jessica here given enough pressure to do so). The good (?) news is the quality of the characters remained the same; some of the promising ones are gone into background never to appear explicitly here.
Of action and adventure there was no trace left. The only part which could be called action (I am really stretching the definition here) took about a couple of pages total. So what exactly was going on during 200+ remaining pages? Paul's inaction, this is what.
Let me explain. Paul could see the future. Well, except the times when he could not see it not to spoil the plot device. So he knew about a conspiracy, for example. He also knew about its main people. He could also see that removing main conspirator A would mean Really Bad Things for Paul down the road. The same can be said about conspirator B. At this point I have no idea why not to remove all
of the conspirators. This would take care of the whole problem, would not it? Paul, apparently having never heard about a man being a master of his destiny, decided to remain passive. Angst ensures.
I am afraid I made this book sound much worse than it actually is. After all, it is still Dune
and some interesting developments took place. It did set the scene for interesting things to come and my resolve to continue with the series has not weakened any. It is just that I expected something different from this book.