Dune by Frank Herbert (unabridged audiobook read by Scott Brick; 26 hours on 22 discs): It took me a long time to get into this one, but that’s okay because it’s a long book. In many ways this is a political thriller that takes place on a distant planet. Paul, son of Duke Leto, is 15 when his family is transferred to the desert planet known as Arrakis. When a rival baron takes over, Paul and his mother are forced to flee into the desert, where they join with the planet natives. Politics mingle with religion, genetic engineering, prophecy, and the meticulous conservation of water to produce an intricately woven tale in a meticulously detailed world. This level of world-building is on par with Tolkien. However, the story – though unquestionably interesting – has not gripped me so thoroughly that I feel any need to read the subsequent books in the series. But I’m glad to have read this one.
A note on the audio: I’ve listened to a fair number of books narrated by Brick, and while his cadence is predictable and does pretty much no special voices for the characters, I like his performances nonetheless. I do, however, think that including the final appendix (which is basically a glossary) was not such a good idea. It would have been nice to reference while reading the rest of the book, but at the end it felt tedious, and I ended up skipping most of it. The other appendices, on the other hand, were very interesting. Herbert clearly put a lot of thought into the creation of this story’s universe.
Also posted on BookCrossing.