Book Review: Children of Dune

The Children of Dune

Children of Dune is the third book in the original Dune saga. If you have not read them, I recommend starting with our reviews on Dune and Messiah. It’s ok, this blog will wait. Ok, you just finished reading those, right? Great, so you know what Dune is all about. Let’s dive in. 

The Basics: 

Title: Children of Dune
Author: Frank Herbert
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: Putnam, 1976

Spoiler-Free Summary:

Although in true Dune style there are many threads to follow, the central plot revolves around Paul Atreides’ twin children: Leto II and Ghanima.

Over a decade after Paul Atreides wandered into the desert never to be seen again, the empire struggling. The ecological program to turn Arrakis from wasteland to paradise progresses steadily. With the change, comes an easier way of life. With comfort and ease, comes complacency. Complacency opens the door for lurking enemies to pounce. Change also produces anxiety, as the loss of the one source of the all-important spice will turn the galactic economy inside-out. The whole Evil Band -everybody Paul destroyed to build his empire – unites to topple the House That Paul Built. 

In Dune, we saw Lady Jessica and her unborn daughter transformed into something more than human through a concentrated dose of The Spice. Alia is born fully conscious with all the memories of her ancestors. In the Duniverse, they call this an Abomination. Paul’s children are born with the same gift. Their aunt is subsumed by this power – losing her identity in the malevolent persona of one of her ancestors. The twins must survive her twisted machinations even as they struggle to avoid the same fate. 

Why This Book Is For You:

I struggled with whether or not to review this one. I’ve discussed before that I focus on books I like, and skip those I don’t for this blog. In the end, even though it didn’t fully click with me, there are enough strong points to merit it’s inclusion. 

Much of the conflict is internal, psychological. Alia, Leto II, and Ghanima are very literally at war with the voices in their heads. 

There is a metaphor in the text about the relationship between generations. Every adult in the story schemes, manipulates, and outright bullies in an effort to control the Atreides’ heirs. They must ultimately defeat these challenges to forge their own path – to create their own identities (again, veeeery literally).

If you loved the first two books and want to dive into the setting, this book is for you. Children of Dune looks at the edge cases and the implications of what is established in the first two books and dives head-first, drowning in lore and intrigue. Do you long to know how the magic works? How Arrakis came to be a desert wasteland? What happened to the characters who walked off the set in book 1? Children of Dune has all those answers and more.

Where Can You Learn More?

If you want to explore the Dune universe but don’t know where to go after Dune, I highly recommend this reading order analysis. Frank Herbert passed away in 1986; Read about his legacy as interpreted at the time, or a retrospective 50 years after the original pub date.

Happy Reading, fellow bibliophile.

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