Book Review: Children of Dune

Minor spoilers for other Dune books

Children of Dune is the 3rd book in Frank Herbert’s Dune series. It was published in 1976 a whole 11 years after Dune, and 6 years after Dune Messiah. The story follows Paul Atreides’ children, the twins Leto II and Ghanima as they navigate political plots, religion, and mental turmoil. Both twins are “pre-born” meaning they have the knowledge of all those who came before them. This causes them to struggle, as they navigate physically being children, but mentally being thousands of years and thousands of people all in one. The Bene Gesserit are incredibly afraid of pre-born believing that they could turn into abominations. This simply means that they can become possessed by the evil people of their past who haunt their minds. Ideas like this are what make the story so interesting. Herbert always shows the dark side of power and the consequences of losing your humanity. The twins acknowledge and know about this dark side, seeing it in Alia, and in Paul’s supposed death. Yet, they are forced to use their powers and risk their humanity for the greater good. In Leto II’s opinion, they must go where Paul never could go, where he even was afraid to go. 

Many would consider this blasphemous to say, but it’s a bit like Star Wars Episode 7. By this I mean the story is a bit of a retelling of the original story. But it’s more fun and has enough new and interesting content to make it a great read. Some might even find it superior to the original. I probably would if it wasn’t for a few specific issues I had with the story. I dislike the ending of the story; it’s too similar to the first book and doesn’t show enough of Leto II’s potential. Perhaps this is on purpose to get us excited for the next book, but I’m not a fan. I also dislike how little Herbert does with Ghanima. I find her far more interesting of a character than Leto II (who in many ways is the same character as Paul) yet she hardly does anything. That being said I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what the next book and the books after that have to offer. 

-Parker K.

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert is available at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

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