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3.8 out of 5 stars29
3.8 out of 5 stars
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Apparently Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson aren't finished milking Frank Herbert's cash cow. First prequels, then sequels, and now a midquel.

In this case, "The Winds of Dune" explores the months after the blinded, grief-stricken Paul Atreides aka Muad'Dib wandered off into the desert. While Anderson and Herbert conjure some touching moments as the people in Paul's life deal with his loss, they don't manage to make the story come alive -- the prose and beloved characters are flat.

On Caladan, Jessica is shocked by the news of her son's apparent death, Chani's tragic loss, and the birth of her twin grandchildren. She rushes to Arrakis to assist Alia, now appointed Regent, and discovers that Dune has changed in many ways -- Paul's loss has only increased fanatical devotion (and equally fanatical division), and the ruthless Alia is determined to cement Paul's legacy.

Cue a novella-sized flashback about Paul's childhood, and how he and his friend Bronso of Ix ran away to join the circus... er, the Facedancer Jongleurs. No, seriously.

Unfortunately, Bronso of Ix has since become a sort of idealistic terrorist, disrupting Paul's "funeral" and spreading heretical pamphlets which seek to reveal Paul's flaws and atrocities. Jessica attempts to soften Alia's increasingly ruthless reign as her daughter prepares to marry Duncan Idaho -- but Bronso's determination to kill the legend of Muad'Dib leads to some very big new problems. But is all this Muad'Dib's will?

"The Winds of Dune" is one of those novels that might have been a decent sci-fi read if it had been based on its own universe. But as a Dune story, it seems like glorified fanfiction with a cool cover -- an attempt to fill in various plot points between "Dune Messiah" and "Children of Dune," such as Alia's marriage to the ghola Duncan Idaho and the water ceremonies.

There isn't actually much plot in "Winds of Dune" except for Alia's increasingly tyrannical actions, and Jessica's attempts to moderate her loopy attempts to deify Paul. There's a spattering of assassination plots, ceremonies (both official and Fremen), Bene Gesserit evilness, and lots of political wheeling and dealing. But without a pair of hefty flashbacks -- about a Bene Gesserit rebellion and running away to the circus -- it would be a very skinny book.

And sadly Herbert and Anderson don't bring much life to the narrative. There are some touching moments -- such as Stilgar's mystical moment with a sandworm -- but mostly it's an unexciting, flatly-written stretch, filled with weird plot twists that rarely work (guess what: Paul was adored because he used Jongleur hypnosis on EVERYBODY!). Seriously, how did they make explosive assassination attempts and hardcore spice hallucinations into half-page-long, emotionless borefests?

The characters are similarly undeveloped -- while the flashbacks temporarily resurrect beloved characters like Chani, Yueh and Duke Leto, none of them have much personality. Alia is suddenly a two-dimensional, crazy, fanatical brat, and gets engaged to Duncan with little evidence of actual romance. It's like, "Hey Mommy, I'm marrying Duncan! Surprise!"

Jessica is the one major exception, as we see her struggle with her losses, and try to keep the truth about Paul's virtues and flaws alive. Same with some minor supporting characters like the torn Stilgar and grieving Gurney Halleck (whose attraction to Jessica begins to flower).

"The Winds of Dune" is basically an official fanfiction, attempting to add plot in between Frank Herbert's original works -- babies, weddings, and collectible Muad'Dib souvenirs. It simply doesn't work.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2009
This book has two timelines: one is immediately after the events of Dune Messiah, Jessica tells Princess Irulan about Paul's adolesence before the events of Dune so Irulan can update her biography of Paul. Three years before Dune, Paul ran away with Bronso Vernius (Ixian heir)to join a circus with Face Dancer performers, and learns how to control crowds. Between Dune and Dune Messiah, Paul employs Bronso to spread propaganda against his jihad.
The post-Dune Messiah parts are tedious, with none of the characters speaking or behaving like they did in the original Dune Trilogy. The flashbacks are written in the style of a 60s juvenile adventure romp. The Bene Gesserit seem blissfully unaware that Paul is the Kwisatz Haderach born a generation too early and think he and his mother very unimportant despite knowing his breeding.
The invention of Bene Gesserit guilt-casters, who induce catatonic guilt using Voice, is irrelevant. The introduction of Bronso as someone to speak against the Jihad is irrelevant. Both clearly achieved nothing, since their roles are not discussed in any Frank Herbert book, not even in any of the modern spin-offs.
As for needing to join a circus to learn crowd control (which is actually glossed-over very quickly), surely he had been taught the use of Voice by his mother, and in the early days his mother would have been aware of and exploited the legend that the Missionaria Protectiva created among the Fremen.
I find the book difficult to read with its stunted characters and lack of adult storyline. It feels like a short story or at best a novella, written for the juvenile market, stretched too far. Many sentences and ideas are repeated, using different words, a number of times over only a couple of pages, making it easy to skip paragraphs or even whole pages.
All I want from the Dune Universe is a decent sequel to the second trilogy, one which actually involves careful reading of the final chapter of Chapterhouse Dune.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2010
Anyone expecting even a flash of Frank Herberts brilliance from this book will be sadly dissapointed.

Boring, badly plotted, and two dimensional. Cheesey dialogue and cardboard characters endlessly repeating the same thing. I have been more entertained by the back of a packet of Cornflakes.

Everyone associated with this pile of worm spawn should go and sit in a dark room with a copy of Chapterhouse until they learn to write.

Enough is enough, sorry Brian but your dads legacy is worth so much more than this twaddle. Go and do something original and leave Dune alone.

If you are a Dune fan then steer clear, its dreadful!

Im off to re - read the original just to remind myself what a genius Frank Herbert was.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2010
I've not been a huge fan of the new editions but I initially thought that this was probably the best of them. I did have a nagging feeling that there was something wrong with the section where Paul runs away with Bronso but I couldn't put my finger on it.

The only way I could get over this was to read the original again and low and behold on page 60 (I think) it clearly states that Paul had never been offworld before. That's it. Completley blown it. I can't read any of them anymore as I am convinced that he'd been on a Highliner in another preqel as well.

If they can't get something as fundemental as this right then why bother.

It might have gota 3 star if I hadn't noticed this.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2010
I am a big fan of the Dune series of books. The originals written by Frank Herbert in his very distinct style are some of the best examples of good science fiction I have ever read. While some of them can be a bit dry or overly philosophical in their content, they are still entertaining and thought provoking reads that leave you thinking long after you have set them down.

Given this I was naturally excited when I heard that Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson had chanced upon some previously undiscovered notes of Frank Herbert's, and were going to use this material to finish the story that was left hanging at the end of Chapterhouse: Dune. However, before I could find out how the epic was to end I had to endure three direct prequels and three distant prequels. And to be honest, I found them OK to read. I admired how neither of the authors attempted to replicate the writing style of Frank Herbert, as to do so could have easily looked like cheap mimicry, and I was interested in exploring a bit more of the Dune universe as it stood before the events of Dune and thereafter, and I was of course very interested to find out how the strange and unique setting had arisen out of the ashes of an ancient and long ago war. I was aware that the books were much more...accessible (you could read 'simple') and had distinct traces of trash sci-fi universes filled with shootey lasers and planet killing robots or whatever passes for entertainment among the ADD sufferers who are responsible for giving Stargate enough ratings to literally go on forever, but I didnt really mind. They were still interesting stories set in an interesting universe and had enough dark undertones that I could forgive them for deciding that the Dune universe had amazing weapons and technologies that were continently ignored by everyone for the next 5,000 year time period that the original series spanned, and was ruled by villains who were cartoon-like in their sheer stereotypical, cackling, gloating-just-before-victory-and-thus-seeing-their-plans-undone-because-the-hero-used-the-extra-time-to-somehow-save-the-day ridiculousness.

Then I read what I thought were the final books in the whole affair, and I set them down with some relief, because I knew at that point that they could not do any more harm to the Dune universe, nor could they tarnish what joy I still felt when I thought back to the series as a whole. Because, lets face it, with each successive novel the writing became a little bit more childish, and the bad guys became a little bit more cartoonish and the settings and stories became a little bit more ridiculous.

Until I saw Sands of Dune in the bookshop. My heart sank at that point, because I knew that I had to read it, because I am probably some sort of Dune fanboy, and because I knew in my heart of hearts that this was going to be an awful read. But I could not believe they could do such a bad job of it. Even I was unprepared for just how terrible this book was going to be. The writing feels like the are just phoning it in. The story could easily be the off-cuts of some Star Wars novel that Anderson was working on that he had discarded for being terrible but was then Dune-ified by doing a 'Replace All' exchanging 'the Force' for 'spice'. The setting is the Dune universe in the same way that Star Trek is set in the Star Wars universe, the characters are more or less as they were in the original novels except somehow in the intervening time they all got brain damage, and the story is as thought provoking as having a decidedly average poo the morning after the night before.

I dont even know why I am bothering to review this at all. Most of the people who will pick this book up will be fans of the original and like me would have read it even if it was printed in sewage instead of ink, and every other page was scat porn, and the front cover was covered in flashing LEDs saying 'I am a Paedophile'. But seriously, do yourself a favour fellow fanboy, and please just dont bother. Just go back and read the whole original Frank Herbert written series again.

Also, I am sorry, but one other point - who the f*ck do they think they are? Do you think if it was in Frank Herbert's original vision to have books set immediately after Messiah that he would have written them himself? What a pair of arrogant pricks.
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on 11 April 2011
I think that all of the above reviews will describe the good and bad bits of the plot/characterisation/story, so I will leave that alone (I haven't quite finished reading it yet anyway).

What I would like to talk about is the way that the book has been translated into a Kindle format. I don't know how this process works, but whatever it is, it hasn't been edited since. There are an irritating number of words which are hyphenated from time to time Cal-ladan, Ar-rakis, the House Cor-rino etc etc. They are not supposed to be hyphenated and they are not consistently hyphenated. Sometimes they are, and sometimes they're not.

This is becoming massively irritating to me while I am reading. At a rough estimate I would say there is one of these errors on nearly every page (maybe 1 in 2 or 3, in reality). There are one or two normal spelling mistakes too, but they are infrequent and certainly no worse than other books. I haven't read the paper version, so I don't know if it's the same. I also understand that in S/F, there are a lot of difficult names (a bit like pop-stars and TV actors), but the poor consistency doesn't help.

This is my first Kindle read, so I don't know if it happens elsewhere; I will certainly be keeping a watch on the spelling in future. Is it spoiling my read?; well yes; or I wouldn't be deliberately searching out the book in Amazon, just to write about the faults.

To sum up, outside of the debate about the quality of the work, the editing certainly leaves a lot to be desired, and anyone who has read a lot of the Dune novels will get irritated with all the errors with the names.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 15 August 2010
If history teaches as anything is that heirs usually inherit only a fraction of their predecessors' talent and abilities. In the case of the Herberts, make that a tiny fraction. Trying to build onto the legend of a classic series of novels is only forgivable if one brings new life to the story and does so with fresh skill. Neither of which are achieved here.

Anderson's writing (I doubt that Brian Herbert contributed anything besides his last name and claims of finding yet more of his father's..."lost notes") is immature and trivial. Case in point: the word "panoply" means suit of armor. Frank used ancient words to spice up his prose and give it a patina of retro futurism - but he knew what he was doing. In these McDune novels, words such as panoply are used in a wrong way (p.223:"Alia scattered the cards on the table, a panoply of ancient icons modified..." simply makes no sense) and because the rest of the prose is so poor they stick out like sore thumbs.
On top of that, Anderson's dialogue seems forced and limited to a very small number of pre-rendered cliche phrases. His character development is not only inadequate but also does great injustice to the original works.
Alia seems to be stuck in a fugue state coupled with sadistic hysteria. The idea of the Duke's son (without any serious motivation whatsoever) accepting "jobs no one wants" and then running off to join a circus is absurd. And the notion that Paul is later liked only because he picked up how to use... Master Jongleur hypnosis on everyone is a direct insult to the character of the man that would later become the Kwisatz Haderach! Forget about the greedy writer(s), whoever edited and proofread this never bothered to even browse through any of the original DUNE books!!?

Adding details and expanding on the background of a classic story hardly ever improves it - not anymore than adding fluorescent highlights to Mona Lisa or electric guitar riffs to Beethoven's Fifth. These DUNE prequels/sequels are a disgrace to Frank Herbert's oeuvre and memory. And this one may be the worst to be put to print ever.

I made the mistake of picking this one at an airport stand; "how bad can it be?", I though. Well, I soon found out it was more disgusting than the airline food served.
You want a writing carrier Brian? For Shai-Hulud's shake, get some ideas of your own!

AVOID. At all costs.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2009
Pretty run of the mill stuff. All the books since the master died have been like this. They lack the depth and richness of the originals and I wonder just what he might have done with them. I love the Dune saga and sat up all night to read the first book but this one does not inspire. All the characters are there but its like beer without the alcohol, there is just no body to it.
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on 28 July 2013
The Winds of Dune by Kevin J Anderson.
This is an elaboration of the original Dune saga by Brian and is well done as are all of Kevin's stories. I know there is something lacking from Brian's way of telling a story,but I feel it really is an improvement and that modern is better. The narrative is clearer and runs at a more even pace and is not in contrast with scientific progress as you would expect in a novel written so long ago. Things have changed a lot since Brian's day and it shows. So I find it easy reading when compared with the first Dune stories. Even so it gets a bit boring at times and it was with some relief that I finally finished the Dune stories. I agree there are some interesting ideas here. The axolotl tanks,and the scheming priestesses. Enjoy the read.
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on 26 April 2014
This book slots in between Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. Like Paul of Dune, this book consists of real time action(?) and flashbacks to Paul's childhood.

The book is rather boring but it does fill in another gap in the Dune saga.

What makes it loose a star is the mistakes in the text. I hesitate to call them spelling mistakes, but what else can they be? What happens is that, occasionally, longer words are split into 2 or 3 smaller words, making the sentences unclear the first time I read them (e.g. ser vices, per for mance, po lit ical). Have they used an inferior voice recognition program with a limited vocabulary?
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