Dune Messiah is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, published in 1969, and the second book set in the Dune universe. The story is set 12 years after the end of the first book. Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides is now Emperor of the universe and the messiah of the Fremen whose might and reverence he used to overthrow the universe through jihad. However, by becoming a mythical figure, Paul is now powerless to stop the religious violence done in his name and a conspiracy has begun to dethrone his family.
As a big fan of the first book, I decided to read the second, but I was pretty disappointed by it.
I do not own this book, but I have read it as an audio book.
- I appreciate how religion is shown to be very powerful tool of war, but, at the same time, uncontrollable, and impossible to stop once it's employed.
- I like how Paul is torn between wanting to have Hayt, the ghola of Duncan Idaho, destroyed, and by keeping him around as a reminder of his slain friend.
- Most of the book is drawn out conversations between the two factions where they plot how to defeat each other. There is very little action or science like in the first book.
- Even though the book describes complex chemistry like DNA and the ability to bring corpses back from the dead, none of the Fremen doctors are able to detect the contraceptive that Irulan is using to prevent Paul and Chani from having children, even when they would be looking for such problems.
- The fact that the Fremen would have no means of determining if Hayt wasn't an assassin means they should of had him either killed or banished. Keeping him around was just begging for the death of Paul.
- While I like the fact that Paul becomes miserable after he loses control of his jihad and the religion around him turns evil, we're reminded far too many times of this.
- For most of the book, I was bored.
- I found several of the long drawn-out dialogues to be annoying. Paul's talk with the insolent Edric went nowhere, but I really became angry with Alia's and Paul's conversations with Hayt. Hayt speaks mostly in vague religious proverbs, while Alia, who is supposed to have the wisdom of generations of priestesses, and Paul, who is supposed to be mildly omniscient, are taken off-guard by his babbling. Alia is so shocked, she even considers killing him multiple times. If Herbert wanted this scene to make sense, he should have come up with dialogue for Hayt that was actually meaningful or impressive instead of cryptic platitudes.
Original cover artwork by Jack Gaughan.
- "As with all Priests, you learned early to call the truth heresy."
- "If you need something to worship, then worship life — all life, every last crawling bit of it! We're all in this beauty together!"
- "Often I must speak other than I think. That is called diplomacy."
- "Reason is the first victim of strong emotion."
- "Rulers are notoriously cynical where religions are concerned. Religion, too, is a weapon. What manner of weapon is religion when it becomes the government?"