Children of Dune by Frank Herbert Reviewed

11 March 2023
"Children of Dune" is the third novel in Frank Herbert's "Dune" series, and it is considered a direct sequel to "Dune Messiah," the second book in the series. The novel explores the themes and ideas that Herbert introduced in the first two books, while also introducing new concepts and characters that add depth and complexity to the story. "Children of Dune" is a compelling continuation of the "Dune" series that takes readers deeper into the world of Arrakis and the political turmoil that surrounds the Atreides family.

The novel picks up several years after the events of "Dune Messiah," where Paul Atreides, having become the Emperor of the galaxy, abdicates his throne and disappears into the desert. 

His sister, Alia, is left to rule in his place, but she is struggling with the mental and emotional burden of being possessed by the memories of all her ancestors. 

"concept art of alia atredies dune

Meanwhile, Leto and Ghanima, the twin children of Paul and his wife, Chani, are being groomed as future rulers of Arrakis. They possess the same prescient abilities as their father, but they must navigate the complex political landscape of Arrakis, which includes the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, the Tleilaxu, and the Fremen, who are fiercely loyal to the Atreides family.

One of the key themes of "Children of Dune" is the burden of power. 

Paul Atreides experienced this firsthand when he became the Emperor of the galaxy, and the novel explores the emotional and mental toll that ruling takes on those in power. 

Alia struggles with the weight of her family's legacy and the responsibility of ruling, and Leto and Ghanima must confront the idea that they may one day inherit this burden.

children of dune

Another theme of the novel is the dangers of genetic manipulation. The Tleilaxu, a secretive and powerful group of people who specialize in genetic engineering, play a significant role in the story. The novel explores the consequences of using genetic manipulation to create superhumans and the dangers of playing God with human life.

The concept of prescience is also explored in "Children of Dune." The ability to see into the future is a crucial element in the "Dune" series, and this novel delves deeper into the idea of using prescience to manipulate the future. The characters must grapple with the consequences of seeing the future and the ethical implications of using this knowledge to shape their own destiny.

The novel introduces new concepts, such as the "Golden Path," which is the path that Leto believes he must take to ensure the survival of humanity. This idea is central to the remaining books in the series and sets the stage for the larger story that Herbert is telling.

"Children of Dune" was generally well-received by both critics and readers. The New York Times praised the novel for its "maturity, intelligence, and depth." However, some readers felt that the novel was slow-paced compared to the previous two books in the series. Despite this, "Children of Dune" remains a fan favorite and is regarded as a crucial part of the larger "Dune" story.

Frank Herbert himself had mixed feelings about the novel. In a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, he said that he felt that "Children of Dune" was a good book, but it was not as good as "Dune." However, in a later interview with Omni magazine, he said that he thought "Children of Dune" was one of his best books.

One of the strengths of "Children of Dune" is its focus on the wider Atreides family. While Paul Atreides is still a central character, the novel also devotes significant attention to his children, Leto and Ghanima, as well as his sister, Alia. These characters have their own motivations and struggles, and the novel is stronger for their inclusion.

Another notable aspect of the novel is its exploration of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. In the previous two books, the Bene Gesserit were portrayed as mysterious and powerful, but their motivations and methods were largely unclear. "Children of Dune" offers more insight into the sisterhood and its goals, making them more interesting and complex characters.

The political intrigue and maneuvering that are central to the "Dune" series are also present in "Children of Dune." The novel explores the tensions between the various factions on Arrakis, including the Fremen, the Tleilaxu, and the Bene Gesserit. The conflict between these groups is often subtle and nuanced, adding depth and complexity to the story.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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